A Prom Night PrimerIN ADOLESCENT HEALTH
In the midst of choosing a perfect dress or renting a tuxedo, it can be easy to neglect the most important aspect of your teen’s prom night: his or her safety. You may not be able to monitor your child the entire night, but an open dialogue can help keep him or her safe without spoiling the fun.
Prom should be a magical event for making memories, but underage drinking, illegal drugs and driving under the influence can turn a fun night into a dangerous one. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one-third of alcohol-related traffic fatalities involving teens occur between the months of April and June—the peak of prom and graduation season.
Topics for Discussion
Even for teens that usually exercise good judgment, prom night can be a struggle. Peer pressure can cause normally well-behaved high schoolers to make poor decisions and engage in risky behaviors, such as drunk driving. However, parents have more influence over their teens’ decisions than they may realize. According to The Partnership at Drugfree.org, research shows that kids who frequently discuss the risks of drugs and alcohol with their parents are 50 percent less likely to use.
Clear communication with your teen is the best way to reduce his or her risk for these risky situations. Discuss alcohol, drugs, safe driving and sex with your teen openly, and make sure you cover the following topics:
- Advise your teen not to ride with anyone who has been drinking or using drugs.
- Agree on several mandatory check-in times throughout the night.
- Ask your teen what he or she expects from the night and whether he or she has any concerns.
- Establish a curfew with your teen that complies with curfew laws for minors in your state.
- If your child says he or she is going to a friend’s house after prom, contact their parents to verify that they are aware of those plans.
- Know your teen’s plans for the evening, including the people he or she will be with and where the group will be at any given time.
- Let your teen know you will be available to help if he or she feels uncomfortable or unsafe at any time.
- Make sure you can contact your child at all times while he or she is out. Consider loaning your teen a cell phone if he or she does not have one.
- Talk with your child about potential temptations that may arise, and suggest appropriate responses to these situations.
When your teen returns from the prom, ask him or her about the experience. Praise your child for making responsible decisions, and discuss any difficult situations he or she encountered during the night.
|Dangers of Tanning
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reports that 24 percent of teens between the ages of 13 and 19 have used a tanning facility at least once in their lives. Tanning is especially popular during prom season when teens want to look their best. Unfortunately, many do not realize that tanning beds or sunlamps can produce 10 to 15 times more skin-damaging ultraviolet radiation than natural sunlight. In addition, the AAP reports that use of such devices has been associated with increased incidence of deadly skin cancers, such as squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and melanoma.
© 2013. True North Custom Media. All Rights Reserved.
Sources: cdc.gov, onlineschools.org, familyeducation.com, youth.westchestergov.com, fda.gov, aap.org
For more information, please visit the Claxton-Hepburn website.