It’s that time of year again when girls are on the hunt for that showstopper dress and matching shoes, the perfect hairstyle to accentuate their best features and a flawless make-up application to tie it all together.
Apart from her future wedding day, and perhaps her Sweet Sixteenth birthday, there isn’t an event in a girl’s life more highly anticipated than prom.
If you think it’s just about saying “yes to the dress,” think again!
Who’s Pressuring Whom?
You’ve often heard me talk about how things have changed over the 15 years that I’ve been speaking to teens. Well, this is one of those areas.
We’ve always believed the guy is the one who would pressure the girl to have sex on prom night.
Not anymore! Check out what this young man wrote me:
“My friend is asking me constantly to take her virginity on prom night. I love her, but I would feel guilty knowing if I do she would feel guilty seeing how she used to say she wanted to wait till marriage. Sad thing is that I persuaded her to think another way, talk about irony, right? Another factor that I find more messed up is that other females ask me to take theirs as well. Being a young man, I know I’ll make the right decision.”
I don’t know for the life of me when prom became the expiration date for when a girl loses her virginity. Unfortunately, it’s an issue that I continue to see play out with students.
Like the young man who approached me after the second day of my class to ask for advice. He was a junior and dating a girl who was a sophomore.
When he and his girlfriend first started dating, his girlfriend told him she wanted to wait until she was married to have sex. He was perfectly fine with waiting and said he even respected her because of her standards.
He told me the problem arose when his girlfriend approached him recently and asked if he planned to take her to the prom if they were still dating.
When he said yes, she told him that she changed her mind about having sex.
Instead of waiting until her wedding night, she wanted to have sex on prom night.
He said he lost all respect for her because of her new “standard,” and he wasn’t sure what to do about it.
I told him that I give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Maybe his girlfriend didn’t have the information that he now had.
I encouraged him to share with his girlfriend what he learned in class and see if that influenced her decision.
I also told him that if she still wanted to have sex on prom night, maybe they just weren’t right for each other.
I can imagine that this young lady probably thought her boyfriend would be happy about her change of heart.
In fact, from my experience that may have been the only reason she decided to change her mind—to make him happy.
Little did she know that instead of making him happy, she made him lose respect for her.
Prom Prep to Help Your Daughter Become Pressure Proof
Prom season is an exciting time for teen girls (and guys). They should have fun and enjoy making memories.
But losing their virginity, whether it’s to please their prom dates or meet some make-believe “expiration date,” is NOT a memory worthy of making.
And I know you want more for your daughter.
Use the following Prom-Prep tips to help your daughter become Pressure Proof:
1. Help her develop the proper perspective. Proms today are far more elaborate than many of us remember. Guys go to great lengths to create the perfect prom “proposal,” while girls spend hundreds of dollars on dresses fit for a pageant queen. Whether it’s the elaborate attire or the luxury cars teens rent to chauffeur themselves around, today’s prom experience rivals that of a small wedding. It’s no wonder girls feel prom is the appropriate time to lose their virginities and have no qualms about pressuring their dates to make it happen. But if you change the narrative surrounding prom, you can help change your daughter’s perspective. Remind her that her prom night is NOT the same as her future wedding night. Not. even. close!
2. Give her a sneak peek. A couple of weeks ago, I talked about the importance of sharing your experiences with your daughter. Prom is the perfect opportunity to do just that. You can give your daughter an idea of what to expect/look out for based on your own prom story. Did you feel it was your responsibility to make your prom night “special?” If so, talk about why you felt that way, and how you handled it. Again, no need to provide private details. Your daughter benefits just from hearing your prom regrets or relief.
3. Encourage her to take the pledge. Every year, parents ask their teens to take a “Prom Promise” pledge that they won’t use alcohol or drugs during their prom night. Thankfully, thousands of teens across the country take and honor their pledge, making their parents proud. But I say encourage your daughter to take her “Prom Promise” a step further. Remind her of what she stands to gain by avoiding sex in addition to alcohol and drugs–memories to last a lifetime with absolutely no regrets (except for maybe the 4 inch heels)!
Has your daughter attended prom? If so, what are some of your best prom-prep tips you can share with other parents? Please feel free to respond in the comments section below.
P.S. Check out 7 Secrets Guys Will Never Tell You for more in-depth tips to help prepare your daughter, not only for prom, but to successfully navigate love, sex, and relationships throughout her teen years to adulthood.