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Does the Prom Pressure Teens?

By April 14, 2012

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The prom, is the big dance of the season, where everyone who is anyone is going and has a date. Where the marketing world has created $200 dresses and $40 flowers and the much needed up-do done by your hairdresser. Yeah, I'd say that poses a bit of pressure on a teen, huh?

I've seen teens handle it in many different ways. The boys always need to have a date or they don't go. But I did have one boy take a life-size picture of an actress. Yes, he was the class-clown type. Girls, on the other hand, can go in groups and still save face. Shopping for clothes and everything needed will break the budget if your teen is not careful. Here is a list of dresses under $100 if your daughter is looking. Also, talk to the parents of teens who graduated last year, bet they have a prom dress in the closet somewhere that is beautiful.

Whatever your teen decides to do, there is still going to be pressure. We haven't even gone into the pressure to drink or to have sex that the prom can bring about. We need to keep reminding our teens that if the pressure gets to be too much, we are here to help - in our best non-judgmental way. We can remind them how to make good choices and role play if that is what they need.

Poll: Do you think that the prom pressures teens?

See the poll results.

Share Your Thoughts: Is your teen feeling the pressure? Share your thoughts, experiences and advice in the comments section.

April 7, 2008 at 2:08 pm
(1) Mama Zen says:

I think that the prom definitely puts a lot of pressure on teens, particularly girls. Perfect hair, perfect dress, perfect date . . . it’s a bit much.

April 10, 2008 at 8:38 am
(2) parentingteens says:

I wonder if it is differnet for boys vs. girls? That would be interesting, although I think the ‘have to have a date to go’ is a lot of pressure for both.

April 16, 2008 at 12:15 pm
(3) Kim says:

My teenage boy was having a lot of anxieties in getting a date for the prom. I always thought that girls had it bad but had no idea that boys had to go through so much. Now that he has a date, we are busy planning and paying for the prom!

April 29, 2009 at 12:12 pm
(4) Fanny says:

I think there is a lot of pressure on teens for Prom for sure.

However, I think that every party and dance puts pressure on girls. My daughter started the Sweet 16′s this year (quincenara’s too for the 15th b-day) and you can’t be seen in the same dress twice. Most of the girls go out and buy expensive dresses just to attend and the Sweet 16 girls wants to be the Princess in charge and have the perfect look in the long dress (which at one party the DJ talked about constantly). The show is on to impress the other girls, etc. And the dresses are often too tight and too short for the age group, but its how they think they will get attention from the boys. I think the pressure to keep up with looks, dresses and in my area its all about designers, starts for girls as early as 13 (Bat Mitzvah Circuit) the Prom being the big grand finale of pressure and is often seen by teens as their rite of passage to adulthood.

Personally I had no interest in going to mine, but I didn’t hang with the group that wanted to go. I hung out with my friends just like any other night and we had a blast as usual. I did go to a friend’s prom and thought it was all over-rated (had a great dress already and my girlfriend did my hair). I also wonder if many parents aren’t making it overly important too. I mean really its just a dressy party and why does a parent get so disappointed when their daughter isn’t going? Or doesn’t have the right date? What is the big deal really?

April 29, 2009 at 4:52 pm
(5) Catabwa says:

A boy in my son’s high school shot himself in the head because a certain girl turned him down.

April 29, 2009 at 4:57 pm
(6) raven says:

it is different for us . we shop out of season and have bought several prom dresses at prices at 25.00 and under at resale stores and yard sales . it simply doesn’t have to be new .right now has has attended two homecomings and one prom and her second dance prom is this weekend . she is ready for the next prom too . we do most everything our selves and she attends with a platonic friend. her dress will pass muster for the local HS prom walk .parents do not have to spend a fortune thye just have to be smart shop out of season and look at places most would not consider . in this economy it is simply smart to do it this way .she does her own hair and nails and i make her flowers because i really like doing it. since she goes with a buddy it is just fun and not all about the right date etc. we are home schoolers but she attends the local hs dances and also the home school formal proms too. she just loves to dance and that is really the target of the night to dress up ,look gorgeous and have a good time with a male buddy .

April 29, 2009 at 5:58 pm
(7) Maria says:

my daughter’s prom is in about 2 weeks, she has not been invited and is too shy to ask a boy even just as friends from school, all her friends are going, she is very depressed about this, we are very concerned.

April 29, 2009 at 11:43 pm
(8) Suzy says:

I have a comment and a couple of questions about the prom: First. Maria, I read your post and it brought me to tears b/c everybody
deserves to go to their prom. It’s kind of like their rite of passage. If your daughter can’t find someone of the opposite sex to accompany her
to the prom, then you could suggest to her to ask one of her girlfrends,
or an aquainstance to go to the prom
with. I’ve seen girls go with girls and guy go with guys, and back in our days (1980 and 1981 proms), nothing was “gay” back then. Just about everything was cool in our skool. lol.

April 30, 2009 at 9:07 am
(9) Mari says:

In tears over not going to the prom? I don’t get it. I never wanted to go since I wasn’t friends with the ones who went and could care less. Why want to hang with people who aren’t my friends. Some people are into showing off more than a right of passage. It’s just high school and I’d rather have a party with friends than go to prom.

