The prom: From a parent’s perspective

The Prom. Whereas the child can’t wait for the prom, and looks forward to it as being one of the greatest days in their lives, the parent in many cases hates to see that day come and is glad when it’s all over.

Why? Because of the bitter sweet knowledge that your child will be leaving you for college or going out on their own, but the real reason is the cost.


When the parent is thinking “what college are you going to and how will it be paid for?” the kid cannot think beyond, The Prom. While the parent is trying to get things together for college, such as cost, quality of education, who provides what, SAT tests, what kinds of scholarships, grants and loans are available and are these loans subsidized or unsubsidized, the child very seldom has time to talk to anyone because they are caught up in something far more important, The Prom. They have to get the opinion of their friends on the hundreds of dresses they are looking at online, and at the malls while making sure they don’t show up with the same dresses. Oh my God, that would be a disaster.


Cost, well that’s no problem to the child until they present it to the parents and they respond “you need to get a job,” or “if I pay that for a dress you’re going to wear one time then you can forget about college.” Then the price comes down to a somewhat reasonable amount. After weeks or sometimes months, the dress is finally selected, and you think it’s over, but not yet. Now comes’ the shoes, the purse, and then the jewelry. Oh, I forgot the pedicure, fingernails and then the limousine. Your car is not good enough. Wait one minute, I forgot the most important thing of all, the hair. Now this must be done the day before or the day of and may take all day.


The boys have it so much easier. Yes, they have to wait until the girl decides what color she’s going to wear, yes then they have to wait until she selects a dress because that color could change if she can’t find anything she likes in that color or anything within the family budget. But once she makes her decision, now you only have to find a tuxedo and shoes with the proper colors and apparently there’s a lot of variety today. Then once the prom is over, just take it back and move on with your life. The girl is stuck with a dress that she will never wear again. Maybe she should consider wearing it at her wedding? Just kidding.

Picking or finding a date for the prom. How many of us even had a steady girl or boy in high school? How many of us even remember who we went to the prom with? So how do you get a date? Most of us just picked someone, or we kept asking until somebody said yes. Well most of the kids today are not stressing out over dates, they are going alone, and having a great time. Why miss The Prom because you don’t have a date. When you get there you know everyone, and if most of the people are single then everyone is going to have a great time. And parents don’t have to worry about being a grandparent 9 months later. Think about it, party, after party, (prom, after prom) hotel suite, hormones out of control. What does that add up to? Many parents have a problem with their child going alone or with other girls or boys. Let these kids go solo, and have a great time. Girls hanging with girls and the fellows hanging together is a good thing; they will mix it up at the prom, as long as they are not mixing it up after the prom which leads to college having to be put on hold for baby supplies.


But when it’s all said and done, even though you know the money would have been better spent on books for college, or food for college or something for college, you think about how much you enjoyed your prom, then you realize that this is a once in a lifetime event. Something your child will always remember for the rest of their life. Sure college is great, a great profession is great, but at that moment, at that time, the most important thing in ones’ life is graduating from high school, which it felt like would never happen, and The Prom is the validation, sometimes, even more so than the graduation ceremony itself.

So congratulations to all the high school graduates, for all your accomplishments to this point, with the most important accomplishment being graduating, which is no easy task in today’s world of drop outs. Now it’s time to move into that next phase of your life, which is generally college, trade school or a job, but you will always be able to look back with a certain amount of pride and joy on, The Prom.


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