For parents, it could mean a good deal of worry—worry about whether their kids will have fun, whether they'll drive safely, and whether they’ll cave into any potential peer pressure.
Please don't underestimate the potential for a prom night car accident. If you're a parent of a teenager, consider this:
- More than half of students admit to consuming more than four drinks on prom night.
- And a whopping 90 percent of teenagers believe their classmates will likely drink on prom night.
- EXPLAIN THE RISKS. Learn and explain the risks of underage drinking. Emphasize that drinking alcohol is not a "rite of passage" but a dangerous drug for a developing brain.
- SET CLEAR RULES. Set clear rules about no alcohol use. Be specific: "Absolutely no underage drinking in our family."
- MAKE YOUR POSITION ON DRINKING AND DRIVING CLEAR. It might seem like what you tell your teen goes in one ear and out the other, but we want to reassure you: Your opinion matters. Studies have shown that parents absolutely have an impact on how their children view and treat alcohol. So broach the matter of underage drinking, and let them know your stance on drinking and driving or getting into a vehicle with someone who does.
- GET THE DETAILS. Know where your teen will be and where. Ask them about their transportation plans—not just to prom, but after prom, as well.
- GIVE THEM A PLAN B. It's important to understand that even if your teen opts not to drink, you can't count on their classmates to do the same. That's why it's important to let your son or daughter know that it's OK to call or text you—or summon an Uber of Lyft—for a safe ride home if they find themselves in a position where they are with a driver who has been drinking.
- DON'T BE THAT "COOL" PARENT. You know the one we mean: The mom or dad who allows their kids—and their friends—to drink at home. The rationale is often, "Kids are gonna drink on prom night, and if they do it here, I'll be able to make sure they do so safely."
- Others may think it's OK to celebrate the evening with a celebratory champagne toast. We can't stress enough what a bad idea this is. There are serious consequences to serving minors, and it's important that you understand them.
- If you're not familiar with Illinois or local underage drinking laws, we have information about those, as well as other resources on our website.