By Chris Taylor, MFT, Author "Back To Basics"
Prom night is the end of childhood for your teen, the beginning of adulthood, and the true test of responsibility and behaving. Teens spend almost the entire year planning, shopping, and talking about prom night; they see the few hours as one of the most important night of their college career. However parents see the night as emotional and riddled with fear.
Whereas a teen may be concerned with tips for prom when it comes to the perfect dress, the makeup, the way to be a gentleman, and how to handle the after party, parents need tips to survive the experience as well. Here are the 5 major tips to survive the prom as a parent:
1. Set a budget
Prom can get expensive, faster than you would expect. In today’s world, the desire to go above and beyond from the asking a date to prom, the outfits, the transportation, and the after-party is more apparent than ever. It is important to set boundaries and rules when it comes to the prom budget, if it is your money they are spending. What might seem like “the most important moment of their life” to your teen, is different to you because you have lived it before. Let them know the budget from the beginning, and let them make their decisions on where to spend it.
2. Set expectations before prom--not just FOR prom
Your rules and expectations for how your teen should behave is not something you should be mentioning on prom night for the first time, rather it should be a continuance of your rules from the rest of their childhood. They should have values and morals instilled in them from growing up in your household, and being disciplined for doing wrong. Trying to change the way things are done for one night is not going to be very successful, and they may not take you seriously.
3. Initiate the safety conversation
Safety is the biggest concern for prom, and it comes from all areas and directions. It is important you initiate the conversation involving safety and what to do when dangerous situations arise. Talks should be had about safe sex, because a lot of teens think prom night is a good time to lose their virginity, but you should warn them of the reality of the consequences of sex. Also have a talk with them about safe driving, this includes drinking and driving as well as texting and driving. You should voice your opinion about not drinking, and let them know drugs are not acceptable. Lastly, make a safety plan. Have a curfew (even if they are staying at another person’s house), have various check in times, and a way they can reach you and let you know they don’t feel safe. Your teen should always feel it's acceptable to call you for help if need be.
4. Have contact numbers and addresses
You should find out where and with who your teen will be for the night. Get the numbers of a couple of friends and the date of your child, as well as some parents numbers if they are staying the night somewhere. If they aren’t returning home for the night, find out the location they will be, and the transportation plans to and from prom.
5. Remember to have fun and allow fun
Although it is tempting to be the overbearing and overprotective parent, relax and have trust in your child. Prom night can be fun for the parents too. You can celebrate their journey to adulthood, and enjoy the moment as its the last few moments you will get to do “parent’ activities like this. Allow them their moment of fun and some freedom. You were their age once, remember what that felt like, and how much anticipation was behind that one night. If you are in a fun mood and more relaxed, they will be too, and it will allow them to not stress and enjoy the moment for what it is. www.parentingyourteens.com