Modern prom rules: Are they different from when we went?

Parenting expert and  Huffington Post contributor Erika Katz (bondingoverbeauty.com) has put together her top safety tips for prom night. Here’s what she sent me:

Get the phone numbers of your child’s prom date and at least 5 friends so you can reach someone. Inform your child, you expect them to answer their cell phones and texts should you call them.

Give Your Kids a Curfew – There is nothing your kids can do after 2 a.m., that they can’t do before 2 a.m.  Its not a trust issue, it’s a safety issue.  Do you really want your kids roaming around after 2 a.m.?

Remind your child that everyone has a camera. With cameras hidden everywhere, it is so important your child realizes not to behave in public in a way that might cause them shame if it ended up on YouTube.

Colleges can take away what they have offered. A college acceptance can be revoked for illegal behavior and for getting expelled from high school. Prom night is not Vegas. What happens on Prom night could jeopardize their future.

No. 2 is a no brainer on the curfew but I think No. 1, 3 and 4 are good ones.

I think No. 4 is good for basically all of spring quarter of high school. Kids just don’t think that a school prank could end up being a felony and not only get them thrown out of college but put into jail.

I would totally steal the line “Prom night is not Vegas.”

And I think it’s also good to remind them to think about what they are purposefully posting to Facebook or their Flickr or Tumblr accounts. They need to know colleges and future employers are looking.

What are your modern prom rules? What should parents think about that’s different from their prom? Is having sex and drinking/driving still parents’ main concerns on prom night or are there different pressing issues now? (I think I want to ask my former babysitter who went to prom two years ago to write something on this. Hmm….That smell of smoke is my mind working.)

57 comments Add your comment

smell of smoke?

April 13th, 2012
1:37 am

I’ve defended you in the past, but really, your mind working? You cut and pasted the article! Give me a break….

shaggy

April 13th, 2012
7:24 am

Actually, I wish I had a camera on my prom night. That would be some entertaining stuff.
Would that be considered child porn, as we were both under age and very nekkid? Hmmmmm…maybe that camera on shaggy prom night is a bad idea that could haunt him in the future…glad we didn’t have that stuff.

shaggy

April 13th, 2012
7:28 am

smell of smoke?

If you have “defended” Theresa in the past, why don’t you just use your regular handle? She probably would respect that more than handle jacking.
You wouldn’t be a coward or something, now would you?

Augusta

April 13th, 2012
8:13 am

Prom….I do NOT expect my child to answer their cell while having a good time at their prom.

There’s this thing called, wait for it, T R U S T. We need to be able to trust our kids, and they need to know that we trust them. Yes, there will be bad decisions along the way, but we grow from those decisions. Who here hasn’t made at least one dumb decision in their lifes? But prom is a rite of passage and they should be allowed to go this one night, and enjoy themselves and their friends.

What I don’t get, and probably never will, is a bunch of girls going to prom together. In my day, prom was for Seniors ONLY. If you were an underclassman, the only way you go to go, was to date a senior. The prom wasn’t for everyone, like it is now.

But let them go, no need to call every hour. Let them go have a good time, and make memories. Everyone who went to a prom, as prom memories……..and I hope they didn’t include mommie calling every 30 minutes……

Jeff

April 13th, 2012
8:22 am

Yet another reason to develop BC pills to put teenage boys on.

When we were that age, we had the defense of plausible deniability because there weren’t camera phones, etc. nowadays, sadly, kids have to assume they are always being recorded.

K's Mom

April 13th, 2012
8:39 am

@Augusta, I agree with one caveat, please call me when you get to your final destination for the evening. And if you don’t call expect me to wig out with worry and possibly come find you. I think that is a fair compromise.

With little ones, I am so out of touch with the camera phone culture, but I think the remaining points are valid to discuss with HS students.

Can underclassmen now go to prom? We had separate Junior and Senior proms and Homecoming was open to everyone.

JATL

April 13th, 2012
8:43 am

We have a few years before prom time in our household, but I also don’t expect my child to be checking his phone and answering calls from Mama when he’s supposed to be having a great time with his date! Yes, the phones are handy if say, it’s 4am and he was supposed to be home at 3am and no one has heard a word.

