A report this week from Visa reveals that high school kids today spend a whopping $324 on average on "promposals." If you're not familiar with the term, a promposal is basically an elaborate ask to prom. It doesn't include the total cost of the prom. It doesn't even guarantee you a date. It's $324 spent just asking someone to spend a sequin-filled night dancing in the high school gym.
Talk about pressure. But beyond that, the money and the big question of what if someone says no after all that (ouch!), is how these over-the-top productions worry me for our children's futures and how we're setting them up for the most disappointing adulthoods of all time. They are but yet another way we're blowing up every single step of childhood into grand, outrageous affairs and leaving nothing new and exciting for the future.
The expectations for each milestone of children's lives continue to grow as does the pressure financially. These days kindergarteners take limos to see their first concerts. Junior high girls get manicures, pedicures and professional makeup done for school dances. Birthday parties and bar and bat mitzvahs are so elaborate they require party planners. What's left for adulthood? How will their real proposals and weddings and other big life events possibly live up to these standards?
My engagement proposal was pretty much free beyond the ring, and I was thrilled to get my first manicure in my early 20s with my own paycheck. The first limo ride I took? My wedding night. How anticlimactic if I'd been doing those things since kindergarten.
We all want to make our kids' childhoods magical, but there's a point where too much too soon makes magic obsolete. Standards this high by the time they graduate high school set them up for a lifetime of disappointment and unmet expectations unless parents intend to follow them through life upping the game for them. Why not slow down and save some of the good stuff for adulthood? Childhood even at its simplest is pretty amazing and doesn't need all the grandiose help.
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