Fredericksburg Parent

May 2013

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family values Engaging in Prom Conversation Teen with Your by elaine stone 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 1 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. 28 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • May 2013 2 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).

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