Preparing Boys for the Prom

How can we help our son have a successful prom night? He's excited about this event, but I'm afraid he may also be a bit naive, both about the cost and the potential moral pitfalls. Any suggestions for some helpful tips and basic ground rules?

The success of prom night begins long before the tux is put on. You can get things off to a good start by sitting down with your teen and talking about his prom night expectations. This is extremely important. In a situation like this, disappointments and let-downs are usually the result of overblown, unrealistic expectations. So do what you can to help your son put things in perspective. Yes, we realize that the prom is a very “big deal” for many high school seniors. At the same time, we think it’s important for everyone to recognize that it’s not the be-all and end-all of human existence. It’s not going to make or break anybody. When it comes right down to it, it’s just another chance to have some good, healthy fun. And the healthier and more wholesome the fun is, the more enjoyable it will be for everyone concerned.

How can you make sure that the prom is a positive experience for your teen and his date? Here are some other key action steps to think about in advance:

  • Discuss a budget. Life goes on after the prom. So do payments for flowers, photos, rentals, etc. If your son is feeling any pressure to “keep up with the Joneses,” make an intentional effort to relieve him of that burden. Help him plan an evening that will be economical as well as memorable.
  • Establish an itinerary. Where will dinner be? When does it begin and end? Is there an after-prom activity? Who will be in the vehicle? Who will drive? Get him to pin all of these details down. Be as specific as possible. Make sure he communicates the plan clearly to his date’s parents as well. Feel free to verify the information – in other words, to check up on him – with phone calls.
  • Have a heart-to-heart talk about sexual self-control. Your teen should commit to respecting both his own body and his date’s. (Young ladies in particular should be careful about what they wear. Modesty and good taste should be the rule. There’s no reason to create unnecessary temptation.)
  • Provide prayerful support. Let your son know that you’ll be praying for a safe and enjoyable evening. If he has a cell phone, make sure that he carries it with him, and invite him to call “Dad’s All Night Taxi Service” in the event that plans turn sour (for example, a disrespectful date, a driver who chooses to drink, etc.). Teens need to know that mom and dad will be there for them without creating a scene.

For additional advice, feel free to get in touch with Focus on the Family’s Counseling department. Our trained counselors would be more than happy to discuss this subject with you over the phone if you think that might be helpful.


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