PROM NIGHT COULD BE POSITIVE EXPERIENCE FOR TEEN GIRL
FOCUS ON THE FAMILY with Jim Daly and Dr. Juli Slattery
Q: My daughter, a junior, is looking forward to going to her high school prom in a few weeks. But I’m worried about the hedonistic atmosphere. What’s your perspective on this?
Jim: There are a number of good reasons to be concerned about what goes on during and after a high school prom — everything from immodest dress and dancing to sexual activity to drug and alcohol abuse. It can be a real challenge to guide your teen wisely through this minefield.
You can defuse some of the danger by simply asking your daughter about her plans and expectations. Why does she want to go so badly? What does she expect to happen when she gets there?
The list of bad reasons for going to prom is considerable — and yet most of them are promoted in teen magazines. They include things like finding a “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” and hooking up, or simply impressing others with clothes and limousines that come with hefty price tags.
But there can be positive reasons for attending prom, too. Your daughter might be allowed to take part in this event as a reward for hard work, personal integrity or academic achievement. She can be encouraged to see it as a chance to deepen strong friendships in a group setting. In fact, going with a group of friends — rather than with an exclusive “date” — can be a great way for your daughter and her pals to keep one another accountable in the face of prom’s temptations.
Gaining a sense of your daughter’s intentions for prom night can either confirm your anxieties or bolster your confidence. Either way, you’ll have more solid information on which to base your decision. If you choose to let her attend, you can enhance the experience by getting excited about it with her. If, on the other hand, this process of investigation leaves you feeling uncomfortable about prom night, you can explore alternative activities together — many of which are far less expensive!
**(Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family, host of the Focus on the Family radio program, and a husband and father of two.
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