I think a group of kids renting a limo is the best prom idea EVER! At least that way they aren’t driving -drunk or sober. I also wouldn’t have qualms with an after-prom party providing I knew the parents or had spoken to them and a formal invitation had been issued (none of this, “Hey -after prom some of us are getting together somewhere…”).

I intend to have a giant box of condoms always stocked under the sinks in my sons’ bathroom after they hit puberty, so in addition to the corsage, I’ll make sure plenty of those are going along for the evening. I certainly plan to talk to my kids often about drinking, drugs, sex, etc., but I also expect them to experiment with some things no matter what.

I think the biggest difference in now and when we were teens is the advent of the cell phone and the whole camera/social media issue/internet issue. We ALL have to focus on what could possibly be photographed or filmed by someone and how that can affect our educational and professional opportunities. It blows, but that’s reality in 2012. Even though I don’t list my employer on my FB page or friend anyone from work, I have had to ask friends to take down photographs of me that simply showed me obviously having a few too many, etc. It rubs me wrong to do it, but not as wrong as losing my job would!

JATL

April 13th, 2012
8:46 am

@Augusta -so I guess if you aren’t lucky enough to get a date to prom (or if you’re a lesbian) you’re supposed to just sit home and miss out on the fun your whole class is enjoying? Sorry, but I think it’s GREAT that groups of girls or guys or co-ed -but no dates get together and go. We had junior/senior proms, and I thought I was hot stuff because I got to go as a sophomore with a junior guy, but how depressing and sad for girls who don’t have a date to be told, “Sorry -you’re a loser -just sit at home.”

mystery poster

April 13th, 2012
8:59 am

@ Augusta
Prom….I do NOT expect my child to answer their cell while having a good time at their prom.

I totally agree, sounds much to hover-y for me. I can hear the helicopter rotors now…

K's Mom

April 13th, 2012
9:13 am

@JATL, my husband and I have had the condoms talk and so agree with making them very accessible for our sons. I did tell my husband that I hope the thought of using rubbers that their mother bought horrifies my sons so much that they abstain ;o)!

Augusta

April 13th, 2012
9:23 am

JATL – that’s the reality of LIFE. If you don’t have a date, you don’t go. You find something else to do with your friends who aren’t going to the prom either. You can still have your “Special” night, but proms are for DATES. Not for singles. My opinon.

Oh it’s not fair I don’t have a date to the prom……boo hoo……then plan something else. Don’t let other’s tell you how to feel.

Techmom

April 13th, 2012
9:25 am

My son heads off to his first prom next Saturday and I’m excited for him… except I just remembered he needs to go order a corsage! I do expect he’ll have his phone and expect that I’ll get a text when he arrives back on our side of town. He has a group of 10 or 12 who rented a stretch suburban or Excursion or something so they could all ride downtown together. Most of them are not dating per se but they are mostly paired up girl & guy along with 2 girls that don’t have dates… My son does not have a girlfriend and is going with one of his long-time friends (who yes I know, may very well end up being his girlfriend before it’s all over). I’m not too worried about this group of kids and this prom since he goes to a pretty small school and there will be plenty of supervision. Afterwards they are going to one girls house and we’re friends with her parents. The only thing I worry about it is sneaking out to do pranks.

I’m sure he’ll have his phone and I probably could text and get a response but I really don’t plan on it while he’s at prom. I do however have the ability to track his phone so I’ll probably put my “resources” to use.

usually lurking

April 13th, 2012
9:49 am

I think it is great that groups of friends go to prom together without dates. Some of these kids have been classmates since kinder. No pressure to find a date, no dramatic breakups the week after prom. That said, my son isn’t going to his prom, because he’d rather be at a Scouting event this weekend. And I’m just fine with that. :-)

A

April 13th, 2012
9:54 am

Why is prom so early here? In my day (the late ’80s) and in another state, prom was always a week or maybe two before the end of the school year. Here it seems prom season starts in March. What’s up with that?

Techmom

April 13th, 2012
10:04 am

Most of the proms here are in April- after spring break but before the end of school year rush & finals. What difference does it really make though?

Jeff

April 13th, 2012
10:04 am

A, they need more time to process the “offenders” and threaten them with the not graduating or, heaven forbid, putting something on their permanent record. Gotta review all those videos on FB and YouTube. That takes time.

