Group of Friends Being Videotaped at School Dance


1) “I get it” pre-prom opportunities for parents to talk to their teens:

  • “I am so excited for you.”
  • “I know how much fun you are going to have.”
  • “I know there will be some situations that you have never been in before, lets figure out what they might be and put a plan together.”

2) Prom-proof your home:

  • Lock up all alcohol and prescription drugs.
  • You drop off your teen’s backpacks and sleepover bags to houses they will be going to either pre-prom or post-prom. (This helps with the hidden contraband kids pack in their backpacks).
  • If kids come to your house to pre-prom. Supervise. This is when a lot of kids try to imbibe since they can’t drink in the limos anymore.
  • Before kids get back from the prom do a search around yard, bushes and sheds for any alcohol that may have been hidden earlier in the day.
  • If kids come to your house to post-prom, be the keeper of the backpacks and bags. Stay up all night if you are having an all-night sleepover. One parent I know made it a requirement that all parents whose kids were coming to her house after the prom had to call her personally to let the parents know the rules of the house. No cars, parents were responsible for picking their kids up in the morning. This guarded against any kids sneaking out and possibly driving to get booze or drive drunk. Any teen caught with alcohol would have to be picked up by the parents immediately.
  • For those parents who think that it’s okay to let kids drink in your house to celebrate prom night as long as you take their car keys thinking you are now the “responsible parent,” listen up. First of all, it is not your right to make a decision about kids that are not your own to drink. It is every parent’s right and responsibility to make their own rules and expectations about alcohol and drug use for their own kid. Also just because you are giving them “permission” and may have purchased the booze, don’t think that means that kids will drink responsibly. That just means kids are going “Yippee, we can get trashed!” Getting trashed also means getting sick, passing out, alcohol poisoning, falling and tripping. Get the picture? Also, what happens if one of those kids you have given “permission” to drink has a medical condition you don’t know about, and alcohol exacerbates it and there is a medical crisis? And, finally, IT IS ILLEGAL TO GIVE MINORS ALCOHOL.

3) Prepare and help your teen plan for:

  • Getting in a car with someone who is buzzed.
  • Unwanted sexual advances.
  • Drinking and drugs at a house party.

4) Strategies and scripts for getting out of unsafe situations:

  • Make an “escape plan” using text message code word.

5) Provide scripts:

  • “I’m allergic, alcohol makes me sick.”
  • “My boyfriend/girlfriend wouldn’t want me to fool around with anyone else.”
  • “My parents drug/alcohol-test me.”
  • “Thanks I don’t need a ride, I’m going with someone else.”
  • “I feel like crap, I’m going home.”

6) If things get out of hand, and a friend is out of control and wants to drive:

  • Get a few friends together and grab the keys from the kid who shouldn’t be driving.
  • Text the parent in the house that there is a problem in the basement, or outside.
  • Go to the bathroom — for a long time. “Text me, and I will meet you around the corner.”

READ THIS:  The ‘X-plan’ and other powerful tools you can provide when talking to your kids about proms and alcohol


Tips featured in USA Article “Here’s a parenting expert’s six-step prom survival guide” courtesy of  Joani Geltman, a Boston-area family counselor and author of A Survival Guide To Parenting Teens, Talking To Your Kids About Sexting, Drinking, Drugs, and Other Things That Freak You Out, offers advice on having that important tal