Guest contributor Julie Stedman (used with permission)
Beautiful gowns, hair and nail appointments, frantic color-matching with dates, and detailed picture-taking schedules: all “essential” for the big prom night!
Don’t miss the opportunity to also talk to your teen. More important than the budgets, beauty or curfews, clear conversation prior to prom night can be a life-changer for your precious prom-goer.
Consider together the pressures they may face. Make the effort to get to know their date and “friend group” in advance. Our culture teaches young people to consider prom night as an opportunity to test boundaries. Building up your teen's strength of character prior to prom and then fortifying them with clear, caring conversations about the choices they might face is smart parenting.
It is a lie that “everyone is doing it” and as parents, we know their choices on prom night can result in fun memories - or painful regret. These are very serious conversations – but they can be handled with humor and stories from your own life lessons!
Ask your teen...
What is your after-prom plan? Who do you think will be there? Where and when for each stop? How often should they check in with a text or photo?
Let’s brainstorm: what if other people show up? What if the adult you expected to be there is not? What if “everyone” wants to make a new plan? What if your friends do things you didn’t expect?
Do you know what we expect? Do you know your own personal boundaries? Discuss alcohol, drugs, sex, and peer influence. What if your friends don’t act the way you expected?
Tell your teen...
"It doesn't matter how much money your date may have spent on you, you don’t owe them anything. Your date must be respectful if you say no."
"If you feel uncomfortable, call someone (like who? Pick someone). We will pick you up no matter what is happening. Or call so we can talk it over. I’ll be your rescue.”
Tips from parents who’ve been there…
If it is an after-prom party or sleepover, get phone numbers for adult hosts so you can thank them in advance for hosting and keeping your child safe. This creates an expectation of adult responsibility.
Talk it all through again the next day. Help your teen process what they saw and did.
Say it out loud: “I’ll do everything in my power to help you make great choices based on facts and faith. I believe you can do it and I love you enough to have these awkward conversations with you.”
Written by: Julie Stedman,
Relationships Under Construction Educator
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