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Prom night safety tips

Maria Mora is a freelance writer and single mom fueled by coffee, questionable time management skills, toaster oven waffles and the color orange. She lives in Florida with her two young sons. If you see her on Twitter, tell her to stop p...

Have a difficult talk with your teen

As prom night approaches, help make the night memorable and safe for your teen. It’s time to buckle down and have a talk about drinking, drugs and sex. Learn to set realistic expectations for prom night partying.

As your teen prepares for prom, it’s easy to get swept up in the storm of dating woes, outfit selection and friend drama. Prom may feel like one of the most important nights of your teen’s life. By setting rules and talking to your teen before prom, you can help make sure it’s a night to remember for all the right reasons. Use these safety tips to structure your child’s big night out.

Talk about peer pressure

Peer pressure gets a lot of bad buzz, and in most cases, it's warranted. It’s peer pressure that often drives kids to break rules and engage in unhealthy and unsafe behaviors. Talk to your teen about the science behind peer pressure. When you consider it’s a primal need to impress other members of your species, it doesn’t sound as cool to fit in. Remind your teen to rise above unhealthy instincts or turn peer pressure into a good thing by encouraging her to remain close to responsible friends.

Learn more about prom peer pressure >>

Talk about sex

Many teens feel pressure to have sex or engage in other sexual activities on prom night. Whether your teen is seeing someone or not, have a frank, candid discussion about sex. Teens need to know the facts about sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy risk. While it may be difficult to face the idea of your teen being sexually active, you’re better off knowing and becoming a resource for protection and education. Discuss the dangers of sexual assault and make sure your teen understands not to pressure someone or fall prey to pressure to get physical. Encourage your teen to use the buddy system at parties after prom.

Talk about underage drinking and drug use

According to the CDC, a study conducted in 2009 reported 44 percent of high school seniors drank during the past 30 days. Your teen may be part of that percentage. It’s your turn to do homework. Research and share the risks of underage drinking and binge drinking with your teen. Make sure he understands binge drinking can lead to death from alcohol poisoning or related accidents. Have a candid discussion about what your teen knows about drugs. Help find alternatives to parties with alcohol.

Talk about driving safety and curfew

A report conducted by the CDC determined that eight teens die in a car crash every day in the U.S. On prom night, teens are likely to be wound up, playing loud music and up late. Reduce the risk of a car accident by talking to your teen about keeping music low, staying focused and staying off her cell phone. If she’s allowed to stay out late, make it mandatory she check in once she’s safely arrived and at predetermined times. If possible, consider getting together with other families to rent a limo to transport your teens.

Should you chaperone your teen's prom? >>

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