Should you chaperone your teen's prom?
Senior prom is a high school highlight that most teens anxiously anticipate for most of their teenage years. Like most parents, you want to be a part of every milestone in your youngster's life, but when it comes to going to the prom, should you let your teen have this moment to himself or should you volunteer to be a prom chaperone? From evaluating your relationship with your teen to being honest about why you want to be there, here's how to make the big decision.
Evaluate your relationship with your child
"Each child is unique," offers Denaye Barahona, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Behavior Analyst and owner of parent consulting firm bumble+bliss. When determining how your presence at the prom will affect your relationship with your teen, "Take a look at recent interactions you have had: Does your child invite you to be a part of activities with friends or do they run the other way when they see you coming?"
Don't take it personally if the latter is true. Barahona assures that it is common for teenagers at this stage. "Some children may be mortified of the thought of having a parent at prom, others may hardly notice you are around."
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Weigh the pros and cons of chaperoning the senior prom
A benefit of stepping up to prom chaperone duties is that you'll be participating in one of the most important nights in your teen's high school career. You will also have peace of mind knowing your teen is safe under your own supervision.
However, your teen may have feelings of resentment about your attendance at his senior prom. And there's always the possibility that other parents may expect you to "spy" on their children.
Discuss being a prom chaperone with your teen
Approach your teen with your desire to lend a hand at his prom and see how he feels about the idea. "Prom is considered a "right of passage" for most teens and as they prepare to finish high school, it is important to show your trust and respect for this stage in their life," advises Barahona. "Chaperoning prom is something that should be approached with special care and consideration."
Is your teen hesitant about mom and dad hanging around his senior prom? Discuss options for volunteering. Helping out doesn't mean you have to go to the prom during the event.
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Be honest about why you want to be there
Going to the prom to relive your own senior prom memories is a red flag when deciding whether to be a prom chaperone at your teen's prom. However, when your need to go to the prom stems from trust issues with your teen, consider asking an aunt or trusted adult to attend in your place.
So, should you chaperone your teen's prom? Ultimately, the decision to go to the prom as a prom chaperone should be made in partnership with your teen. Although it may seem like your little guy's youth has flashed by, when your teen shows resistance to the idea of his parents crashing his senior prom, respect his feelings and know that there will be other milestones in which you can be front and center.