SEATTLE — Prom is a rite of passage for teens and they’ll probably talk about for the rest of their lives. But experts say parents need to do the talking first.
While teens take the time to get that dress fitted or get that limo booked, for some kids it might be a time to experiment, too.
“Parents need to let their children know that this is an adult thing, just like alcohol is,” says Jake Dimmock, a father of two.
Students at Arlington High School learned that lesson the hard way recently. School officials say seven students admitted to eating edibles before the prom. And during the night, three students got sick, prompting a call to medics. And police also showed up. All seven students were sent home and later disciplined by the school.
“We know that 'just say no' doesn’t work with millennials these days. They’re just going to tune you out,” says Dr. Alexander Garrard.
Garrard says in 2016, the Washington Poison Center received 286 calls regarding marijuana; 53 of those cases involved teens ages 13 to 19.
“The number one thing I would talk to your kids about is the good Samaritan law, which basically says that if you run into trouble or if your friends run into trouble, because of alcohol or drugs, you can call for help and you’re not going to get in trouble,” says Garrard.
That sentiment is echoed by employees at Diego Pellicer, a marijuana store in Seattle's Sodo district.
“Being prom season, it definitely gives an opportunity to kids to want to experiment and have a little fun. And that’s always a great time for parents to sit down with kids and have that talk with them; the talk about sex, the talk about drugs and liquor; and cannabis needs to be added to that talk,” says Alejandro Canto, owner and CEO of Diego Pellicer.
Canto says have that conversation with your teen, but make sure you’re educated on the topic yourself.
“Parents can come interact with our teammates and learn more about the product,” says Canto.
He invites parents to learn more at his shop, located at 2215 4th Avenue South in Seattle. Canto says the more you know, the more you can prepare your child.
“Explain to them what the consequence of eating something is. I think that, too, is important to understand,” says Dimmock.