Going to the high school prom can be one of the most exciting nights of a teen’s high school career. It’s important to have plenty of conversations with your teen about prom night well in advance of the actual event. Here are five conversations every parent should have with their teen before prom night:
1. Create a Budget
Begin talking to your teen about your budget early on in the prom shopping process. That can help address any high expectations your teen may have about how much you’ll be spending. Even if you’re fortunate enough to be able to afford a big budget, setting a budget up front can help reduce a lot of conflict later on. Work with your teen to create a budget and use it as an opportunity to teach your teen about budgeting.
2. Make Your Expectations Clear
You may be interested to hear what your teen thinks are acceptable rules for prom night. Ask your teen what her expectations are for prom night. Establish your rules early on. Make it clear what time curfew will be and discuss any after-prom activities that may or may not be allowed. Also, review your rules about driving or riding in a car with passengers and any expectations you have about your teen checking in with you during the evening.
3. Discuss Peer Pressure
All the hype around prom night can lead to some teens wanting to go overboard. For some teens, this may mean partying. There may be expectations of drinking and drug use after the prom. Other teens may experience peer pressure in regards to sexual activity. There may be expectations about what “should” happen on prom night.
Resisting peer pressure should be an ongoing conversation with teens. Even if you’ve talked about peer pressure in the past, it can be helpful to discuss the type of peer pressure that may be evident on prom night. Review strategies to resist peer pressure and help prepare your teen for possible issues.
4. Establish a Safety Plan
It’s always a good idea to have a safety plan to help your teen deal with any problems that could arise. Discuss how your teen could respond to a situation that becomes potentially unsafe. For example, if some teens begin drinking alcohol at an after prom event or if a fellow teen driver appears to be under the influence – what should your teen do? Talk about strategies that your teen could use to get out of potential unsafe situations. Invite your teen to call for a ride home, no matter what the situation is.
5. Review Dating Etiquette
Review a few etiquette tips that may be important for your teen to know about prom night. If your teen is going to pick up a date, for example, make it clear that honking the horn from the driveway isn’t a respectful way to get the evening started. Talk about etiquette regarding meeting a date’s family or how to treat a date over the course of the evening.
If your teen doesn’t have any previous dating experience, the prom may a little anxiety-provoking. Encourage your teen to have a good time and take some pictures to help you remember the event for years to come.