Your teenager has been excited about it for months but for a dad, the high school prom can be something to dread. Dads might view prom as a dangerous night when teens are likely to break the rules, break the bank and maybe even break hearts. Some prom-night rules are evergreen but a lot has changed since your senior year, Dad. It may be time for some new information.
- Start by talking to your son or daughter about their plans and expectations. To break the ice, bring a gift like a pair of cufflinks for your son or a set of crystal jewels to glamorize your daughter’s party hair style.
- If their financial expectations for the night are unrealistic, don’t squash their dreams. Discuss affordable alternatives. Listen closely to what they want and you’ll be more successful with finding a compromise.
- Make time to talk to your son or daughter about their romantic expectations for the prom. Lots of kids are pressured into believing the prom is the most important date they’ll ever have – or not have. Remind them about your family’s moral code but don’t lecture. Help them find a way to keep things in perspective. Prom is not going to be the best or most important night of their entire lives, but it may be one of many wonderful memories if they don’t make poor choices.
- It really is OK to go to prom with a mixed group of friends. Of course you want your son to behave like a gentleman and your daughter to be treated like a lady if they’re going on a date, but many kids opt to go with friends and pay their own expenses.
- Host the pre- and post-prom party. Instead of forbidding your teen to attend extra activities, offer the option to invite friends over for an alcohol-free, chaperoned party. Let them have fun and don’t hover.
- Yes, you do have the right to know where they’ll be at any time during the evening.
- If your son is taking a date to the prom, instruct him of the proper date etiquette. Help him clean the car, rent a tuxedo, make a dinner reservation and buy a corsage. Also, make sure he has enough cash to cover the night’s expenses. Likewise, if your daughter is going with a date, make sure she knows she’s supposed to buy a boutonniere. Don’t let her leave the house without any money, her date’s father might not read this article.
- As long as it’s within the boundaries of decency don’t comment on his suit or her dress other than to offer a compliment. Fashions change, Dad. Let your teen dress the way he or she wants.
Whether you’re the strictest parent on the block or tend toward leniency let your teenager know you’ll be available all night– no questions asked. A teenager who knows they can call home without getting in trouble is a lot more likely to do so. And to make sure they get back home on time, tell your son or daughter that you’ll be waiting up, not to check on them, but to hear about the great time they had at the prom.