Take My Breath Away
May 14, 2011 6:00 PM   Subscribe

How do I ensure my daughters safety at the prom while not restricting her freedom and diminishing trust.

My seventeen year old daughter is attending her first prom. Three couples are riding in a van driven by her friend who has had a few negative experiences with alcohol and is a pot smoker too. I trust my daughter but know she is highly influenced by her friends. In my own circle of friends I can access many negative stories of prom night experiences. My daughter plays sports and is on the honor society and can't afford to get caught associating with drugs or booze.

Is it possible to keep my daughter safe yet assure a fun prom experience. My wife is a basket case with anxiety. BTW, my wife works at the High School and hears everything that goes on there. My wife says "I don't trust any teenage."

I trust my daughter but have seen her make bad decisions. Is there a win/win possible here without being extremely restrictive. How did your parents handle prom night?
posted by Xurando to Human Relations (49 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You have the right, and the responsibility, to restrict your daughter from riding with someone who has a drinking and drug problem.

Let her find another solution to the transportation issue, or she is not allowed to go.
posted by tomswift at 6:06 PM on May 14, 2011 [26 favorites]

You don't let her ride in a van driven by a kid who might possibly be drinking or smoking pot that night.


If this means shelling out your own cash for a limo, so be it, If this means driving her yourself, as uncool as that is, then so be it. If you can trust that your daughter will be brave enough to say, "hey, friend, give me the keys and let me drive because I have not been drinking or smoking tonight," then that's another option.
posted by phunniemee at 6:09 PM on May 14, 2011 [8 favorites]

Yes. This. You control how she gets there, and that's that. There are other ways and other rides to prom.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:10 PM on May 14, 2011 [4 favorites]

Make it clear that no matter what, even if she's drunk, high, whatever, she can call you and get a ride no questions asked.

If you have a friend who is a trusted aunt/uncle-like figure, you can also ask them if they would make that offer to your daughter, and make sure their number is in her phone.

As a young female you have no idea how many sketchy situations would have been infinitely easier for me to deal with if I had a ride home.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:12 PM on May 14, 2011 [60 favorites]

Response by poster: Additional concerns are the fact that she wants to stay out all night and that some of her friends may be getting a hotel room.
posted by Xurando at 6:13 PM on May 14, 2011

Make sure she has an escape route (cell phone, guaranteed ride home, etc.) and get her there in a car driven by someone who is definitely not a kid with pot/alcohol problems.
posted by SMPA at 6:14 PM on May 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

And you can still have fun in the presence of sensible limits. I don't know anyone whose life or fun was ruined by dad saying "no, you can't stay in a hotel overnight after your prom, especially considering at least one of your friends has alcohol and drug problems." I know of a few whose parents really should have said something like that.
posted by SMPA at 6:15 PM on May 14, 2011 [11 favorites]

Your description of your daughter sounds like me in high school. Before I attended prom, my dad sat me down and said "Prom is a night that seems really important now, but within a few weeks you probably won't ever think about it, unless you do something stupid and get in trouble with the law or worse. I trust you to make smart decisions. You can call me any time you want, regardless of time and place, and I will come get you without you getting into trouble. You can also call a cab to get you home from anywhere and I'll pay the bill when you get here. Have fun but don't be stupid."

It worked for me, and I appreciated the level of trust that it displayed.
posted by jtfowl0 at 6:16 PM on May 14, 2011 [83 favorites]

You can offer your house as a place to hang out all night. My friend's parents did this (which was nice, because there was no way in hell my parents would have let me stay out all night/get a hotel room, holy crap). Anyway, they offered up their couches, big screen tv, and kitchen for anyone (boy or girl) who wanted a place to crash, and they stayed in their room the whole night. They were present and made sure we were safe without being all PARENTS all over the place.
posted by phunniemee at 6:18 PM on May 14, 2011 [18 favorites]

some of her friends may be getting a hotel room

Eh.... somewhat sketchy. Couch this in terms of the fact that hotels generally don't rent to people under 25 and you'd rather not be on the hook for damage to the room caused by any drunken idiots that might wander in. Would you be amenable to inviting her to bring friends (girls only or everyone) over to stay the night at your house? "Staying out all night" on your patio is a lot different than "staying out all night" elsewhere.

