It’s prom season once again— and for every teenager excitedly choosing her dress, her shoes, his date, his corsage, there’s a set of parents flitting about in the background, also excited, but also a little stressed.
But prom doesn’t have to be a stressful time—not if you and your child are prepared. Here are some tips to remember for that special night.
1. Be excited, but not too excited. This is your child’s prom, not yours.
2. Discuss the budget. You’ve already spent on prom tickets, the gown, the shoes, maybe hair and makeup. How much pocket money will you be giving your child on prom night?
3. Set the curfew. Because prom is a special occasion, you might want to be a little more flexible than usual. Does prom end for your child when the last song plays? Or will you allow him or her to go to the after-party (and, in some cases, the after-after-party)?
4. Discuss transportation arrangements. Who will be driving your child and his/her date to prom? Who will pick them up? If they’re attending an after-party, how will they get there? How will they get home? Is carpooling with another parent an option? Make these decisions before prom night to avoid stress.
5. Discuss your prom rules and limits. What is acceptable behavior and what isn’t? Remind them about your stand on drinking and the importance of staying safe all the time. Have this talk early so it doesn’t dampen the party spirit.
6. Make sure your mobile phones are charged—both yours and your child’s—for easy communication when you need to pick them up. But please don’t call them in the middle of prom.
7. Get to know your child’s date, but do not scare or threaten him—even if you think you’re being funny. This was added to our list by a 16-year-old girl, who recently went to her prom. Her dad “harassed” her prom date, and she was mortified.
8. Do not be stressed. Your child will most likely be feeling nervous, too, so be a comforting and solid presence.
9. Document the night. Take pictures, even videos. These are moments your child will want to look back on and even share with their future children.
10. Have fun. Enjoy this special night.
11. Let go. Be there for the preparations but know when to take a step back and let your child enjoy the party. Don’t skulk around the hotel lobby (unless your child asked you to). Proms are highly supervised, anyway. You can go out for a nice dinner (and celebrate!) and just come back when it’s time to pick up your child.
12. Try not to cry.