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Published April 19, 2012, 11:30 PM

Five Things Friday: 5 tips for celebrating a safe prom

FARGO – Prom can be a magical time for teens and a scary event for parents. While both parents and teens want the night to be memorable, it can end up being a tug-of-war between high schoolers trying to assert their independence and parents trying to protect their children.

By: SheSays staff reports, INFORUM

Editor’s note: “5 Things Friday” is a weekly feature in SheSays that will run on – you guessed it – Fridays. It will focus on quick tips, ideas, activities and more – all in bunches of five. If you have a “5 Things Friday” suggestion, contact us at shesays@forumcomm.com.

FARGO – Prom can be a magical time for teens and a scary event for parents.

While both parents and teens want the night to be memorable, it can end up being a tug-of-war between high schoolers trying to assert their independence and parents trying to protect their children.

Here are five tips parents should be aware of to make sure their teens stay safe on prom night from Erika Katz, parenting expert, blogger, and Huffington Post contributor:

  1. Stay connected - Get the phone numbers of your child’s prom date and at least five friends so you can always reach someone. Tell your children you expect them to answer their cellphones and texts if you call.

  2. Set limits - Give your teen a curfew. It’s not a trust issue, it’s a safety issue. While there is nothing your kids can do after 2 a.m. that they can’t do before 2 a.m., do you really want your teen roaming around all night? And, do you want to be up all night worrying about your child with no idea when he/she might return home?

  3. Say cheese - Remind your child that everyone has a camera. With cameras hidden everywhere, it’s important your children realize not to behave in public in a way that could shame them if it ended up on YouTube.

  4. Obey the law - A college acceptance can be revoked for illegal behavior and for getting expelled from high school. Prom night is not Vegas. What happens on prom night could jeopardize your teen’s future.

  5. Just say no - The only way to prevent drug and alcohol use is open communication with your kids. If you think your child is using, then chances are prom night will be no different. If your child is not abusing substances, talking about them and their dangers could make the difference.

    If you think there is a good chance your teen will drink on prom night, then you have to talk to them about responsible drinking. Many kids don’t realize how drinking too much could ruin the whole evening.

    Talk to your kids about alcohol consumption and how important it is – especially for girls – to make sure they are in control of what they are doing. Tell them stories about girls who have been date raped while drunk and how horrible it feels to drink too much.

    Drugs are the scariest part of prom night because they can be lethal.

    Tell your child about someone famous like Whitney Houston and the drug use that killed her. Then casually ask if your child has friends who do whip its, crystal meth, or smoke pot. You could be surprised by how open kids can be when they do not feel you are talking about them. This discussion can lead to a talk about drugs and prom night. It is key they understand they can be arrested if they are in a place with drugs even if they are not using. It is also important to discuss the different kinds of drugs and how they can be deadly.

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