How to address the issues with your teenager
It’s prom and graduation season, and depending on your teenager (and your age), you are envisioning everything from Disney’s Prom to Pretty in Pink to Carrie.
Prom is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and the memories created will last a lifetime; but that may be just what you are afraid of. Graduation is a monumental event and something to be celebrated; it may be the celebrating part that is causing you to feel anxious.
The decision of whether or not you allow your teenager to attend prom or post-prom and post-graduation events is yours. You know your child better than anyone. Base your decision on your child’s attitude, behavior and maturity level. Set aside personal fears or experiences. Talk about expectations before the night arrives.
Fun but safe
Sit down and have a heart-to-heart conversation with your teenager. Listen to what his/her expectations are. What do they want to do, where do they want to go and who will they be spending their time with?
Develop an itinerary that includes as many of their ideas as you feel comfortable with. Offer changes to plans that you do not feel entirely comfortable with. In other words, if your child is going to be alone with a date, insist it be changed to a group setting or a public place.
Discuss the issues of:
- Peer pressure
- Date violence
Do not wait until prom or a graduation celebration to address these issues. Talk about “what if” scenarios. Come to an agreement on the plan for the evening and discuss the consequences of breaking the agreement. Discuss what your teenager should do if friends decide to change their plans.
Easing the Anxiety
If a gathering is taking place at a home, call and talk to the parents.
- Play chauffer for the night or use a limousine service.
- Offer to have a gathering at your home.
- Have designated check-in times when your child will be expected to call you.
- Make sure you know your teenager’s date’s name, address and cell phone number.
- Set a curfew and make sure your teenager knows you will be waiting.
- Let your teenager know you love them and, if anything goes wrong, they can call at any time and you will come get them.
The Children’s Hospital of Georgia has the largest team of general pediatricians, adolescent medicine physicians and pediatric specialists in the Augusta area. CHOG offers adolescent care by board-certified adolescent medicine specialists who are trained to understand the unique health and social issues teens and young adults face between the ages of 11 and 21.
For more information, visit augustahealth.org/chog or call 706-721-KIDS (5437).