JATL

April 13th, 2012
10:05 am

@Augusta, so I guess if you’re a professional woman invited to a formal business dinner, awards ceremony or other occasion after hours where almost everyone will have a date, then you shouldn’t attend that either? What about a wedding when the invitation includes “and guest” but you don’t have the “guest” part -you should just stay home? I don’t think it’s a matter of letting others tell you how to feel -I think it’s a matter of feeling left out and awful if you don’t get to attend one of the biggest milestones in teenage life because you can’t get a date. Plus -how on earth is it going to take away from anyone else’s time who has a date if others get to come and enjoy the party too? Occasions are full of single and partnered people. If anything women and men need to learn how to attend them solo or with a few good friends INSTEAD of a date and still retain an air of confidence and enjoyment. THAT is life!

Sure, you’re entitled to your opinion, but I think when it’s a school and class-sponsored event, you don’t get to be exclusionary. Of course some people peaked in high school, and the superiority they felt over others while there is all they’ve really ever had.

A

April 13th, 2012
10:15 am

@Techmom, I don’t know that it matters when prom is. I just noticed since moving to Georgia that they seem to be a month or more before the end of the school year, while when I was growing up proms were always very close to the end of the year…probably so the bulk of the school work is done before senior go off and party. But then I forgot that here in Georgia, all teaching seems to come to a halt right after the CRCT, which ends next week.

jarvis

April 13th, 2012
10:17 am

Sex and drinking and driving? Those are equal?
At 18 I think I’ll be OK with the sex.

The rules are in general pretty good though.

homeschooler

April 13th, 2012
10:33 am

My neice is going to prom in a week or two. I like all the rules listed but I would not call my child during prom either. My neice keeps talking about a bunch of kids getting together and getting a hotel room at the event site. ??? NOT.

My other thing is, WHY is prom so darn expensive? Ours was one of the only high schools in the area (in the 80’s) who still had prom in the gym. At what point was it determined that it had to be such an outragiously expensive function? My neice’s poor date is dropping about 300.00 and that doesn’t include my neice’s dress. My hairdresser’s neice is the same age. Just spent 300.00 on a dress. FOR PROM. I spent less on my wedding dress. I am pretty comfortable financially but I can’t imagine how hard that is on the majority of the population who are out of work, struggling to pay bills etc.. Then you add senior pictures, activities etc.. WOW. not looking forward to all that.

I have no problem with one attending prom without a date or in a group. Tons of kids did that when I was in school. What kind of message does it send that you’re not important unless you have a date?

I didn’t attend my prom. Everyone said I would regret not going but can’t say I ever have.

Techmom

April 13th, 2012
10:36 am

@A CRCT only goes through 8th grade. They do have EOCTs (end of course tests) but since my son isn’t in public school, I’m not sure when they give those and then finals are of course the last week.

Techmom

April 13th, 2012
10:46 am

@homeschooler – It’s expensive for guys too but I’m still glad I don’t have a girl. I ordered my son’s tux online (hoping he doesn’t grow too much and he can wear it again next year with only the cost of a vest & tie). That was $180 with shipping (it was going to be $160 to rent one). It was $160 for the ticket for the couple (he paid for)… I thought it was outrageous but their prom actually includes dinner so I think he’s coming out ahead versus having to pay for an expensive dinner downtown. $60 for transportation. And he still needs to order a corsage which I’m guessing will be around $25. I think his date actually got her dress for about $150 so in the end, my son is spending more this year than his date since he paid for her ticket.

When I was in HS, the Junior class hosted the prom. Which means we raised a bunch of money and then we only charged juniors to come to prom (seniors didn’t have to pay). I think our tickets were $50 for a couple but it really only included the facility, decorations, dj and punch… plus we had it in a city auditorium- not a fancy hotel ballroom.

Single and loving it

April 13th, 2012
10:47 am

As a single gal, it does NOT bother me at all to go to places by myself. As JATL asked Augusta, it it were a business dinner, awards ceremony, etc, I would have not problem going alone. I’m comfortable with me.

Not every one NEEDS a date. Those who don’t have dates figure out something else to do.

I certainly WOULD NOT sit at home alone, while everyone else is having fun with their DATES. I would get a group of friends, and go do something else, or simply stay at home.

