It’s prom season, and this year you no longer have the luxury of hiding at home and waiting for it to pass. Those blissful days of walking past prom dresses without cringing at price tags are long gone. There’s no fairy godmother flying in, waving her wand and zapping down the perfect pair of heels. It’s all on you to make sure that your teen gets what she needs for that perfect night.
Yes, prom can be a stressful time for parents, and perhaps the most stressful aspect of preparing for your teen’s special night is planning the transportation. If you are looking to avoid renting a limo by chauffeuring your teen to the prom, here are 10 tips to make sure you aren’t embarrassing her and destroying her life.
1. Wash Your Ride
Tonight is a big deal to your teen, and they want to make a good impression on their friends. It’s probably a sore spot they can’t drive to the prom themselves, so make the extra effort to wash your vehicle before chauffeuring. Focus on the inside as well so that your kid’s friends don’t discover old French fries circa 2013.
2. Plan it Out
Prom night is one of the busiest nights of the year, so you need to make reservations for restaurants, dress fittings, and hair appointment, like, yesterday.
Most girls will want their hair professionally done, as well as their nails. Walking into a salon and expecting to get out in an hour is probably not going to happen unless you have an appointment.
This applies to restaurants too. Unless you are taking your teen and her friends to McDonald’s, you need to make a reservation. Some restaurants obviously don’t accept reservations, so if you want to get dinner there before going to the prom, make sure you get there early. On prom night, this will mean at least two hours. Otherwise, you will end up waiting in line, which will not be comfortable for young ladies wearing heels for the first time.
3. Set Rules & Stick to Them
From drinking to drugs to even dating violence, prom can be one of the riskiest nights of the years for teenagers. Having a talk about rules may dampen the buzz your teen is feeling about prom night, but it’s the most important conversation you’ll have.
Talking to your teen before you even leave the house will open the door for them to discuss anything they may be uncertain about. It also makes certain you’re both on the same page. Discuss things like what time you are picking them up, whether they can to go to afterparties, and if they’re spending the night at a friend’s house. Also, make sure they know how often to check in.
Let them know what the consequences are for disobeying these rules, up front, and don’t be afraid of being the “bad guy.”
4. No Horror Stories
As tempting as it may be, try not to scare your teen to death about everything that went wrong at your own prom. Your teen is probably nervous enough without adding anecdotal horror stories their worries. Once prom night is over, and they’re discussing how things went, you can add in tales of your own. (Consider it a bonding experience!)
5. Drive Safe
Your teen may not be driving the car, but this doesn’t mean there are no dangers — other drunk drivers will be on the road on prom night.
The CDC reports that drunk teen driving has “decreased by 54% since 1991,” but many teens are still getting behind the wheel after drinking. Be extra vigilant as you drive and watch out for other drivers. Follow all driving laws, like stopping fully at stop signs and following the speed limit. Essentially, avoid driving aggressively. Extra caution may be the difference between you and your loved ones arriving home or taking a trip to the hospital.
6. Let the Kids Pick the Music
You may hate your teen’s taste in music, but this is their night. Avoid the polka tunes and let them have control of the radio. You can even help set their phone’s Bluetooth to connect to your vehicle, allowing them to stream their own playlists.
7. Know Your Kid’s Friends
Peer pressure plays a devastating role in getting teens to drink or do drugs, so it’s important to know who your teen is friends with.
Social media is a great way to do this; find out who they are hanging out with, whether it’s their best friend or a casual acquaintance, and be sure to ask who they plan to be around during prom. You don’t have to forbid them to see their “undesirable” friends, as this will most likely backfire, but do try to keep the lines of communication open.
Beware: Your teen is well on their way to adulthood, and part of adulthood is learning to do things without Mom and Dad holding their hand. As hard as may be, don’t spy on your kid or sneak into the prom to keep an eye on them. If you tell them you trust them, show them.
8. Get Phone Numbers
Find out who is chaperoning at the prom and get their phone numbers in case you can’t reach your teen. Also, get phone numbers from parents of your teen’s friends. Best-case scenario: You never have to call those numbers, but at least you’ll have several ways to keep track of your teen.
After dropping your teen off, go home. Play a board game, binge-watch a new show, or go hit the bowling alley with some friends. Stressing out is not healthy and won’t make the night end any sooner. Trust that your teen will reach out if they need you.
10. Ensure Your Vehicle is Just Right
Your 2007 Toyota Corolla may get you fantastic gas mileage, but it should be kept in the driveway on prom night. Instead, you’ll want to chauffeur your teen and her friends around in something a bit larger and more opulent. We suggest a large certified pre-owned SUV that’s dressed to the nines in modern technology, like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, heated rear seats, and a premium sound system. It may not have a retractable privacy divider between the front and back rows, but a quality used SUV should do the trick if you’re chauffeuring a teenage prom on a budget.
Need help choosing a great SUV in Kansas City this prom season? Head to McCarthy Pre-Owned Supercenter to take advantage of our Certified+ program! You’ll benefit from a $1,000 price match guarantee and several additional perks that other used car lots in Kansas City don’t offer. To schedule a test drive or request information about our current used car specials, contact our Blue Springs used car dealership at 816-224-7500. And remember to breathe—prom night won’t last forever!