And yeah, a ride at any hour is usually a good policy. Definitely don't sign off on Bad Decisions McGee to be the chauffeur.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:19 PM on May 14, 2011 [4 favorites]

Also, if you do decide to let her stay out all night/get a hotel room with her friends, make sure she has condoms and knows how to operate them.
posted by phunniemee at 6:23 PM on May 14, 2011 [9 favorites]

I just want to reiterate what young rope rider said because it's so important. Tell your daughter that you will pick her up cheerfully anyplace, anytime. Don't make her choose between getting in trouble and getting into a car with someone who is drunk or high.
posted by moxiedoll at 6:24 PM on May 14, 2011 [22 favorites]

A friend's parents did for us what Phunniemee's parents did. They had a garage conversion that they let us use and they made it clear that they didn't care if we got drunk or whatever that night, as long as we did it THERE after prom, not DURING prom, and nobody tried to drive after drinking. The mother even made us pancakes the next morning.

As a slightly nervous young woman who had never been with a mixed gender group all night, and since there were guys present I didn't know very well, I was also quite glad that if things got weird, I would be able to just walk across the garden to the house if I needed to find a trusted adult, rather than having to deal with it from a distant hotel.
posted by lollusc at 6:30 PM on May 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Can you afford to offer to hire a chauffeured van for everyone? It sounds like it might be the best investment you ever make.
posted by halogen at 6:38 PM on May 14, 2011 [6 favorites]

I am echoing the ride comments - my mother always ALWAYS told me that if I needed a ride, no matter where I was or in what condition or what time it was or if I thought she would be mad, she would be there. That was a great security blanket to have.

If your daughter is on the honour society and plays sports, it seems likely that she will make smart choices that reinforce those decisions.
posted by hepta at 6:41 PM on May 14, 2011

Best answer: I want to very much emphasize the suggestions above about making sure she has a number to call for a 24/7 ride home from anywhere. I was a dude, and there were some bad situations where it would have been good to have been able to just call and get a no questions asked ride; for a young woman it would be even more important to have that number.

So prom or no prom, you should set that up with her, and make sure she knows that it extends forward in space and time, even if she is on study abroad in college or whatever. People put themselves in terrible positions sometimes because they are afraid of the embarrassment of reaching out for help.

But having said that, it almost sounds to me like you are needing permission to set limits and boundaries with your daughter. I, as a perfectly random internet person, hereby give you that permission. Seriously, it is an ok option to say "no, you can't drive with that person (and we will pay for a limo instead), and no, you can't stay at a hotel all night." Because dude, hotel room plus prom equals drinking and humping -- even if your daughter isn't drinking and humping, someone will be.

Pay for a limo or van. If you have a good house for it, I love the idea of inviting them all back to your place and staying out of the way even though they may be drinking and being rowdy. Let her have fun, but provide the safety net and boundaries to keep her safe and happy. (Remember, though, that she will probably be off at college in a few months, and the parties will make prom look like, well, prom. Access to drinking and drugs and sex will be easy and total, so helping her learn to set boundaries for herself is a lot more important than you setting them for her.)
posted by Forktine at 6:45 PM on May 14, 2011 [26 favorites]

I agree that the overnight at the hotel is not necessary.
And, when you hear "but everyone is going"... start calling other parents to assure yourself that is not true.
posted by tomswift at 6:54 PM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

In order to reach a solution that's workable for everyone, this has to meet her needs as well as yours. Not embarassing her in front of her friends will be high on that list, so what you come up with needs to not be excruciating like "we'll drive you." You can totally get six kids in a limo, no problem, so I'd spring for that if it is AT ALL possible.

As for the staying out all night and hotels thing, I have to say that I know it's regional but it was 100% typical even when I was a prom goer more than 20 years ago. You left for prom and your folks assumed they'd see you the next day. Hotel room, empty house or house with cool parents were all OK options. There was totally drinking; there was absolutely no driving.

