As my daughter’s rugby game finished, a brave young man strolled out on to the field with a big white board screaming “PROM?” on it. As he walked over to his intended date, the girls all sighed, and with that, the “promposal” got its desired #relationshipgoals effect. The thing is, they had been dating since Grade 9, and he still formally asked her to their Grade 12 prom.
The stakes are higher for our social media–savvy kids than they were for us. Proms now come with more expenses than just the dress, not to mention all of the other expectations that will undoubtedly shape this milestone in their lives. Make sure to take some time to talk to your kids about how to keep things under control.
1. Ensure your daughter’s dress is prom appropriate. Not just from a school policy perspective, but one that doesn’t give her the wrong kind of exposure. Be involved with the dress choice.
2. If you’re the parents who are throwing the pre-prom party, bear in mind that most of the kids will not be of legal drinking age. You’ll need to decide if you want to be “that” parent who provides the alcohol. If you are planning on serving it, make sure the parents of the invited kids are aware of your plans. Even if you don’t share the alcohol with them, chances are they’ll have some during the course of the evening. Talk to them about limits and consequences.
3. Prom night can be a marker in any high school relationship. Open a dialogue with your child around what might happen and the precautions he or she should take. Emphasize the fact that just because it might be an expectation, ultimately it comes down to whether or not he or she is comfortable moving a relationship to the next level.
4. Of course your teens will have their phone with them, so encourage them to check in during the evening. Understand that they will be “in the moment” and responding to texts from Mom or Dad probably won’t be their top priority. Resist the urge to call them and keep it to a simple text.
5. Talk to your kids about posting on social media during the evening. Although they might start out sharing dresses, hairdos and pics of cute couples, there could be an urge to share less than complimentary photos of kids who are having too good a time or dresses that are seen to not measure up. Remind them that what they post online, including pictures of themselves and others, lives online forever. Encourage them to wait on posting until the next day, when heads are clear. Review the evening’s itinerary with them before they set off, and ask them to check in if they decide to go somewhere spontaneously.
Best advice? Take yourselves out on the same night — go to a movie, head out for dinner, get your mind off their night and onto yours. While you’re at it, toast yourselves for your own milestone of having raised a graduating student.