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Prom peer pressure

As if being a high schooler isn’t tough enough, the pressures of prom can weigh heavily on your teen. Here are some tips on how to talk about what’s expected of her, some of the situations she may find herself in, and how you can be there to help your teenager deal with prom peer pressure.

Teen couple at prom

Pep talk

Although prom night is filled with anticipation of fun, your teen may be feeling anxious about the big night, too. If your teenager is without a date, worried about keeping up with his friends, or concerned with sex expectations, parents are probably the last people with whom he wants to discuss this.

When the pre-prom pep talk is approached strategically, the conversation can benefit both parents and teens. According to Teen Communication Expert Josh Shipp, the best way to approach your teen about prom is to state the obvious and follow up with some advice.

For example, Shipp suggests you open with a conversation starter such as, “Honey, let’s get this over with and have the awkward parent/child prom talk. I want you to have a good time and be safe. If you find yourself in a situation you know you shouldn’t be in, call me and I’ll come get you. NO QUESTIONS ASKED.”

Here are some other prom concerns with which your teen may be grappling:


Whether the Bank-of-Mom-and-Dad is funding this night of fun, or your teen is using his part-time paycheck, keeping up with his classmates may feel mandatory. Giving your prom-goer a budget will keep spending in check.

If your teen gives you a hard time about the currency cap, here are some creative ways to maximize results without tapping out her cash flow:

  • Share a limo with friends.
  • Rent a tux that is a designer look-alike.
  • Spend less on the dress and let the accessories take center stage.
  • Opt for the lesser-known brand of heels.
  • Pick up a larger single-flower boutonniere and corsage.


Yes, prom night is known for teen drinking, but this doesn’t necessarily mean your teen is going to drink. Should she find herself in a situation where the pressure to join in is in full force, or if she chooses to partake in the partying, here are a few tips to share with her:

  • Carry around a cup with a drink without drinking it to avoid pressure from friends.
  • Never accept an open drink; you never know what may be lurking in it.
  • If you end up drinking, have an, “at any time, from anywhere” ride policy.
  • Never get behind the wheel if you have had even the least bit of alcohol.
  • Never get into a vehicle where the person behind the wheel has been drinking.


For decades, “prom night” has been virtually synonymous with “sex.” Whether she’s going to an after party or staying at an all-nighter with friends, let your teen know that she does not have to give in to “sexpectations.” Offer these tips to help her avoid giving in to peer pressure during the post-prom scene:

  • Be up front; do not let your prom date assume that you’re on the same page.
  • Let your friends know you’re not ready for that big step, and ask them to stick with you.
  • Do not put yourself in a situation where too much privacy is possible, such as a hotel room.
  • Use your curfew as an excuse to get out of an uncomfortable situation.

After you lay out the ground rules, offer advice, and make it through curfew negotiations, remember to tell them to have fun. It’s prom night!

More ways to communicate with your teen

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