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Family Forum: Prom Time - Setting Ground Rules?

Local parents talk setting curfews, preventing teenage drinking and guidelines for the big night.

The dress, the tux, the corsage - it all seems nice when you're snapping photos of your child and their date looking classy as they head out to prom, but when the limo pulls away that's when the worries set in.

Will he be drinking? Where will she be spending the night? Is it too late to call this off?

Whether your child is now an adult, a tot still playing dress-up or a teen who has recently picked out a dress (or tux) for prom, we want to know what ground rules you think parents should set for the big night.

Tell us: Should parents set a curfew? How can they curtail the consumption of alcoholic beverages? What rules should be set? Would you allow your child to attend an after-party? Are you letting them sleep over somewhere that night?

You'll see members of our Family Council, an advisory group comprised of smart and engaged parents from the neighborhood, responding to these questions below in the comments section and we invite you and your circle of friends to join in the discussion by doing the same.

Family Forum is a feature on Patch that invites local parents to discuss issues that matter to them.

Wondering who are these local parents we tapped for our Council? Meet the members:

  • Janet Grech - A Malverne mom with children enrolled at Our Lady of Lourdes School.
  • Laura Murray- A Lynbrook mom who grew up in Malverne and is the current president of the Mothers of Malverne. She has two young children not in school yet.
  • Gina Genti - A Malverne mom with two boys in elementary school.
  • Andrea Shinsato- A West Hempstead mom with a 2-year-old and one child enrolled in Chestnut Street School.
  • Theresa Walz- A West Hempstead mom whose children attend Cornwell Avenue School and West Hempstead Middle School.
  • Loraine Magaraci- A West Hempstead mom with kids enrolled in West Hempstead Middle School and High School.
  • Audrey Diaz Robles- A new mom to a 6-month-old baby.
  • Dawn Wladyka- A Malverne mom with two students attending Our Lady of Lourdes School and one enrolled in Grace Lutheran PreSchool.
  • Eileen Lynch O'Hara - A Malverne mother with three children enrolled at Saint Anne's School in Garden City and one child at the Brother Fox Latin School at Kellenberg Memorial High School.
  • Maria Salcedo-Hafker - A Malverne mom who sends her children to Maurice W. Downing School and Davison Avenue School.
  • Lori Lang- A Malverne native and mother of four whose children attend St. Thomas the Apostle School in West Hempstead.
  • Jennifer Johnson- A West Hempstead mom with one child attending Cornwell Avenue School and another in day care.

Family Forum will also be the place for you to pose your questions about parenting topics and local issues that affect families. Where can we get information on local flu shot clinics for children? How do we talk to our children about peer pressure, bullying and protecting themselves online? How can we help our children's schools weather their budget cutbacks?

Have a topic or question you'd like to bring before the Family Council and fellow Patch readers? E-mail Tara.Conry@Patch.com

Laura Murray May 11, 2011 at 05:59 PM
My two children are not even in nursery school yet, so I cringe at the thought of them drinking and partying all night after prom. I hope that I will know my children's friends and therefore have a sense of the type of people they are and whether or not they are responsible. I plan to educate my children on the dangers of alcohol consumption, especially in a big group like that, where peer pressure can push a child to drink far too much. I also hope to teach my children self-respect and confidence, so that they can say no to alcohol and sex and not want to participate in any over-the-top after-prom plans. I don't think I would set an absolute curfew, but rather I would talk to my children about their prom and after-prom plans and work together to determine a appropriate time to be home.
Theresa Walz May 11, 2011 at 06:34 PM
My kids are a few years away from the prom so I am not sure what I would do yet. I was thinking back to when I went to my prom. I stayed out pretty late, went home and got a bit of sleep and then we went to Great Adventure. I know things have changed a great deal and the pressure to do things is much worse. I will try to educate my kids on all the dangers and always try to make the right decision and to be responsible. I would probably not set a curfew but I would want to know what the after prom activities were so that I would know where they were.
Maria May 15, 2011 at 08:29 PM
My kids are still young, but time does fly! My husband and I have been chaperones for a number of proms since he is a high school teacher. I have no problems with setting a curfew. They will have plenty of time later to have late, late nights! I am not planning on being militant but I want to know that my kids are not on the road with other possible drunk drivers around. I would be open to hosting an after prom party, where some of the parents can get involved in planning activities and we can all be sure our kids are safe. There is a place to meet in the middle. I hope to be able to talk to my children openly about all the dangers of over indulging on anything and acting irresponsibly. I personally did not go to the prom, and honestly never felt like I missed out on anything. All that money for one night...I opted to spend a year in South America before starting college and the memories are amazing.
janet grech May 17, 2011 at 11:09 AM
I am hopeful that when my children reach high school age they will be mature enough to make good choices. I think this event would happen after many talks about sex, drinking and driving and drugs. However, they will still be given a curfew and a stern warning before any prom is attended. Of course, I would be available to chaperone, just not sure how that would go over. I would definitely be open to hosting an after prom party if my children would want one. I am not sure if I would set a curfew, I think it would all depend what the group plan was. I still remember my high school prom and thought it was one great night! Terrace on the Park, then a limo ride around Manhattan and a round-trip ride on the Staten Island Ferry. We ate breakfast at IHOP, then we all headed to the beach!! So it is a fond memory and one that I would love my kids to cherish when they are graduating (just as long as they keep it in check)! I did not have a curfew but I did check in with my parents throughout the night and my mom knew where I was and what I was doing (No cell phones back then). I do think that this is a different time and you have to keep a closer eye on activities and such. A key factor is to keep the lines of communication open with your kids.
Dawn Wladyka May 18, 2011 at 01:55 PM
Although like many others the prom is still many years off for my family, I truly hope that I will feel confident enough in my kids and their friends to let them spend the night out without a curfew. It's what I wanted for myself and I hope I am able to offer the opportunity with them. It's not something I plan on doing on a regular basis, but the prom is special. At least they will have cell phones and ways to keep in touch, something we didn't have. It lends an extra level of security.


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