How to Keep Your Kids Safe on Prom Night

The bad news: your teenage children are in greater danger of vehicle crashes during prom season than at any other time of year. The good news: parents can have a tremendous amount of influence on their kids’ decisions when they keep the lines of communication open with their teenagers, and engage them in a non-judgmental way in conversations about drinking, driving, and safety.

The tone of the conversation is important, and parents should not hesitate to initiate it. Writing in U.S. News, Laura McMullen quoted child and adolescent psychologist D’Arcy Lyness, who “suggests that parents begin with ‘I know you know these things already, but I think it’s a good idea to review them.’ “ It can be difficult to strike a balance: “Parents shouldn’t lecture or scare teens with gloom-and-doom possibilities,” Lyness advises, “but they also shouldn’t be too ‘friendly’ with teens by letting them call the shots” on prom night.
Don’t be afraid to make your position clear: parents also have proven influence on how their children view alcohol. Remind your kids, also, that wearing seatbelts is the law.

Other tips from experts include:
·       Make a safety plan with your teen. Find out exactly where your child will be and when, and be sure you establish a code for your teen to use to call you to come pick her or him up without having to say so in front of their friends.
·       Encourage your child to connect with a friend and make a plan to ensure each other’s safety.
·       Connect with other parents. Advises State Farm, “Speak directly with any parents supervising after-parties your teen will attend, since some parents may allow underage drinking.”
·       You can also consult with other parents about keeping kids from getting behind the wheel. You might get together to hire a limo, for example.
Lyness advises, “Exercise your parental responsibility of declaring firm guidelines in a caring way.” You need not be punitive or harsh. Just make your positive expectations clear.
Craig Follis has extensive experience in litigation, negotiating and settling suits, and providing legal opinions on liability and insurance coverage. You can reach him at (888) 703-0109 or via email at cfollis@lawyersva.com.

 

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