Homecoming and Prom are important high school milestones. These social events provide opportunities for your teen to make memories with their friends that will last a lifetime. As a parent, these events likely stir a wide range of emotions. You probably enjoy watching your child grow and enjoy these special moments, but they may also make you a bit anxious. After all, now is the time you hope all your work in teaching your teen good decision-making skills will pay off.
In order to give your teen an opportunity to exercise their decision-making skills, but within your guidelines and expectations, engage in a win-win negotiation exercise that results in a Compact for Excellence.
Win-win negotiation sounds like a clear statement of what you want (your teen to have fun and make safe decisions), a clear understanding of what your teen wants (to enjoy the event with friends), and an agreement about guidelines that allows both parties to get the most of what they want. As part of that negotiation, be transparent about what is a non-negotiable (no drinking, no drugs, etc.). But, also be willing to give your teen some decision-making power within your non-negotiables.
Once there is a clear understanding of what both parties want and the non-negotiables in place, create a Compact for Excellence that lists the agreements for the night that will allow your teen to have a great time, and return home safely.
You Compact may include agreements like:
- Curfew is extended to midnight
- You may drive the family car, but no more than 2 other people can be in the car when driving
- You will text us an update at 10 p.m.
- You may go to a friend’s house after the dance
Most importantly, you and your teen must agree to follow whatever guidelines are in place. A Compact is only win-win if both parties feel their most important interests are represented in the agreement.