Prom can be one of the most exciting times for your teenager but at the same time one of the most stressful.
It can also be very stressful for parents as they prepare themselves to accept that their teenager is graduating and soon going away to school, while planning a weekend away after prom night. Going to the Shore for the weekend or somewhere overnight has become more of the ritual for prom night than the prom itself.
There tends to be a lot of anxiety in the preparation leading up to prom night. Choosing the right dress, tuxedo, hairdo, after party clothes, and accessories is enough pressure that can weigh heavily on your teenager. Your teenager wants to be accepted by their peers and wants to fit in, making this a stressful yet happy occasion.
It is not uncommon for parents to worry about safety issues regarding prom night. Teens tend to have rite of passage beliefs that accompany them working very hard the past four years. They may feel they deserve to have one really fun night after all of their hard work. Unfortunately, for many this night of fun may involve drinking, drugs and sex.
Some helpful recommendations:
- Discuss the dangers of alcohol and other drugs including medical emergencies such as alcohol poisoning. Encourage them to seek help if they or a friend is in trouble.
- Discuss safe sex with your teenager.
- Ask your teenager to call or text you and keep you updated as to where they are and, if there are concerns, to call and or text you immediately.
- Stress that you will pick them up at any time or any place if they want to come home and agree on a “no questions asked.”
- Be sure they have access to Uber and are able to arrange for a ride.
- Talk with them about your concerns for their safety and health and come up with a plan of how to handle a situation that may arise. Do some problem-solving in advance.
- Review the no texting or drinking while driving.
We must have a certain amount of faith and trust in our teenager. We have spent many years’ teaching them the correct values and beliefs and must know that a positive foundation has been in place all along.
Keeping the communication open and being non-reactive will enable your teenager to come to you and share the good and the bad. We tend to avoid situations when we feel judged or criticized; therefore, allowing your teenager to speak and share their feelings is of the utmost importance especially at this time. Learning to monitor our own reactivity and anxiety can really help in listening to our teen. Be sure to let them know you are available at any time over the weekend.
At The Hellenic Therapy Center, 567 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains, NJ, we have a team of licensed professionals available day, evening and weekend hours who work with individuals, adolescents, children, families and couples. Visit us on Facebook, or www.hellenictherapy.com, 908-322-0122.