Wednesday’s Parent: Surviving your teen’s prom

Gold star award for parents surviving their teen's prom. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Gold star award for parents surviving their teen’s prom. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

I think there should be award ceremonies for parenting. One of the featured categories should be Prom. At the very least, gold stars should be handed out.

How parents deal with this high school rite of passage runs the gamut of feelings from worry to excitement. Teen expectations are also running at an all time high.

I survived my kids’ proms and you will survive this year’s prom season, too. Suzanne and I gave our insights about partying and the college-bound teen but prom presets some unique issues. I did a quick web search and found several suggestions for parents and students. Many tips revolve around prom safety. I’m sharing 10 of my favorites:

1. Trust your parenting from Teens  Prom is a way for your child to test the good decision-making skills and values you have taught. it is also a time for parents to step up their game if they are hosting or double-check their teen’s plans if they aren’t.

2. Have a plan from When you consider consequences should your child disregard or defy your limits and expectations, think like a business transaction rather than emotionally.

3. Initiate the conversation from Prom provides a new venue to revisit conversations about drinking, drugs, driving, sex and other risky behaviors a few days prior to the party. Here the emphasis is on having fun and creating wonderful memories while keeping safe.

4. Provide perspective from San Diego Family Magazine Teens have a bright future of adult learning and working within reach. Bad behavior may result in more than parental ire. High schools may suspend or expel and colleges may revoke acceptance offers for illegal behavior. Definitely not a good start towards independence.

5. Communicate with others from SADD It’s good to speak with other parents and get info from the school, prom venue and driving arrangements to confirm prom plans and learn the rules.

6. Help with the prep from CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Sunburns from last-minute tanning attempts, dehydration from exercise binges to get in shape, illness from crash dieting, skin and other allergic reactions from cosmetics/dyes, and blisters from ill-fitting shoes may be easily avoided with proper planning and trial runs of products being used for prom.

7. Budget in advance from me Call me crazy but I couldn’t see why families go so financially crazy with college around the corner. As a parent/student team, we brainstormed possible expenses and ways to hold down costs to take advantage of sales, discounts and options. My children did the same with their friends so we were also able to cost share certain expenses.

8. Charge the phone from Cook Children’s Health Care System Make sure your teen’s phone is charged when he/she leaves. Decide on a code-word or phrase to use to prevent teen embarrassment if a call must be placed.

9. Take the picture and don’t cry from CommonHealth They look so grown-up, don’t they? Hold back the tears and prolonged good-byes and take a picture to celebrate your child’s growing independence. Years later, most kids will want this prom remembrance showing off freshly pressed and carefully planned attire no matter how much future styles change. You will want it, too.

10. Continue the conversation from Nassau County Security Police Information Network Pre-plan, role play, and set guidelines and curfews. Most importantly, be their back-up. If plans change, teens should know to call with revisions and if they need a ride home.

Read Suzanne’s post: Oh the conversations you should have (before Prom)


Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from to and vice versa.

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