Wednesday’s Parent: Oh the conversations you should have (before prom)


promA play on words from Dr. Seuss’ “Oh the Places You’ll Go”; oh the conversations you should have before prom. Apart from the tears, the photos, the worrying and the knowledge that your little baby is all grown up, prom should be an opportunity for you to offer some straight talk about the BIG 3: Sex, Drugs and Drinking. Why? Because at every prom there are students who cross the line and participate in some risky behavior they think demonstrates adulthood.


Is dating gone? What about courtship? According to a recent NY Times article and most high school and college students it’s a dinosaur. They have random “hook ups” with people they meet–which can include anything from making out to oral sex to intercourse. Parents need to know and understand this new culture in order to prepare their students for college. As I’ve said before, preparation is much more than academics.

Read my post:  The Hooking Up Culture


If you or your child has been in the public school system in the last 30 years you’re familiar with the phrase–just say no. From first grade on, those words have been pounded into the heads of kids giving them an answer to anyone who offers them drugs or any other form of abuse. It’s not the answer sometimes that’s important, as much as the attitude behind the response.

Research shows that kids who have a good relationship with their parents are less likely to pursue a life of abuse. The drug awareness programs give parents some guidelines they say will help. They instruct parents to do several things and lead us to believe that if we follow those rules, our kids are less likely to succumb to peer pressure.

Their suggestions have merit. But the bottom line is that most kids, no matter how strong they appear or how great their relationship is with their parents, are going to find themselves in a situation where just saying “no” is not enough. Just saying “no” will be met with teasing, pressure, and even ridicule. It’s your job as a parent to prepare them for that moment.

Read my post: When Just Say “NO” is not enough


Your teens are graduating from high school and heading to college. There are 17 million college students that drink alcohol, and 8.5 million of them are binge drinking. We’ve heard the terms “poor” or “struggling” college student before, but it’s no wonder they are living off of Ramen Noodles when there was a reported $163 billion spent on alcohol in America in 2011. It’s not all fun and games when young people are consuming 2 gallons per person of alcohol. There are negative consequences of this behavior that includes assault, rape, injury and even death.

Take a look at these two info graphics that will underscore the importance of this conversation:

How Much Do College Students Drink

The Truth About College Binge Drinking

These are brutal conversations to have with your teen but it may be the last time you can exert some parental influence before they leave for college in the fall. A good friend of mine, Paul Hemphill, a college admissions counselor, says, “every school is a party school.” A difficult fact to face but a reality. Have the conversations now—and if you’re lucky some of it will sink in.

For more prom tips, read Wendy’s post: Surviving Your Teen’s Prom


Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety.                                                                                                                                                                           Each Wednesday Wendy and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Wendy and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from parentscountdowntocollegecoach to and vice versa.

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