How to Make the Most of Prom Time: A Guide for Parents

Teenage boys and girls (15-18) wearing formal clothes, posing
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The prom can an opportunity for your teen to create lifelong high school memories. With your support, your teen can have a good time at the prom, while also staying safe.

Establish Expectations About the Budget

Most surveys show parents are spending an average of $900 on the prom. So it's important to talk to your teen early on about your budget.

Just because other teens are riding to the prom in a limo and wearing designer gowns, doesn't mean you have to fork over that kind of cash.

Tell your teen about your prom budget will in advance of prom night. Encourage her to kick in her money if she wants to spend more. 

Setting the Rules and Limits for Prom Night

While the night of the prom is a special occasion and you might want to bend a few rules–like giving a later curfew–it's important to revisit your expectation.

There are several pre-prom conversations you should have with your teen about safety concerns, rules, and peer pressure. Make sure your teen knows what you expect from him and explain the consequences in advance.  

Helping Out at the Prom 

Students usually plan the prom themselves. There is a teacher adviser who knows the routine or has been given all of the information.

If your teen is on the committee, there may be opportunities for you to pitch in and help as well. Sometimes, parents are invited to help with fundraisers or decorating.

Some schools invite parents to chaperone the prom as well.

Before you volunteer, talk to your teen about how she'd feel about you being at the prom. 

If you decide to chaperone, make your expectations clear. Listen to any concerns she might have about you being there and don't embarrass her on purpose. 

Getting Ready for the Prom

There's a good chance  your teen won't know what to expect if it's her first prom.

Talk about the steps she can take to get ready.

Make sure prom day goes as smoothly as possible. Have a dress rehearsal a few days ahead of time so you aren't making last minute alterations.

Take plenty of pictures too. Just make sure you get permission from other teens' parents before posting photos on social media. 

Preventing Potential Prom Problems

Maintaining open communication with your teen is key to preventing prom problems. Make sure your teen knows he can call you for a ride home if he finds himself in any uncomfortable situations.

It's important to know your teen's plans for the evening. Find out where he's going and who he is going to be with before the prom. 

And discuss your expectations for after the prom as well. And discuss what you expect your teen to do if he chooses to leave the prom early. 

Holding these conversations can prevent a lot of problems before they start. Additionally, they'll ensure your teen has a fun, but safe prom experience.


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