The event of prom is no small matter, endless movies have been crafted around this big dance– can we say “Footloose” without our toes tapping?
With nostalgia comes temptation, not only for teens, but parents. Local St. Johns County parents with seniors graduating this year may remember when the legal drinking age was 18. Coupled with memories of your own senior prom, well meaning, otherwise logical parents may be tempted to relax an otherwise firm “no alcohol” policy for this special event.
Let’s talk you off the ledge and back into your parent pants.
P is for planning. Seniors want to have a good time at prom. Regrettably, they’ve grown up in a media culture that has shown them images of good times being had with alcohol, and alcohol only. The best way to mediate this attitude is to literally plan for a goodtime. What happens before prom and after prom are often more important than the prom. Contrary to popular belief, teens are not wired to drink; they’re wired for fun and risky behavior. Pool parties, slip and slides with bubbles, scavenger hunts and other types of crazy and somewhat goofy activities make memorable events. If you’re not planning for fun, they’ll find it on their own.
R is for respect. Most teens don’t respect parents who provide alcohol to minors and the largest portion of alcohol to minors comes from a small percentage of parents. The adage “their going to do it anyway” is a slippery slope for parents trying to convince themselves they’re doing the right thing by providing alcohol. There are many things teens “might” do when given the opportunity – sex, drugs, speed, steal, lie – at the end of the day, we’re obligated to provide the framework for good decisions, not try to mediate potential bad ones.
O is for omnipresent. Defined as, “present everywhere”, our teens once believed we were omnipresent. No matter where they were, or what they were doing, we somehow knew or found out everything. As they get older, carry more responsibility, and prove themselves worthy, we loosen our omnipresent grip. Consider however, that a teen’s brain is rapidly developing until about 21 to 22 years of age. Their decision making still has very much to do with two things – 1) what is everyone else doing? and 2) will I get caught? A healthy dose of omnipresence before big events such as prom reminds your teen that you still care enough to check up on them and gives them a powerful out should they face an overdose of peer pressure.
M is for memories. Remind teens that the best way to remember prom is to add nothing but fun. Who wants to risk having their head end up in a toilet, have a date that pukes all over them, or be so hung over you can’t make it to the beach the next day? When they send their own teen off to prom, the memory of how you handled their prom, from pictures to rules to curfew will undoubtedly be fresh in their minds. Let’s keep the parent pants on and enjoy prom. Be the wall between teens and alcohol.
Provided by PACT Prevention Coalition of St. Johns County
Visit www.PACTPrevention.org for more information and remember, "Be The Wall!"