Prom Lessons Learned the Easy WayBy
Prom night can be one of the most magical nights in your teen’s life…it can also be the most tragic! I was one of those who made all the wrong decisions, and got away with it. This prom season, there will be plenty of kids who aren’t that lucky. Let’s make sure that your’s isn’t one of them.
I know from my own experience, Prom weekend can be very dangerous. When I went to the prom I didn’t have anything to drink before the dance, but after the dance I was pulled over and had my car searched. I had seven bags of marijuana hidden in a hollowed out deodorant bottle in the trunk. Luckily the police didn’t find anything, and off we went. But my weekend wasn’t over…
Michelle is a recovering alcoholic from New Jersey, with aspirations of becoming a substance abuse counselor. With three years sober, and a bright future before her, she looks back on her own mistakes as an opportunity to help others. You can leave Michelle a message by commenting in the boxes below.
There is a lot of planning that goes on for Prom night; the dress, tux, hair, nails and shoes. But for many kids, there is also planning for the Pre-Party, the After Party and Prom Weekend Get-away. A lot of teens will drink before Prom even starts. They could all meet up at a friends house for some “pictures”, and down a few drinks while they’re at it. Some parents either supply alcohol for the gathering, or simply look the other way. Some teens will rent a limo to take them to and from Prom. Most limo drivers work for tips, and are all too happy to buy the booze. With having a limo to drive them, kids feel it is ok to drink since they are not driving. What they don’t think about is how they are going to get home after the limo drops them off at the after party. And by then, they’re usually not thinking too straight.
During Prom, some teens will bring alcohol into the dance with teachers unaware. Others load up on high potency liquor just before going in. After Prom there is usually another party to go to, where there is a lot of drinking. And then it is off to the shore, or at least that’s where I went…
During the weekend I would call to check in with my father in the morning, let him know I was ok, and then proceed to get as high and drunk as I could. I left the shore Monday morning, drank and got high before I left, and went straight to school. I thought it was cool at the time, but looking back on it now and being sober now, I realize how lucky I was not to be one of those that never comes home from prom. Far too many kids wont be that lucky this year.
There are some things parents can do to prepare for Prom night:
The first advice I have is to know your teen’s plan. Where are they going? Where are they going to stay? Who is driving?
If there’s a limo service, call or meet the driver to find out what their rules are for alcohol in the car.
Talk to the school, and other parents. Find out who will be chaperoning. Maybe volunteer as a chaperone yourself.
Take an inventory of the alcohol in your home and secure it if needed. Do this several days in advance.
Stay up for your teen to come home, and let them know you will be waiting.
Talk to your older kids to make sure they wont be buying alcohol for your teen.
Let your kids know you are available to come pick them up if they feel the driver is too drunk to drive, or if they are too drunk to drive. No questions asked. You want them to feel comfortable calling you, and not afraid of getting into trouble.
And most lastly, talk to your teens before prom. Let them know your concerns, how dangerous it is to drink and drive, the laws and consequences of a DUI, the importance of graduation, and the irresponsibility of popular teen practices.
- Alcohol is the #1 youth drug problem [Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), 1996]; it kills six times more people under 21 than all other illicit drugs combined. [Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), Ted Miller, Ph,D.]
- 70% of teens killed on prom weekends are not wearing seatbelts. [NHTSA]
- Teen deaths as a result of drinking and driving escalate significantly near both prom and graduation.
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury in teenagers nationwide. [Centers for Disease Control (CDC)]
- About 5,000 people under the age of 21 die each year as a result of underage drinking, 1,900 of those deaths are from auto accidents.
- About one in three high school students has been a passenger in a car driven by someone who had consumed alcohol.
- 78% of High School upperclassmen had their first drink before the age of 16.
- During a typical Prom weekend 40% of traffic deaths of 15-20 year olds were alcohol related.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)
Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD)
Boaters Against Drunk Driving (BADD)
Impaired Driving Facts – NCIPC