Let’s ditch the suspense: the answer is no. Prom night might be a few weeks off, and perhaps you were thinking of having a heart-to-heart with your teen right before he or she heads off to the prom. You were going to issue a warning about prom night drinking, and especially, drinking and driving.
If you want to find out why you should be worrying about prom night drinking, ask a patrol cop. They’ll tell you stories about what they’ve encountered in the wee hours during prom season. Those stories include fights, date rape, alcohol poisoning, and, of course, drunk driving.
Why Teens Insist On Drinking
Many teens drink because it’s fun. It’s an adventure, a way of gaining status in a peer group. Prom night adds another factor: it’s a rite of passage. It’s something that happens only once, and it’s held as significant both by teens themselves, the school, and parents. The dance and parties afterwards are mirrors of adulthood, one of the first social experiences they have that resembles what goes on in the adult world. For many students, making the most of that rite of passage includes getting drunk.
Why Prom Night is Too Late
If your plan is to talk to your teen about prom night drinking at 6pm, before he or she takes off, dressed to the nines, remember this: your teen has been planning the night for a while. Somebody has been planning on scoring some booze, and someone has figured out a place go to drink away from the gaze of adults. With all that pre-arranged, a last-minute warning to abstain won’t hold much sway.
Now Is the Time
Talk now. If you need some topics, consider these:
- It’s more than just drunk driving – being drunk is an invitation to various kinds of harm.
- It’s not just “don’t drink and drive.” It’s “don’t drink and drive, don’t ever get into a vehicle driven by someone who’s been drinking, and do what you can to prevent that person from driving. If you can’t, call the police. This is non-negotiable.
- Alcohol poisoning is a major hazard. You need to be emphatic that drinking competitions and beer bongs lead to the emergency room.
- Even if they’re not the type to drink, they need to be wary of spiked punch bowls and drinks. Tell them if they leave their drink somewhere, to get a fresh one.
- Let them know you are available to drive them, or will call a taxi for them, no questions asked.
- If you’re still stuck for what to say, there’s a lot of information online to help you.
Even if your teen gets what you’re saying, chances are someone in his or her group is making plans that could put some kids in danger. The better – and sooner – you can connect with your teens the more likely they’ll make the right decisions on prom night.