5 Tips for a Successful Prom
by Elyse Dombrowski
It’s in the details.
Prom is a time for celebration and excitement. For your teen, that means finding a dress or a tux, a date, and getting ready for the big dance, however, those things do not just come together on all on their own. Talk to your teen about the plans they have, and how they anticipate putting them all together, there may be small details that they are not aware of, or have never had to address before this time. Simply engage your teen in a conversation regarding their plans and what they need to do in order to bring all the moving pieces together. Have they ordered the corsage or boutonniere? Arranged transportation to and from the dance? Or made their dinner reservations in advance to guarantee that their group will be able to eat at the restaurant of their choice, as well as have enough time to do so before the dance? All of these questions are a good place to start and helps your teen develop a sense of responsibility while improving their organizational skills at the same time!
Budget, budget, budget.
Talk to your child before the big day arrives, and let them know how much you are willing to spend on their outfit. This includes the dress or tuxedo, the flowers, dinner, and all of the little accessories that go with completing the outfit (jewelry, shoes, etc.). If your teen wants a more expensive outfit, then let them know that will be an expense they must cover on their own. Similarly, for other homecoming costs, such as transportation, the dinner, and after-party plans, let your teen know the budget for those expenses as well. Expenses can add up quickly, so inform your teen of your budget well in advance so they know what to expect and can plan accordingly.
Communicate rules and expectations.
Just as you discussed the budget in advance, make sure you also address what you expect from your teen when they are out. Do you know who your teen will be attending the dance with? Do you know what their plans are for after the dance? Are they able to attend an after-party, and if so, do you know where they will be going and whether or not another adult will be present? Be sure to ask your teen to provide you with the details and information before prom arrives, and to check in with you should their plans change throughout the course of the night. Curfew is another important piece to discuss in advance and whether or not it will be extended for the evening. Ensure your teen that you feel confident in their ability to stick to the plans you have discussed, and trust them to make decisions accordingly.
Safety is always a big concern for parents when it comes to prom, especially when there are after-party plans. Many schools offer after-party plans that the students can take part in, which provide fun, food, and adult supervision. Still, there are teens that choose to make their own plans after the dance, typically at a friend’s house. Talk to your teen about drinking or using substances and keep a realistic mindset when discussing the presence of said substances. While you should stress that you prefer your teen do not use any illegal substances, set some realistic guidelines and non-negotiable rules with them. This may include no drinking and driving, no binge drinking, and no leaving the after-party. Younger teens may need different rules, such as setting a curfew and ensuring that adult supervision will be present. Encourage your teen to call you, without getting in trouble, if they need help or do not want to be at the party anymore. Keeping the lines of communication open is the key here.
As a parent, you can remember the thrill and joy of prom. Going to the dance is such a great time, and will be a time your teen remembers forever. So get excited for them! Although knowing what to expect and how to plan is half the battle, and important, don’t forget to make this time as enjoyable as possible for them. Help them find the right dress, document the day of the dance with pictures of them getting ready and laughing with friends, and wish them the best time before they head out. While they are out, plan a fun evening for yourself! Plan a date night, watch a movie, or spend time with friends. Just because prom is for your teen does not mean you cannot have fun too!