Pick your battles. As long as she gets home in one piece, everything else that might happen can be dealt with. Drinking and driving is the battle I would pitch, personally, and I'd leave a lot of leeway with the other stuff. At some point, she has to make her own decisions and really, as much as it pains you, none of that other stuff is in your control in reality anyway.

PS: All my proms were great. I did drink. I did not get date raped, get pregnant, get into a car with a drunk driver, or learn to shoot heroin at any of them.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:55 PM on May 14, 2011 [10 favorites]

And, let me be the one to tell you that allowing underage individuals to drink at your house opens you up to tragedy and liability that you can't afford emotionally or financially...do NOT do that.
posted by tomswift at 6:55 PM on May 14, 2011 [12 favorites]

Nth-ing tell her that if she needs a ride at any time from anywhere you will come get her or pay for a cab and she will not get in trouble. I wish my parents had ever said that to me. Similarly if you can offer a similar blanket thing for her friends - I understand that gets complicated but when you're 17 your friends are the most important people in your life and I can imagine some derivation of "but I can't leave Jenny here!"

As far as letting kids over to your house, my aunt did something like that for my cousin and the ground rules were no drugs, no drinking, and no sex. My cousin gave her a hard time but you wouldn't be the first person to lay out rules like that.
posted by kat518 at 7:00 PM on May 14, 2011

Best answer: Nay on the hotel room, yay on hiring a limo ($20 per person is affordable, seriously), yay on inviting everyone over to hang out after prom, or telling her that she has to be home by a certain hour. She might put up a fight, but she'll thank you in a few years.

I'm graduating from a prestigious university tomorrow, and I am thanking my parents now for being utterly uncool and not letting me party in high school, or do any of the typical after prom shenanigans, haha. It's okay to be firm with your daughter. If she doesn't respect your authority and has snuck out/been caught drinking without you knowing, then you might want to try a different approach. Otherwise, she'll be whiny, but she'll ultimately obey your command because she does not want to disappoint you.
posted by sunnychef88 at 7:19 PM on May 14, 2011 [7 favorites]

A limo is totally a win-win experience.

Pull the driver aside and hand him/her a few extra twenties.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:26 PM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Three couples are riding in a van driven by her friend who has had a few negative experiences with alcohol and is a pot smoker too.

Are you actually concerned about the safety of the ride? This is unclear by your question.

That is, is the phrase "negative experiences" code for "he's been caught by his parents high/drunk in the basement a couple of times", or is it more like "he's been caught driving under the influence by the police a couple of times"? There are scores of difference in irresponsibility between these two, and I'm not sure it's reasonable to presume (read: fear) that just because a kid smokes pot, he also lights up every time he gets behind a wheel.

Thus, even if it's better to be safe than sorry, and even if it's reasonable not to allow your daughter to ride in this van, I just think we can derive this conclusion without making unfair assumptions about the driver.
posted by matlock expressway at 7:34 PM on May 14, 2011 [5 favorites]

If you think there's a possibility that she might need to take a cab, ask her if she'd like to look up cab/car services ahead of time and put a few numbers in her phone like so:

Cab Taxi 1
Cab Taxi 2
Cab Taxi 3

If you put them under multiple words, it's easier to search if she's a bit drunk. In my phone I have 3 listings under "Car Service Brooklyn Cab".

That way she doesn't have to look up the numbers.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:39 PM on May 14, 2011

If you have a good house for it, I love the idea of inviting them all back to your place and staying out of the way even though they may be drinking and being rowdy.

Depending on your jurisdiction, cops may care enough to show up if someone calls in a complaint (this seems to happen several times over prom season here in the Bay Area) and the parents get charged with giving alcohol to minors/facilitating etc. Consider carefully.
posted by rtha at 8:09 PM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I like the idea of having a guaranteed ride home no matter what. It may help her feel ok leaving if that would apply to a friend or two also - you could say that no questions either if you can deposit them at home.

Would it be possible to get a limo or car for the group? and or if you ok the hotel specify that you will pick her up and NOT have a friend drive her back?

