It’s no secret that parents worry if they should let their teens safely party post-prom. Here are 6 tips to have that talk with them!
by Andrea Smith | Andrea Smith is a mother of two living in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. She is an avid blogger on her site The Write Gurl, and finds joy in knitting and drinking wine. Follow Andrea on Twitter @JeopardyQueen.
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With prom season here, the natural worries that parents have are bound to be magnified. That’s because prom can be dangerous, if teens are not given proper guidance.
Teens will always find a way to party after prom, especially if they are told not to. There’s all kinds of pressure placed on them to bow to peer pressure, and at times, even the pressure they place on themselves. So what kind of temptations do teens face at prom and the post-prom party? Drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes or marijuana, popping pills, and possibly snorting powder substances.
Consider all the prom movies you’ve seen over the years showing the after parties, and how wasted teens get. Try to remember your own prom, and the crazy things you may have done. Now, think about all the things you wish you knew before you went to prom. This is what we are going to focus on in this post, so you can have that very important discussion with your teen.
Here are 6 tips to talk your teens about the safety of a post-prom party:
#1 Choose the Right Time
Teenagers are prone to having high emotions. One minute they run hot, and the next, they are cold. Because of this fact, it is important to choose the right moment to start this kind of discussion with them. Here are a few tips to know it’s the right time:
- When they seem happy and alert
- If are not showing any signs of anger or sadness
- They are having small talk with you
If your teen seems to be exhibiting signs of openness with you, then this conversation should be started at that time. Always be honest with them about why you want to talk to them, and what the purpose of your conversation is. Do not attempt this conversation with them if they are unhappy, stressed, overwhelmed, sad, or angry.
#2 Give Them Real Party Tips For Survival
Teens want acceptance and independence from their friends, and older classmates. Because of this desire, teens may attempt risky behavior. Alcohol, sex, drugs, and smoking are normally a strong pull, but if friends are doing them, then the pull becomes inevitable, like a vacuum sucking them in. And let’s face facts, denying that we’ve never done stupid stuff as teens all in the name of impressing our friends, would be a sham.
Teens are going to experiment. Especially if they are invited to prom. So, you need to be clear with them on what they need to do if they feel pressured by friends. You also need to be open with them about supporting them in the event they do some experimenting, and need help to get back home safely.
Here are some real party tips they can use to stay safe:
- Always be clear they can contact you if they are uncomfortable, regardless of what time it is.
- Tell them to never get in a car with a driver under the influence of any drugs/alcohol, instead to call you.
- If legal in your location, teach them to use a taser and buy them one for the night of prom to carry.
- Teach them to never leave their beverage unattended. Date rape drugs are still prevalent.
- Tell them to keep their phone on at all times, fully charged, and to bring a portable battery bank.
- To always go to the bathroom in groups.
- To use keys and heels as weapons of self defense, if anyone tries to attack them.
- Have them carry sexual precautions in the case they intend to be sexually active. This is a parental and personal choice.
Remember, it is better for your teen to be prepared for the worst, than them come home with horrible news, that could damage their lives, future, and reputation. Or worse, they don’t come home at all.
- Where will they be after prom?
Have them download a GPS locator app and make it a rule that it stays on no matter what.
- Who’s driving?
Have them pick a back up plan for a way home, in case of emergency. Could be you, a relative, or even Uber.
- You can always volunteer to chaperone prom.
This will undoubtedly make your teen uncomfortable so make this a last resort.
- Avoid a power struggle with your teen.
For rebellious teens, set boundaries with rewards if they abide by your rules.
#3 Trust Your Instincts
Some parents are fortunate enough to have a teen who is mild-mannered, relaxed, even anti-party, but there’s anxiety about other drivers/kids/parents. Stay calm in your thoughts, and do your absolute best not to drown your child in worry. But also, trust your instincts.
Whatever reason your gut is warning you, you should listen in a smart and effective way. Offer your teen a solution rather then banning an after prom party altogether. Perhaps you offer to host a prom party for your teen and their friends, or maybe you and other parents offer to host one big shindig. Either way, having the party under your supervision is a great way to avoid your teen from being somewhere unsafe.
Here are a few tips to do this safely:
- Book a public venue for the after party
- Set a party time frame
- Set strict rules, i.e. no alcohol, no drugs, no underage drinking
- Offer to have them plan it with you so they feel they have some control
- Understand that rules are often broken and try not freak out if they are
- Create a rewards system if no rules are broken, and consequences (like community service) if they are broken
#4 Stand Firm
Your teen most likely dreads any ideas you’ve presented to them for the prom after-party. Stand firm in your guidance. You know them well and you know the prom is important to them. So, be sure to let your teen know that going to prom is not the last thing they’ll ever do. Ensure they understand that they have their whole lives ahead of them to enjoy, to have fun, and to live to the fullest, as long as they don’t destroy those possibilities with the wrong choices on prom night.
#5 Ask Questions
If you go at your teen in a hard tone without asking them any questions, they will feel left out of the conversation. They will think that you don’t trust them, and that you think they are stupid. And while most parents don’t trust their teens, you don’t necessarily need to show them that. Instead of berating them with rules and regulations, ask them what they think should happen during prom and the after-party. See if they already have the answers you’re looking for. Maybe they’ll shock you with their own safety tips.
Of course, as an additional measure of protection for your own mindset, you can also contact their school for any further information regarding their prom festivities. Ask them about any concerns they may have, the chaperone to student ratio, and anything else you feel you need to know to let your teen head off to prom safely.
#6 Be Honest With Them
Here’s a tip that most parents are not often comfortable with: be honest with your teenagers about your own teen years. Sometimes the best medicine is truth. Perhaps you’ve experienced prom night in a horrific way or a positive way. Share those moments with your teenagers. Tell them what you wish you knew back then, and how you wish your parents would have spoken to you. Endearment can be a bonding tool that brings you and your teens together, and maybe, they’ll gush to you about how their prom night went rather than just saying “it was good”.
Learning to talk to your teens about partying safely post-prom, however difficult, is important. So many things worth mentioning, yet so little time. And though prom night is a magical night for them, do whatever it takes to teach them how to have a safe prom night.
Do you have any tips to add for the prom afterparty? Let us know!