If there’s one thing that parents know well, it’s that their teenage children are very receptive to advice. They’re completely self-aware, and they look to their parents for wisdom on everything from tips on keeping their rooms clean to how to be better drivers.
Okay, so maybe that’s not true at all. Teens are often convinced that their parents are relatively boring people who are out of touch with reality. Some young people don’t always have the best understanding of just how dangerous the world can be. We all know this, not just because we have kids, but because we were once teens ourselves, filled with a sense of invincibility and a penchant for somewhat reckless behavior.
This can all come to a head on one of the most celebrated events in a teen’s life — prom night. Parents want to remind their teens just how out-of-hand things can get when you don’t keep safety in mind; but getting this across to your teenager without seeming like a nagging parent is a challenge.
Despite the challenge, it’s a necessary conversation to have with your prom-ready high-school children. We understand how difficult this can be, which is why we’re sharing some of our thoughts on this subject. When it comes to articulating the importance of safety to a teenager, all parents are in the same boat. How do you cut through the noise and reach your teen with this message?
Our Teenagers are Smart, Understanding People
We all think of our kids through a distorted lens. You remember all too well the child who ate paste in kindergarten or cut their own hair as soon as you turned your back for five minutes. Picturing that same child behind the wheel of a 2000-pound automobile with other paste-eating, hair-cutting children is terrifying. It’s also misleading.
When we talk to our children about driving safely, we need to remember that they are becoming adults, and they deserve to be spoken to without condescension and scorn. If you have an experience from your past that is relevant to their own experience, now is a good time to relate rather instruct.
Teens today are much more clued in to the world around them than we were in our younger years. Any conversation with your teen about safe driving during prom should be based on a sense of mutual respect.
What Should You Tell Your Children About Prom Safety?
The biggest concern parents share about prom is what happens when your teen is on the road with their friends. Rather than obsessing over all the things that can go wrong, narrow your message to two things: distraction and impairment.
Alcohol use and distraction are two of the biggest threats to young drivers on prom night, especially on our roads. Not only do teens need to be concerned with alcohol or distraction in their own vehicle, they also need to know that their fellow prom-goers are potentially distracted or impaired. Although we can’t control what other drivers are doing, we can focus on what we do.
On alcohol. Ideally, no teens would be drinking on prom night. However, parents should come to terms with the fact that this does happen. Even if our children don’t drink, the people they’re with might. One solution is to offer your teens one judgment-free, no-questions-asked ride. Make yourself available or designate another parent of your teen’s party to be available to chauffeur the group from prom or the after-prom party.
On distracted driving: Forgoing mobile device usage is a no-brainer for every driver. Teens already know they’re not supposed to text behind the wheel. What they might not realize is that having extra passengers in a vehicle is a bigger cause of crashes than looking at a smartphone, according to AAA. This is especially true when the passengers are teens, too. The less experienced a driver, the more likely they are to be involved in a crash because they’re distracted by passengers.
A Group Effort Can Keep Our Teens Safe During Prom
Coordinate with other parents of your teen’s friends and with your teens themselves to make sure that a ride is always available. Let your teen know that you are on their side and that their safety is your top priority.
Prom is a rite of passage for young people. It can be fun for everyone involved. It can also be an anxiety-inducing experience for high school students and parents alike. By working together with other parents and your children, you can dramatically reduce the chances of being involved in a car accident.
The Johnson Law Firm represents clients across Kentucky to make sure they get legal representation that delivers results. Contact us today to learn more about our services.