There were shenanigans after prom and hotel parties but the one bad thing was an accident caused - not by a drunk driver but a tired one who fell asleep the next morning.
posted by oneear at 9:09 PM on May 14, 2011

And, let me be the one to tell you that allowing underage individuals to drink at your house opens you up to tragedy and liability that you can't afford emotionally or financially...do NOT do that.

To clarify, my suggestion of having the kids hang out at the house was premised on the idea of a bunch of honor society kids hanging out, maybe drinking a few beers or drinking some rum and cokes, getting buzzed but not getting trashed and puking in the neighbor's pool.

If your daughter would host the kind of party that gets the police called to shut it down while you are at home, your parenting issues are a lot more serious than how she drives to the prom.

You know your daughter, we don't, so pick and choose the advice here to match your actual situation.
posted by Forktine at 10:03 PM on May 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

There's good advice here, but I'd really like to underscore the importance of letting your daughter know that she's got an any time of night, no punishment implied (aside from a serious talk about the boozing) ride home from you. She can go to the prom with the best intentions but make a few bonehead calls during the night and find herself faced with the choice of calling you or getting into a car with a drunk driver. You don't want any factors on the pro not calling column.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 10:52 PM on May 14, 2011

Hmm, yeah I forgot when I seconded the idea of the at-home allnighter that 17 is not legal age for drinking in the USA. (Is that the case even in a private home? In New Zealand the laws (used to be when I was underage) different depending on whether it was a private party or in public, whether adults were present, whether food was served... all sorts of things.) Also we were all legal drinking age by the time our senior ball/prom happened, and alcohol was even served at the event!

If letting them drink would be illegal, then that's more problematic, and I don't know what a solution would be. Because they ARE going to drink, no matter what. But you don't want to open yourself up to legal liability either.
posted by lollusc at 10:54 PM on May 14, 2011

Giving people, under the age of 21, alcohol is illegal in the USA. You can also be in trouble if you allow underaged people to drink in your house, even if you are unaware of it. Even if the people are your own children. Weird, but true. Get your daughter and her date a limousine. I would suggest that you nix the hotel all-nighter. When I was 17 I did some crazy crazy things. My parents were cool with most everything, but the hotel would not have been allowed. Geeze, she is 17, that is still a child.
posted by fifilaru at 12:07 AM on May 15, 2011

For the record, at my high school 15 years ago it was totally normal that everyone spent the night somewhere afterwards...a hotel, a relative's beach house, and whatnot. My parents didn't let me go away with my friends and it caused a lot of resentment and seemed especially ridiculous given that two months after the prom I was moving across the country by myself to attend college. I was a good kid and so were my friends- honor roll, sports, and all that. I felt like they didn't trust me at all and it caused a rift in our relationship that took a long time to repair. Like, why would I confide in them if they always assumed the worst about me?

Overall, I don't think the prom is a big of a deal as you're making it- high schoolers who are going to drink and smoke pot and have sex will have found a way to do all these things long before a school dance. Your daughter sounds like she has her act together. I think the limo suggestion and the "you can call me for a ride at any time for any reason" are good pieces of advice. I think the hotel isn't a big deal and you should relax about it and let her go. I was 17 when I moved away to attend university. I don't think 17 is too young to stay overnight with friends somewhere.
posted by emd3737 at 4:04 AM on May 15, 2011 [5 favorites]

No to the hotel room. No to being okay with teens drinking at your house.

Yay to being available for rides.

Prom night is like funerals: it brings out the best and worst in people. You can expect it'll bring out the best in your daughter and the worst in everyone she's with.

Not quite sure why some things aren't said out loud sometimes between teens and parents. Things like:
Hotel rooms after prom are for drinking and sex. You didn't invent it. (If you agree to it, you should make it clear you'll be stopping in at least 4 times during the night)

In what universe is it innappropriate to insist on meeting with the teen driver to say: how are you going to assure me that you're not drinking or smoking up and driving on prom night?

If your daughter didn't start her sentence with the words "designated driver"-- there's a problem. That's a freebie for teens -- they can lie about having one, but if its not even mentioned, then its not on the radar.
posted by vitabellosi at 4:42 AM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have to say that the idea that kids are going to find ways to drink, smoke and have sex anyway so why bother worrying on prom night is misguided.

