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Prom season and parties often go hand in hand. Prom is a time to celebrate; however, it is also an occasion that many teens experience temptation and experiment with risky behavior, including drinking. The most effective way to help your teen avoid engaging in these risky behaviors at prom is to talk to them about it ahead of time. According to the 2017 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, DPS students who knew that their parents disapproved of drugs and alcohol were 72% LESS likely to use.

Tips for talking with your teen

  • Make your expectations known well in advance and set limits for your teen. Do not wait until the week of prom to have this discussion for the first time as it opens the door for arguments.
  • Use time that you will already be spending with your child to talk to them. In the weeks leading up to prom you are probably going to be shopping for a dress with your teen, renting a tux and/or helping to pick out flowers. This is a great opportunity to talk to your child about your expectations.
  • Talk about the things that could happen on prom night and then discuss with your teen different ways that they could handle varying scenarios.
  • Give them a space to voice their own concerns in a judgement free environment.
  • Remind them that you will be there for them if they need you, regardless of the situation. If your child knows that they can turn to you when they are in a risky situation, whether they have been consuming alcohol themselves or not, they will be far more likely to do so.

Additionally, it can be helpful to work with other parents. Call the parents of the friends that will be attending prom with your child and make sure that you all have similar rules and expectations. You could also consider co-hosting an after party with some of the parents so that you can ensure that your child is safe. Also, if your child is taking a limo to prom, check with the company and be absolutely sure there is no alcohol in the limo at any time.

Strategies that teens can use to resist peer pressure

  • Make sure they have a plan (alcohol-free) and that they stick to it. It is easier to fall prey to peer pressure if there’s no pre-determined place and time to be, even if it’s just a group of friends going to the diner after the dance.
  • A simple “No thanks,” will often do the trick, no rudeness or excuses required.
  • Let them blame you. “My parents will kill me if they think I’ve been out drinking tonight!”
  • Give your teen a safe “out.” Create a code that they can text you if they are in an unsafe situation and agree that upon receiving it you will pick them up immediately with no judgement.

Fun post prom activities that are not centered around drinking

  • Host a poker night
  • Bowl, skate, or play mini-golf or laser tag
  • Karaoke party! Your teen can spend the night belting out their favorite tunes with their favorite people.
  • Have a late night breakfast at a 24-hour diner
  • Plan a slumber party and then head to an amusement park the next morning in order to stretch the fun of prom into the weekend.

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