Your girl has been invited to the prom. It’s a great moment in her life; she dreamed of being a princess since she was little and she is certain this is the chance. You on the other hand, knowing everything that can happen on prom night have a bucket load of misgivings.
As you go dress shopping you find yourself silently praying, please don’t pick out the plunging neckline or the so tight dress it inhibits breathing. The last thing you want is the dressing room battle. Then negotiating the terms for the night, what friends she will be going with, how she gets there, where exactly does she go, and how long does she stay. That minefield is huge.
The boy that asked her, do you know him, his parents, or his expectations? Suddenly your imagination is out of control. You know everything that can go wrong at a prom will and your daughter will be smack dab in the middle of it. Your next logical step is to ground that girl until she is 25.
But don’t mom. This is a time of sanity. Before you shop, before you ask all the questions about the night making the appropriate rules talk to your girl. Not about the prom but about how much you treasure her, remind her how amazing she is. Make sure she remembers she should be valued and respected.
Then gently remind her marketing is everything, like a car. How an automobile is marketed will be how it is driven. Are you a Mercedes that has leather seats you treat with care and only drive on well-paved streets? Or are you the off road vehicle that can be driven over rocks and run through the mud? Tell your girl she absolutely is the Mercedes and wants to look like one. When she does it automatically establishes the rules on where she can be taken. Dress like you’re willing to go somewhere you’ll be expected to.
After that conversation go shopping. Moms, know you won’t win all the battles, there will still be some even with the car talk. Choose those that matter. You don’t want to create defiance on this special night because if she finds she needs you - her pride won’t let her call. Even if prom night leads somewhere you don’t want her to go, be the mom she can call, the mom she knows will love her in her good choices and will love her equally if she makes bad ones.
As you discuss the rules, make her your decision making partner this will give her ownership in what is to happen that important night, respecting her input. Explain why you are making rules in the first place – to keep her safe, to protect her and to help her protect herself. Then dress her up, take the pictures, load her in the car, wave, and pray.
Let me put your mind at rest everything you taught her for the last 16 years (not just your brilliant auto analogy) will be remembered. She has an amazing chance of getting through the night not just unscathed but with a lot of fun. The night will be great, the memories treasured and she’ll come home with the details that you will be so glad she wants to share.
Darlene Brock, the author of Help Wanted: Moms Raising Daughters (OakTara/The Grit and Grace Project, 2011) is a motivated self-starter who, while raising her two daughters, found time to produce award-winning music videos, manage recording artists, promote concerts throughout the US, and serve as the Chief Operating Officer of ForeFront Records. Yet, when reviewing her varied accomplishments and successful career, she proclaims her most important and fulfilling job is Mom. For more about The Grit and Grace Project, OakTara and www.facebook.com/DarleneBrockAuthor.