Every opportunity to do these things is not equal. And the contexts for doing them are not equal. Having an hour after school to have sex before mom and dad get home is different from overnight in a hotel room. Having three hours to smoke and drink before curfew is different from multiple locations and 8 hours after prom lets out.

Its also not true that getting home in one piece is the only goal and everything else can be dealt with. That's not true at all. NOT AT ALL.
posted by vitabellosi at 4:55 AM on May 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

When is the prom?

I ask because all limos were booked for prom weekends two months in advance in my town, and most of the companies had a stipulation that the limo had to be rented for between two and four consecutive hours, which is a problem for proms because proms themselves generally are three to four hours.

For most of my friends, regardless of who was paying for it, a limo didn't work because we could either have it from, like, 3 - 7 or from after prom until early in the morning. No limos were available for sitting around in a parking lot after picking people up from home but before the end of the prom. It was, frankly, a shitty situation for a lot of people who rented limos.

So, while this is a really good idea in principle, you really need to have a back up plan on the transportation because it's already prom season. It may be too late to rent a limo, depending where you are. It may not be, but I want to put this out there before you find yourself going crazy calling every company in town.

I was also a teenage girl once upon a time. And it was incredibly unappealing to me to stay in a hotel on prom night where, not so much people would be drinking, but that people would more than likely be getting it on. Dude, I didn't need to see that, or be anywhere where I could possibly see that. A lot of people had parents do what phunimee's did.

And while I know prom has a reputation of sometimes getting all crazy like, for the most part in the week after my prom? I found out most people drove around for a bit after, maybe got an ice cream and some coffee, and then went home to bed. All the hype about drinking and hotel rooms....didn't happen for more than a couple of people. And partly it didn't happen because most of the hotels in our area were well versed in prom season and have policies about renting out to young people during that season --- by mostly not doing it. They didn't want the liability or to take on the damage that a bunch of prom attendees could cause.
posted by zizzle at 5:13 AM on May 15, 2011

Wow, are you trying to be your daughter's parent or her friend? And a spectacularly bad one at that?

For reference, I'm not a parent myself; I'm a few years older than your daughter.

First off, I would not allow her to go anywhere with someone who has previously demonstrated that he/she cannot refrain from combining alcohol/pot and driving. I'm sorry, but the potential consequences are just too terrifying. Either you provide your daughter transportation or she finds someone you trust, or she doesn't go.

I like the idea of a ride anytime with no judgement. I have a lot of friends whose lives would have been less painful if they'd had that.

As for the whole thing with the hotel room... just, no. Your daughter, who by your own account, is easily influenced, in a situation where there there is easy access to alcohol, drugs and sex, undoubtedly some pressure on her to try all three, AND in the company of people who have previously shown alcohol/drug problems? I can't believe you're even considering it. Set a curfew. She'll bitch at you now, but she'll thank you for it later.
posted by Tamanna at 5:55 AM on May 15, 2011 [4 favorites]

My kids are smaller so I don't have experience of my own on the parental side. But a few notes:

1. Please note that the OP does NOT say that the driver has ever driven drunk, only that the driver has had "a few negative experiences with alcohol." In my high school days, most people wouldn't think of driving drunk, but a majority had "a few negative experiences with alcohol."

2. Seconding that, at least 20 years ago, staying out all night, whether at a hotel room party or at somebody's house, was pretty common. That's what alll my honor-society friends did.

3. Is your daughter a senior or a junior? If she's a senior, I think the stakes are much lower; the risks she'll be exposed to in college on a daily basis, a few months from now, vastly exceed the relatively structured license of prom night. If she's a junior, as I'm guessing, it's a different story. According to this blog post, your daughter can be thrown off her team for a year, whether she's drinking or not, just for being present at a party where kids are drinking. That sounds nuts to me, but if your daughter's HS team is important to her, make sure she knows what the rules are.

