Bucks County Herald

Prom season under way

NHS Cares encourages teens to avoid risky behaviors

Spring is finally here in Bucks County and so is prom season.

While prom is an exciting night for high school students, it is associated with risky behavior for some teens which is why it is important for parents, youth and the community to proactively encourage safe, healthy, and legal celebrations. Nationally, just over half of prom goers report drinking four or more drinks on prom night. Teens under the influence are more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior and traffic accidents are higher during prom and graduation season than at any other time of year.

“To prevent youth from engaging in risky behaviors, we need to do more than just educate people and that is why we also work to create healthy family, school, and community environments. However, when it comes to messaging, we do have a greater impact when messages are clear, consistent, and communicated in multiple ways,” said Andrea de la Flor who directs the substance abuse prevention efforts of New Hope-Solebury Cares.

In collaboration with community members, the group is carrying out some key pre-prom initiatives. All parents of New Hope-Solebury students attending prom, which is being held April 21, will receive a letter that details practical tips about how to talk to their teen before prom and how to host a fun, safe, and legal prom party; students will attend a pre-prom assembly focusing on prom safety; and the coalition is running a video contest in the school around students’ plans for a fun and safe prom.

Finally, HG Giuseppes’ Pizza is attaching NHS Cares-sponsored stickers to pizza boxes to remind adults not to provide alcohol to minors.

NHS Cares thanks the following businesses and groups for their support: Janney Montgomery Scott, New Hope; New Hope Solebury School District; HG Giuseppes’ Pizza; Livengrin Foundation; Carol Ross Photography; New Hope Photo; and the P.S.I.C. club at New Hope-Solebury High School.

For information on NHS Cares, visit nhscares.org.

Prom night tips for parents

Prom is one of the best nights of your child’s high school career. By talking to your teen regularly, encouraging problem solving, and providing safe and healthy places to celebrate, parents have a huge impact on their ability to have a safe, fun, and regret-free night.

When talking to your teen before prom:

Agree on the details. Know what after-prom activities are taking place and where. Get contact numbers. Confirm with hosts that events will be alcohol free and supervised. Agree on curfews and let them know you plan to be awake.

Stick to your messaging. Be confident in repeating your expectations about risky behaviors like drinking, drug use, and sexual activity. Research tells us that teens do listen.

Make back-up plans. Strategize how to handle different common scenarios that can occur such as “What if the person who is driving drinks?” or “What if you are pressured to do something you don’t want to do?”

Emphasize safety. Discuss the dangers of driving under the influence and distracted driving. Ask them how they plan to watch out for the personal safety of themselves and others.

Establish a code. Agree on a call, or text alert, with no questions asked if your teen finds ends up in an uncomfortable situation. No matter what happens.

When the limo arrives … Tell the driver your expectations for an alcohol and drug free trip and let them know that stops are not permitted to or from prom.

Tips for hosting a fun and safe prom party– Be sure an adult is visible for the entire length of the party;

– Remember to lock up any alcohol or prescription drugs in the house;

– Keep the gathering confined to an easy to monitor location;

– Have lots of snacks and non-alcoholic beverage choices;

– Teens should not be allowed to come and go as they please.

Tips presented by New Hope-Solebury Cares.

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