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How do you Handle Your Teen's Demands Regarding Senior Prom?

Moms Council member Ziona Friedlander wonders how you handle the emotional drama of prom night.

Moms Talk is a weekly feature on Agoura Hills Patch, part of an initiative to reach out to moms and families. We invite you and your circle of friends to help build a community of support for mothers and their families right here in Agoura Hills.

Each week in Moms Talk, our council of smart moms will take your questions, and share stories and solutions. Moms, dads, grandparents and the diverse families who make up our community will have a new resource for questions about the thousands of issues that arise while raising children.

Today's Topic: Handling the emotional ordeal surrounding prom

This week's question comes from Ziona Friedlander, the mother of a daughter, 22, and a son, 17.

As prom season approaches, those of us who have seniors find ourselves dealing with a variety of issues relating to peer pressure, expense and trust in our children.

When my daughter was a senior in high school, we were prepared to spring for a limo, a gown, the works. We believed, and still do, that senior prom is the culminating celebration of one's high school experience and should be a memorable night.

What we were not prepared for was the pressure from my daughter's peers, and many of their parents, to rent hotel rooms for the kids, to let them go to "after parties," to let the limo driver take the kids wherever they wanted to go, and to spend just enough time at the prom to take pictures and then leave.

We felt the situation quickly getting out of control, so we arranged for the limo and told our daughter that seats in that limo were available on a first-come-first-served basis. We made it clear that the limo would take them to dinner, then to prom, and right back home after the event. Our daughter was afraid that no one would want to be in her group because of these "restrictions." Imagine her surprise when one by one the limo reached maximum capacity with kids who wanted a safe, predictable evening.

We struggled with how much freedom to give our child and how to help her deal with the negative pressure that she got from other teens. Ultimately, we wanted to keep her safe yet not "ruin" her prom experience.

Our son is now a senior and we're bracing ourselves for another round of soul-searching. How do other parents handle this kind of situation?

Charlene Ross April 13, 2011 at 08:33 PM
Wow! That is a toughie, I'm still 4 years away from prom (I know - I'm told the high school years will be the fastest 4 years of my life!) so I don't know if I'll be much help. I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing that happened with your daughter happens with your son. In the first place, if he has a date, I'm sure the girl's parents will be more than thrilled that she is not expected to go to a hotel room, etc. Yeah, we don't want our kids to be "social outcasts" but that doesn't mean we give in where it's importatnt. My son already thinks we're super strict because we say not to R rated movies (and a lot of PG-13 movies too) and don't stock the house with junk food like "all his friends." And I've been told that our video games aren't cool enough either. (Translation - not rated M!) Stand your ground Ziona - you know that in the long run you'll be glad you did... I'm willing to bet your son will be too. (You know... one day!)
Ziona Friedlander April 14, 2011 at 12:26 AM
Charlene, you are right - if we stand behind what we know in our hearts to be in the best interest of our child, ultimately everyone will be glad for that. We saw that with our daughter. The tough part is remembering that when you are in that difficult moment! It's like being on a diet and convincing yourself that your willpower is awesome, until you're confronted by the chocolate chip cookie! Thanks for your feedback and your encouragement.
Mary Ahern April 14, 2011 at 12:38 AM
I find it interesting that the title of this article is how to handle our kids' "demands' with respect to prom. Last I looked, the only one with the right to demand anything in my home was me.
Ziona Friedlander April 14, 2011 at 12:40 AM
You make a good point, Mary, though anyone who's raised teenagers knows that doesn't stop them from demanding things!
Mary Ahern April 27, 2011 at 10:31 PM
True enough. I find selective hearing works well . . . :-)

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