4. The big hole in your post is: what's your take on her date? Let's be totally blunt here -- he has a large role to play in whether her prom is safe or not. Do you trust him?
posted by escabeche at 6:37 AM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Rent a limo. No high schooler should be driving on prom night, because s/he WILL drink. To assume otherwise is just silly.
posted by walla at 7:13 AM on May 15, 2011

I want to go against the grain and second everything emd3737 said. Your daughter is 17 and in a year or less she will be able to do anything she wants without parental restriction. I agree that you should provide her with a ride but why can't she get a hotel room? Just make sure she knows a) how to use a condom, and b) that she can call you at any time for an easy out if she gets into a bad situation.

I was one of those 17 year old kids whose parents did not trust her to do the right thing despite being a good student and never doing drugs or drinking myself. So I found a way to get out and do what I wanted without their knowledge. There was a lot of resentment created by that situation that took years to work through. I would rather have not had to deal with it.
posted by Lobster Garden at 7:34 AM on May 15, 2011

I just want to add that at my small, private school, nearly every single student in the Honor Society drank and smoked pot regularly. A few (that we knew about) even had DUIs. They all made decently good grades. They all played sports. (Amusingly, aside from me, the few other kids who never drank weren't accepted into the Honor Society, being considered too "on the fringe" socially.)

Their parents gave them ultimate freedom in high school, and were always there to bail them out when shit got too real. Many of these kids, the sports star honor students, made it through a semester of college before coming home and giving up. If you don't set boundaries as a parent, it's tough for your kid to set them herself.

I just wanted to add that, because being good at school is no indication of being good at life. You need to have a Serious Talk with your daughter before signing off on any after prom activities.

At prom, the teachers were doing a "drugs and alcohol check" at the door. The check-in teacher teased me for wearing sneakers with my dress, then told the kid behind me with an ill-concealed flask that he wasn't allowed to take it inside, and would have to pick it up on his way out. You can't rely on the school to do the right thing, either.
posted by phunniemee at 8:59 AM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mod note: folks, please take the legality of serving alcohol in the US derail elsewhere, thank you
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:59 AM on May 15, 2011

Talk to the other parents in the group and get an idea for what you are dealing with.

I've heard some sage advice about high school: No sleep overs during high school years, ever. Knowing you have to go home, even if it is at 3am, stops a kid from making stupid decisions.

All you can really do is reinforce the rules for good behavior, and double reinforce that she needs to call for a ride home if something weird happens. Fucking up is one thing, but making stupid decisions because you fucked up and don't want to be caught is the worst.

It might not be a bad idea to talk to your daughter's date at the same time, and say the same thing. The date should have the same access and responsibility to call you for a ride if the situation demands it.

Hell, do the same thing for the van driver. "Look here, young man, you have a lot of responsibility tonight. I expect you to live up to that responsibility. But if you don't, you call me and I will help you figure out how to solve the problem. The consequences for getting drunk or high are nothing compared to the consequences of driving after doing so. I'm not telling you how to live *your* life, but I am telling you that in this case, it isn't just your life you are fucking with. All these kids are depending on you."
posted by gjc at 9:05 AM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Interesting assumptions being made here. My daughters date is a sophomore a year younger than she and doesn't drive. The van driver is female. Her date who is wild is the pot smoker.

We had our conversation and the result is she is driving my car to the prom with her friend and their two sophomore male dates. It was a great conversation, and the outcome was totally positive. Thanks everyone for your input.
posted by Xurando at 10:00 AM on May 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

Another data point - I was a baaaddd teenager, but all of my proms were squeaky clean, like Disney. You need to be focused on helping your daughter develop good decision making skills now; it is too late to rely on taking measures to physically control her, and it is irrational to focus on prom night when every Saturday is a occasion for hijinks.
posted by yarly at 10:13 AM on May 15, 2011

Three couples are riding in a van driven by her friend who has had a few negative experiences with alcohol and is a pot smoker too.
Interesting assumptions being made here... The van driver is female. Her date who is wild is the pot smoker.

I'll fess up to erroneously assuming that the driver was male... but now I'm really confused as to whose behaviour you're actually worried about.
posted by matlock expressway at 2:18 PM on May 15, 2011

If letting them drink would be illegal, then that's more problematic, and I don't know what a solution would be. Because they ARE going to drink, no matter what. But you don't want to open yourself up to legal liability either.

