Pearly asks: How do I ensure my teenage daughter doesn’t misbehave on prom night?
Hi Pearly –
Well, the easy and awful answer is: You can’t. But the news isn’t as bad as that sounds.
My point is that your daughter is the person she is, the person you’ve raised. By the time one is ready for a prom, boy or girl, they’ve developed a moral code, and have a sense of themselves. Now in your mind, she’ll always be your baby girl, irresponsible and unable to take care of herself. But imagine you just met her this year. What opinion would you have of her then? Is she a complete troublemaker? Does she care about others? Does she eat, drink, sniff, or smoke all sort of illegal things? Does she respect herself and have some boundaries when she’s around her peers?
Well, the fact is, Prom Night does seem important (Handsome says he has lovely memories of his), but the truth is – it’s just another night. She won’t be a different person that night than she was the night before, or the night after. Now does that mean she might not want to do some things she hasn’t done before? No it doesn’t.
And that’s where you come in.
Sometime before Prom night, get some time alone with her. I don’t mean to walk into her room and interrupt a phone call to lecture her – I mean take her out to lunch or dinner, somewhere she loves. Just the two of you. And tell her how proud you are of what she’s accomplished in her life. And ask her if there’s anything she wants to ask you about your prom night (if she doesn’t ask, that’s fine, it might be more than she wants to know just now). And tell her, most importantly, that it will be a beautiful night for her no matter what, that she’ll look great, and have a lot of fun. And that she’s in charge of what she does, or doesn’t do. And that anything she doesn’t want to do, she’ll be able to do at another time.
And if you want to be really great, you can also throw an offer her way: that if she’s in a situation at any time when she’s uncomfortable, that she can call you and you’ll come right out to her. It’s not impossible that she could be with kids who are drinking and driving, or some other activity that scares her, and it’d be great for her to know you’re there.
But my main message to you is, just as I was the same dog before and after I graduated from Obedience School, your daughter is your daughter. There’s still lots you can teach her and help her with, but if she’s a good person today, she’ll be a good person that night.
And truly, the best message you can give her is that you’re proud of all she’s done. That’ll do more to keep her “in line” than any negative warnings you could ever say!
Here’s a wish: that she and her date both spend the evening proud that she’s the most beautiful creature alive!