April 30, 2009 at 10:00 am
(10) maria says:

thanks Suzy for your kind words and suggestion,we have mentioned to ask a friend,boy or girl,she just doesn’t even want to talk about the topic anymore,so I’m trying to let it go,I know on the night of prom when her friends are all there her Dad is planning to take her to a concert just to take her mind off it.She really just wants me to stay out of it.

April 30, 2009 at 10:57 am
(11) fanny says:

Maria – Having been the shy girl myself, I kind of get your daughter. One of the problems too when you are shy and put in that type of setting or even thinking about going to that type of social situation is a lot of nerves too. I mean even if your friends are going, you still worry about who will I talk to, will people be looking at me dance, etc. Its just possible that part of her doesn’t want to go and she doesn’t want to admit. She may be sad that no one asked, but at the time she may be scared to go also. So everytime you push her about it, may make her feel worse, I know it did when my mom pushed that stuff. So when she says stay out, maybe its best. Her dad is planning the right thing a concert may be something she will enjoy more. If you must talk to your daughter at this point, maybe its trying the angle that prom is over-rated.

As for the woman who said prom is a right of passage, its only a right of passage if its a place you will have fun. Not everyone has fun at a prom. The quiet girls don’t have fun at dances most of the time, trust me I know. Back in HS days, I hated going to dances becuase if your not in the in crowd or your shy and self conscious, its not fun. Not only that if you aren’t with the “right” person or in the “right” crowd and lack confidence, well then the Prom could be the place from hell for you.

High School pressure amazing. Prom should not be something to stress over, it should be something to enjoy. If a kid rather not attend or didn’t get asked and prefers to just whatever, then maybe thats for the best. I know where I live if you buy the wrong dress or don’t have the designer stuff and that is day to day, then comments are amazing. My daughter she doesn’t care, but the first time it was said to her grade 2 she got upset. Now she knows better. But really its hard to be something you don’t want to do is really important to do.

April 30, 2009 at 4:00 pm
(12) maria says:

thanks Fanny, I think your’e absolutely right on..my daughter is not shy around friends,but is uncomfortable&self conscience(sp?)in big social settings,especially dancing I know she would feel very akward,I’m glad you pointed that out.Again,thanks for the advice,I just didn’t want her to feel like “odd man out”,I know she’ll get thru it.

May 1, 2009 at 10:13 am
(13) Me says:

My son wants to go to prom this year – his senior year but has asked several girls and they turned him down. He is really depressed. Today is prom and he is not going to school because everyone will be talking about it. He is a good looking shy kid and this is killing him.

May 1, 2009 at 2:49 pm
(14) denny says:

Lying in love teen
My teen has been lying and dating one boy secretly behind our backs, has her young sisters and friends covering for her .she skips scool ,two whole days at a time .she is also lying to the teachers .she says shes in love ,shes 17 he is also 17, with her missing school she has had to drop her academics math chem biology accounting for softer subjects ,her school work is poor has to be always be redone ,we have been pushing her for the grades that are average threatens us about not going to university ,her loser friends are havent made the grade ,she has dropped all her friends whose avg is 75% .she has always had things done for her /she makes us feel guilty .because of a mistake she did at 16 we havs kept a close eye her claims she does not have social life and that we are stifiling her,we dont know how to trust her anyymore ,does not want to upset her she has a temper ,her decisin are not rationale .

May 4, 2009 at 1:51 pm
(15) .. says:

im in grade 12.. prom in 2 months. im a guy. tons of stress. finding a date is the number one “omg what should i do?!” thing. i do have a date.. im going with a friend. she has a boyfriend though, so even more stress now… what will she do? is what im wondering. everyone emphasizes “yeaahhh get some sex” with a date and all that, but im just going with a friend. so that is more stress, whether or not to find a girl to go as a date with, or just staying with my friend.

May 5, 2009 at 11:07 pm
(16) Tib says:

i am a guy, my prom is in two months, i asked my girlfriend of not so long to go with me (she goes to another school and a grade below). not taking prom too seriously, hoping she wont, but definitely paranoid at what her dress looks like (havnt seen it yet) wondering if it will ‘meet the standards’ of the rest of the girls’. for myself, no pressure to look good, just going to shower and get a tux.

April 29, 2010 at 1:51 pm
(17) Summer says:

I think its the hype before the prom that has kids stressed, as an adult its like everyone talking about a big concert or party you can’t get tickets to, you just get sick of hearing about it, once the night is over its like anything else it was just a dinner and dance, Wildly over priced I mean $80 for each family member?? I say if you don’t want to go, and by the way at 18 a lot of girls could care a less about a date, don’t go its no big deal. Your leaving highschool and on to bigger and better parties!! :-)

April 22, 2012 at 5:06 pm
(18) mamacat says:

If the school allows the prom to have a king and queen, I think that puts pressure on teens and is a bad idea. Just have a prom and leave the popularity contest out of it (because that’s all it is anyway). Also, I think it’s a bad idea when schools do not allow students from other schools to attend their prom. That’s not going to help girls and guys get a better chance at a date because anyone with a boyfriend or girlfriend is NOT going to ask a classmate to the prom just so they can go to the prom. Sometimes I think school officials who make such rules have forgotten what it was like to be a teenager with a boy/girlfriend.

April 27, 2012 at 6:41 pm
(19) Lisa says:

I think prom puts alot of pressure on both girls and boys. I can’t go to mone because I can’t find a date and it really sucks to be the only one not going out of my friends.

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