I know a lot of people here are saying they are going to drink, but that's not my experience. Neither I or my husband drank until we were legally old enough to do so, and our kids know they just have to wait. But then we don't make a big deal about drinking and build up the whole rite of passage of turning 21 and being legal, either. It's not that much of a Thing for us.

My youngest went to prom recently (he's 16 and a sophomore and took a sophomore and they were allowed to go as long as a senior purchased tickets for them). He has many senior friends as well, most of whom don't drink. Some of them do, and they got a hotel room for the night. He did not want to be with that group. He came home after prom and said he had an amazing night hanging out with his friends.

I bring this up because at least one student here, a senior, did NOT have an amazing prom And it was because he drank. He was very obviously drunk at prom. Prom, though not held at the high school, is considered a school function. The drunk student was expelled, because the school, like most public schools here, has a "no tolerance, drug-free" policy.

We also had two students, one of them an honor student, expelled for smoking weed at Grad Bash at Universal Studios.

That's three students expelled in the last month of their senior year. Just think how much that has to suck for them, and for their parents (expulsion means no more scholarship for the honor student, obviously).

So, in my experience, it is not a given that they are going to drink, quite the contrary.

Now, as far as sex goes? That's a different story. ;)
posted by misha at 2:47 PM on May 15, 2011

gjc: "
I've heard some sage advice about high school: No sleep overs during high school years, ever. Knowing you have to go home, even if it is at 3am, stops a kid from making stupid decisions.

I think this depends on parenting style and individual teen maturity. I never had a curfew, spent weekends at my boyfriend's house senior year (with parents) and lived with him at his parents' country house (without parents) the summer before college. Our families were completely aware we were having sex, knew we had more than enough information to make good choices there, and the only thing they ever made definitive statements about was trusting both us to never, ever drink and drive. (We didn't.)

For my part, I always called if I wasn't coming home, they always knew exactly where I was, and even without a curfew I was always concientious about making sure they didn't worry and came home at reasonable hours. Freedom and trust did not mean I was out running wild, you know?

In other words, the decisions we made were not stupid just because we were under 18. I regret nothing from those years (and had a super fun prom night!)
posted by DarlingBri at 4:37 PM on May 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Can you also make the "ride home, any time, any place" offer to a friend? If your daughter and her BFF both knew that you were an escape hatch, they would strengthen their friendship by encouraging the other to call (instead of losing face by chickening out).

My best friend drove me home from a...mistake...one night, for which I am forever grateful. I hope I never have to pay it forward, but I am ready to do so.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:54 AM on May 16, 2011

I think I was your daughter. Good student, generally good friends but a couple who made bad decisions...

a couple things from my own experience. one, is that hotels plus drunk teens equal sexytimes and property damage. well, maybe not 'damage'. but messiness for sure. in my case, it was getting naked in the shower with a good friend of mine, fooling around, and then making an extensive blanket fort. everything in the room got pretty wet, as we had initially got in the shower with our clothes on, and then somehow draped them around the room. this was in the days before credit cards had to be given, and we just paid cash for the night. Four people (all legal minors?) in a hotel room will not be good -- they will either get kicked out for making too much noise or sent away when they arrive for not being old enough. either way, you are putting them in a position where the people who have to deal with them will probably take even less guff than the police would.

two, don't let teenagers drink at your house, especially if one of them has a problem with driving under the influence. i grew up in a little bedroom community and this was the thought at the time...let them drink at home! and be safe! right, until one of them crashes his car while drunk and kills four teenagers. an extreme case? maybe. but the parents who hosted said party were sued for a whole lot of money in civil court, and had to leave town for the shame of it all. i don't know if they were criminally charged. don't do this -- it's irresponsible and sets a bad example.

i think it's teenager's responsibility to find a place to party after prom, and the crappy job of this they inevitably do keeps them safer anyway. cops bust parties for good reason, even in the movies. don't give them a place to get into more trouble than they would otherwise (and a hotel / your place would be doing just that).

oh, and YES to the no-questions-asked ride / cab fare policy.
posted by custard heart at 5:35 PM on June 2, 2011

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