So, what’s a parent to do? There are so many questions to answer and some parents are not sure which way to turn. With the approach of prom season, many parents are concerned about the wellbeing of their teens. From sex and alcohol to parties and hotel room rentals, some teens and their parents may not agree on the best way to have a magical prom experience. Should parents rent hotel rooms for their children? Should they allow supervised drinking? Should they rent a limo instead of allowing their teens to drive?

There are a number of conflicting answers for such questions, however, if you are a parent concerned about the safety of your teen here are three helpful tips to help during prom season: Talk, Teach, and Train.

Talk:
Talk with your teen and find out how they feel about the prom. Listen to what they have to say and encourage open dialogue. Ask your teen about his or her expectations. Here are a few questions that may help to break the ice:

-Who is your date? Are you planning to be a part of a group?
-What colors are you going to wear?
-Where would you like to go afterward?
-Are you nervous? If so, what are you nervous about?
-Do you have any concerns? If so, what are they?
-How do you feel about prom night? Are you excited?
-What are some of your expectations of prom night?
-How can I help make this a great experience?
-Express your concerns and expectations, then ask if he or she
understands your perspective.

Teach:
Teach them about the importance of making good choices concerning alcohol and sex.  In 2002, a research study revealed a startling 40% of teen automobile accidents ended in fatalities during prom season. In addition, alcohol consumption among minors encourages unsafe sexual activity resulting in unplanned pregnancies and behavioral health risks. Finally, educate your teens on the effects and consequences of drinking and drugs. These substances will impair your child’s judgment and often times make them feel that they are indestructible and this is dangerous when attempting to make solid decisions.

Train:
Begin training your children early; do not wait until they are in high school to educate them about the consequences of poor choices. All actions have consequences and many children learn this from an early age. It is a good idea to continue to train your children and show them that poor choices lead to unwanted consequences. Train your teens by using the decision making model:

A. State the problem. Sometimes verbalizing the issue helps kids see solutions more clearly. See examples of clearly stated problems in the examples below.

B. What are all of my possible choices? Have students generate answers to a selected problem. Do not evaluate answers at this time. The object of this step is to come up with as many potential solutions as possible. There will be time to analyze them in the next two steps.

C. For each suggestion, ask: What are the possible positive consequences? Have your teen come up with all of the good things that could result from choosing that particular option. List and discuss.

D. For each suggestion, ask: What are the possible negative consequences? Sometimes the choices we make can make a bad problem even worse. List and discuss.

E. What solution should I try? For many situations, the best solution will be obvious. But for kids, many decisions are not so easy. Remind them that when they have tough decisions to make, they may want to talk with a parent, teacher, counselor or other trusted adult.

Read more about a Problem Solving Lesson Plan: Teaching Kids and Teens to Make Good Decisions

Parents have a responsibility to TALK, TEACH, AND TRAIN; it may not be an easy task, but it is certainly necessary. For more information, please visit us at totallifecounseling.com.

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