By Samantha Zabell
Prom seems like the perfect ending to the arduous school year. The perfect dress, the perfect date, and the luxurious limo are high-priority essentials. Even the word prom represents something special, something that should be prioritized and considered carefully.
Prom is a highlight of high school. For parents and teens alike, prom holds high expectations with visions of the ideal night. Teenage girls spend hours finding the perfect dress and praying that no one else bought the same one. (Nothing is more horrifying than stepping into the dance and seeing someone else in your dress.) The months before prom are crucial to most teens. It is essential to get a date and coordinate what group you will be with. Teens want to enjoy themselves, be with their friends, and just have a good time. The preparation is as much fun as the actual night.
Then, there is the other side of prom. Teens acknowledge prom’s infamy for drinking and partying. When asked, they confirm that the only thing parents should actually worry about is drinking and driving. Parents give the speech, school gives the speech, and health class gives the speech.
Teens are well aware of the problem, and most are conscious of their decisions. With some, the threat of not being able to graduate keeps them in line; others feel like they can trust themselves or that alcohol would only ruin such a special night. Some teens only increase their effort in breaking the ever-increasing limitations and restrictions. For them, prom is the perfect night to implement such rebellion. After all the warnings, some teens get it and some just don’t.
For many, however, the warnings and threats are not even necessary. After 18 years of advice, most teens have absorbed the message. They have spent years to build trust: Why risk it for one night? For a teen with a history of getting into problems, parents may need to worry. But, if there has been no previous reason to distrust a teen’s judgment, why should one night change that?
It’s important to be aware of your teen’s social plans for the night (including transportation), but it’s also important to remember that if you’ve raised your teen to be responsible, one night isn’t likely to change that. In fact, teens feel stereotyped. Movies and television often exaggerate prom scenarios about teens getting wasted and booking hotel rooms after the dance. In reality, most teens go directly from prom to after-prom and would not risk being drunk around their teachers. For many, the night is over with after-prom.
In the end, parents should know that while there is some merit to their worries, most teens will honor their parents’ wishes for them to be responsible on prom night.
Prom is a night for teens to have fun; a night for teens to remember. When parents remind their teens that they trust them and want them to be safe, most teens will not take advantage. If you trust your teen, your teen will trust their intuition and make the right decisions on prom night.
To this end, the information below was gathered in an informal survey of high school students.
Do you plan to listen to your parents warnings about drinking?
How do you feel about this kind of behavior on prom night?
Prom is a night to have fun: 2
Do whatever you choose, just don’t drive: 3
Drinking is unnecessary, especially with so many teachers around: 10
Do you think parents are too overprotective on prom night?
No, they have a right to worry: 3
A little, they should trust us more: 10
Yes, they need to let us have fun!: 2
Do you feel that prom has become stereotyped for bad behavior?
Yes, but it sometimes lives up to it: 4
Yes, and it’s unfair: 11
No, I don’t feel that prom has been stereotyped: 0
Click here to read one mom’s take on prom.