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Family Values

Some dread it, some countdown the days. For some, it's a highlight of thirteen years, some another social gathering that's awkward at best. Some will go only if they have a date, others go with friends. It can be a huge deal for some and a shoulder shrug for others. Regardless of opinions, prom stands as an American tradition. Prepping teens for this night, in light of their individuality, will prompt a healthier outcome.

Three "Prom-Types" and Parental Reactions

The Remote: These teens don't appear to have any interest.

Parental Reaction: Give each teen the freedom to be themselves. For some, the whole idea of prom is either ridiculous or a social event they want to escape. Some teens fare better never going than going and feeling left out or miserable. Let teens make the choice to refrain, if they wish. It really is a social event some personalities enjoy more than others. Perhaps, offer an alternative: dinner at a special restaurant and/or movies.

Have Good, Sober Fun

1. There are about 17,031 drunk driving accident deaths in the U.S. each year.
2. There is a drunk driving death every 30 minutes.
3. About 248,000 people are injured in accidents where police reported that alcohol was present.
4. Every day, eight teenagers are killed in the U.S. from drugs and alcohol use while driving.
5. Have your son or daughter sign a Prom Promise. Access a sample at: http://www.sadd.org/contract.htm, or write up one designed by you and your teen.

The Reluctant: These teens want to go, but feel awkward and concerned about the details.

Parental Reaction: Discuss feelings around the event. Lay out, with teen input, the pros and cons of going. Make suggestions to address concerns. Promote group attendance; point out the fun of going with friends versus a single date, which can add pressure. Discuss the outcome if they don't go. Then step back and support their decision within your guidelines. Try not to voice a personal opinion, but respect theirs. They will live with the results and be satisfied if there is not pressure added by parents. They may already be experiencing outward or inward pressure about the decision. Be supportive and a sounding board to help sort through the feelings and pressure (perceived or imagined).

The Raptured: These teens live to be at prom. It was a "must" from the first mention.

Parental Reaction: Give support and set healthy boundaries, including budget and details — dress, dinner, after prom, etc. These are the teens that may need infusing with reality and perhaps, some perspective. They may be disappointed as dreams catapult this night into a movie set with supernatural happenings: hoisting them to popularity or a dance with a secret crush. This night will come and go much like the rest of their high school careers. Whatever that means for them, they can have fun. Attempt to help limit potential disappointment by discussing expectations.

Encourage your prom-goer to make this a night for responsible choices; a time to celebrate with friends the accomplishments of their school years. Celebrate the milestone, but make decisions you will be proud of in twenty years. It is a "tradition," but will not be the most important night of their life, so don't abandon healthy decisions or pin hopes and dreams on its outcome. If your prom-aged one stays home, support them and remind that there are more important evenings in their future.

Elaine Stone, mother of three, lives in Spotsylvania. Write: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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Pouches' Community Corner

St Baldrick’s Foundation began in 2000 over a simple idea – shave a colleague’s beautiful hair while also raising money for kids with cancer. And now this Foundation has funded over $200 million worth of research to cure pediatric
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