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Moms Q&A: Prom Season

This week our Mom's council members talk about the upcoming prom season

Prom is about a month away, and now's the time for students and parents to be making plans for that special dress, tuxedo or limousine rental for the big night.

One of the most special events for high school students can also be an expensive, emotional time for parents and students alike.

So this week, our Kent Patch Moms Council members offer their thoughts on making the night a special — and safe — one for everyone.

Debra-Lynn Hook April 20, 2011 at 08:12 PM
In my opinion, prom safety begins when your child is very young,when you establish trust, respect and two-way communication as the building blocks of your relationship together. My children are 22, 18 and 14. The older two have been to 10 dances collectively. I set a few ground rules for the first couple of parties, which they hated at first because "nobody else was calling parents to make sure there was adult supervision, etc." But in fact everybody was and they got used to my few rules: No leaving the school grounds during the prom. I had to know where they were going for the after-party, which had to have adults on site. I called the parents if I didn’t already know who they were. My child had to call me once he or she got to the after-party. If there was a sleepover, boys had to be in one room, girls in another. They already knew what I thought alcohol. They also knew the outside consequences: They were athletes and knew what could happen if they ended up at a party where there was alcohol. Once the ground rules were established, once they'd been to a couple of these dances, I didn't keep saying the same things over and over. By this time, they hard earned my trust. Not repeating to them over and over the same rules that they had never broken suggested that I trusted them, which came back to me. I'd simply say "You know what we expect. AND you know what you expect of yourselves."
Michelle Sahr April 20, 2011 at 09:02 PM
Ok, my oldest is 14, so I admit to not giving this much thought at this point in the game. I love your ground rules Debra-Lynn (except the sleepover.. I think I would say no to that one). I intend on continuing to instill in my children that they will have to earn my trust. They will also earn privileges by proving both trustworthy and responsible. If a child is not trustworthy, then they will have fewer privileges (perhaps nixing the after prom events for example). I give a priority to clearly communicating expectations and following through on any rules established. If we as parents are consistent about following through on consequences, then our children will be clear in their own decisions. They may not always make the correct decision, but they will understand clearly that there is a consequence. This in itself, I believe, will help directly them to more responsible decisions. After all, by the time they reach Prom night, they better be making mostly responsible decisions. I guess our time for instilling that is about up at that point.
Michelle Sahr April 20, 2011 at 09:04 PM
Oops .. correction "will help direct them to more responsible decisions."
Debra-Lynn Hook April 21, 2011 at 12:29 AM
This is what I mean about mutual trust and respect, Michelle. I never thought I'd agree to the co=ed sleepover -- until I got there. This was after 20 years of parenting. These were trustworthy kids. They made their case. I spoke with them at length. I spoke with the parents in charge. I researched this online, talked to other parents and psychologists and ultimately made my call. I like what you're saying about decisions and consequences. In the end, that's the lesson.
Michelle Sahr April 21, 2011 at 03:31 PM
I hear you Debra-Lynn. My kids are still young, though my oldest is entering high school. I'm not ready for that yet. Maybe later on I will make the same choice. Maybe not. Who knows.
demo rat April 21, 2011 at 07:22 PM
Is it just my opinion, or are today's parents much more protective or possibly less trustworthy of their kids than the previous generation? When I went to prom in 1984, all that my parents said to me was to "enjoy the evening and have fun". They trusted me. I just read a book called "Free Range Kids" by Lenore Skenazy and it addresses this exact issue, with much humor. I'd recommend it to all Kent moms (and dads).

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