There's nothing that starts an intense rift between parents and their teenagers like prom. This fancy annual rite of passage can cause teenage boys and girls into doing dangerous things that their parents will have to deal with after, making every parent automatically nervous or just plain indignant to this high school dance and all the extravagance (not mention the trouble) that comes with it. So this prom season, if you have a teenager who's expressed excitement to attend prom, keep your sanity and your relationship with them by living by the following prom night rules.
1. Thou shall explain prom's main purpose.
First and foremost, your teenager should understand why prom exists in the first place. Don't assume that they get it regardless of how intelligent you think they are. Explain that it's so they can learn how to socialize during a formal occasion (and not so they'll end up losing their virginity, drunk drinking, doing drugs, or all the above while wearing their expensive formal wear). When your kids fully understand prom's main purpose, the likelihood of them committing rash decisions will decrease.
2. Thou shall set expectations with your teenagers.
As the big event approaches, be sure to talk to your teenagers about how you're expecting them to behave. Lay all the rules you have to them and ask them if they'll have any problems sticking to any of your rules. Creating this conversation with them will help you gauge whether they'll be responsible while having fun or if they'll be attracting trouble on that night.
3. Thou shall require check-ins from your teenagers.
You can never be sure of what happen during prom night. So instead of being sorry, choose to be safe by requiring your teenager to tell you by texting or calling about their location and change of plans. If you plan to check in with other parents, make sure they know. Keep them assured by telling them you'll do it subtly so they won't feel as if you're humiliating them (which is the last thing you want to happen).
4. Thou shall teach them how to keep themselves safe.
Since you won't have the chance to monitor them all throughout the night, keep your kids safe by teaching them necessary skills way before prom. Make sure to have ongoing conversations about how to refuse uncalled for advances, how to say no, decision-making skills, and the dangers caused by doing drugs and drunk driving. Repeat until you've established what you want them to understand and learn by heart. Close the conversation by offering them your words of trust and confidence. Make them feel how you trust them to make the right decisions if they ever come across with the dangerous ones at the same time.
5. Thou shall trust your instincts.
If your kids have shown inability to behave appropriately in and out of your home and you think that prom is something that they can't handle or don't deserve now, follow your intuition. More than anybody else, it's you who know your teenagers best. You're better off being hated by them now because of your skill in being a killjoy than you seeing your kids deal with the consequences of wrong choices.
Prom night is also time meant to be enjoyed and relished by your kids as they spend it with their close friends. Help them make their prom memories sorrow-free (and not so costly) by being a proactive and responsible parent.