prom night choices


prom night

Prom Night Choices
by Patricia R. Chadwick
Parents and Teens

The spring is the time of year that your teen will be thinking of formal dances, graduations, graduation parties, and, if they are a senior, the most exciting event of all: the prom. While it is a special time for your teenager, it is also a time filled with high expectations and much peer pressure. It is a time that will test the moral fiber of your teen and give them the opportunity to make their own decisions, hopefully making wise choices along the way.

No longer held in the high school gym, today's proms have gone upscale. Many schools hold their proms at luxury hotels, complete with full banquet facilities and professional entertainment. Students arrive in limousines, dance the night away in rented tuxes and skin-tight sheaths then leave for a weekend of unsupervised activities with friends--for many their first extended trip without parents. With the rising purchasing power of youth culture, the prom is now an industry unto itself with its own magazines, films, clothing, accessories and services. 

While many adults trivialize the prom experience, most kids take the prom seriously. The prom is a space where kids work through their understanding of authority, social class, gender norms and multicultural schooling. Proms are often the sight of public and personal struggle. Proms are more than just pictures and puffed sleeves--they are a mythic part of youth culture and, for better or worse, will always be a night to remember.

Your teen will be faced with a variety of choices ranging from the price limit on the whole event to whether or not they will be attending unchaperoned parties. Some decisions will be made with the parents, but your teen will be confronted with many choices themselves. Now is the time to discuss the situations that might come and what would be the best way to handle them.

The following are situations both you and your teen should consider together before prom night.

1. Will your teen be allowed at unchaperoned parties? 
Your teen will probably view this as a matter of trust.
Be prepared to defend your view!

2. Will they be allowed to drive to the prom alone as a couple or should they go in groups? Should they drive at all or take a limousine?
3. How much money should be spent on the night? And who will pay for what?

4. What will be the curfew for prom night? Are overnight stays allowed, and if so, will they be co-ed?

5. Will drinking be allowed? Discuss your conviction on alcohol consumption with your teen. The Bible does mandate that you not "be drunk with wine..." (Ephesians 5:18). If you have convictions on drinking, be prepared to share your views with your teenager before prom night.

While some issues your teen may face by themselves, they will be better equipped to handle a variety of situations if you've discussed them together before the event.

1. Peer pressure to drink or take drugs on prom night. They need to decide ahead of time how they will handle the situation if they are approached to partake in these activities. It might be good to discuss this with your teen and maybe even role-play the possible situation. Remember, as Proverbs 23:7 states, "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he." If you decide on your convictions a head of time, it's much easier to say no when confronted with temptation.

2. How much importance should be placed on prom night? If their expectations for the evening are too high, they might find the night a big disappointed. Encourage them to go into the event with "no expectations" so that the evening will be enjoyable even if it is not "extraordinary".

3. Will they have sex? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh! Yes, on this night 
emotions run high and the issue of whether or not to have sex is best when it is not first addressed in the midst of the evening.  If you haven't done so already, make sure you talk to teen about their convictions about having sex before marriage. Remember to let them know that waiting for marriage before having sex is God's plan, not just the "old fashioned" ideas of the parent. Explain to them that having sex before marriage not only puts them at risk for an unwanted pregnancy or STDs, but it is a sin against their own body (1 Cor. 6:18).

Prom night can be one of the most memorable events in your teenager's high school years. You can aid in keeping those memories positive by helping your teen make concrete plans on handling a variety of situations that might come up. In the end, they will make their own choices that night, but if you've spent time discussing these issues with them before hand, there is a much 
better chance that they will make wise choices on their own.


Patricia Chadwick is a freelance writer and has been a stay-at-home mom for 16 years. She is currently a columnist in several online publications as well as editor of two newsletters. Parents & Teens is a twice-monthly newsletter geared to help parents connect with their teens. Subscribe at History's 
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prom night choices