Letting EVERYONE go to prom, is like giving everyone on the team a trophy, whether they played good or not. This is LIFE, and there are hurdles, and you have to pick yourself up when you fall down. Life is NOT fair. But most helicopter parents, like JATL, INSIST their precious little pumpkin be able to do what every one else is doing. God forbid their little feelings get hurt.

Augusta

April 13th, 2012
10:49 am

Should everyone get a Valentine, because someone might get left out?

Comparing a business dinner to a prom is stupid. Two completely different things.

This namby pamby “include everyone” society is for the birds. If you want something, you need to work for it, and EARN it……

Is this what we are teaching our children? Are we not teaching our children to STRIVE? If they fall, should we not let them pick themselves up?

Denise

April 13th, 2012
10:51 am

Getting the number of 5 of their friends? Heck no! THAT is helicopter parenting at it’s worst to me (a non-parent). Keep in mind, us old folks didn’t have cells when we went to prom and obviously we all made it home. Give your kids a curfew and trust they will keep it. If they don’t, kick their behinds and never let them leave the house again.

jarvis

April 13th, 2012
10:53 am

Prom was already a big deal at Parkview when I went in the early 90’s.

We had it at Colony Square I believe. We got a limo, a hotel, my date wore a dress for a little while, and I wore a tux. We ate dinner at the Coach and Six (old school ATL!) I dropped some bucks, but I had a job and nothing to spend it on. Gas was $.80 a gallon.

Morrigan

April 13th, 2012
11:42 am

JATL, your kind of “we’re all the same, no one is better in any way, we all DESERVE to go to the prom, and no one is allowed to make rules that exclude anyone” is the very type of thinking that got us into this mortgage crisis, because, you know, everyone DESERVES to own a home. Someone else said it too, “a trophy just for showing up.”

Yes, it’s hard not to be invited, especially on girls. But instead of pretending that everyone is equal, why don’t we teach our daughters – please, NOT our “little girls” – that having a date, a boyfriend, the attention and eye of every guy in the room is NOT the most important thing they can accomplish? No one tells their sons that they’re nothing without a girlfriend/wife/SO. THIS is what hurts, not a night sitting home.

Someone pointed out that life is full of occasions where you’ll be around singles, couples, groups, and you should learn to go out by yourself and have a good time. Good point! But another good concept to learn is that there are rules in life and you won’t always like them, and not everyone gets what she wants. Not to politicize this forum, but how many of us with bigger worries than no date to the prom have done everything right all our lives, made good choices, etc. – and are handing the housekeys to the bank? Teach your kids that life is good, but it’s not fair.

Kube

April 13th, 2012
11:46 am

How did humanity ever survive without being in constant contact with one another? I hate the nanny state.

homeschooler

April 13th, 2012
11:54 am

Since when has having a date been part of the “rules” of prom? Guess I missed something but, then, like I said, I never went to prom.

I’m all about life not being fair but this just not fall in this category. IMO.

Augusta

April 13th, 2012
11:55 am

@Kube – Oh god me too!!!

Do you know that none of my kids have ce phones? If they want one, they can get a job and pay for it. I’m not getting or paying for 6 phones. Hubs and I each have a cell, but not for the kids.

Believe it or not, when my kids go off with their friends, they go with their friends. . I don’t need to call them 20 times while they are out having fun, being teenagers.

If there is an emergency, all their friends have phones.

We are raising our kids to be independent and to *Gasp*… “THINK” for themselves. Figure it out. Fall and get yourself back up. We have armed them with the information they need to function away from us.

And if my daughters don’t have dates for the prom, they will find something else to do.

HB

April 13th, 2012
12:03 pm

The idea that getting a prom date is an achievement that earns a kid the right to attend makes my skin crawl. Seriously? Why on earth would anyone mind if a kid goes and has a good time without being paired up? Why shouldn’t singles or groups of friends get dressed up, go out to eat, and then hit the dance floor?

usually lurking

April 13th, 2012
12:12 pm

@HB, thank you! I was just trying to figure out how I was going to counsel my children on how to EARN a date for prom… not!

Warrior Woman

April 13th, 2012
12:25 pm

I would not call or text my children during prom unless it was a dire emergency. With our first 2 kids’ senior prom experiences, we did something that worked very well that I will try to repeat in a few years with number 3. A large group – about 30 – went to prom together. The group was mostly couples, but there were 6 or 7 singles going as well. We ALL (parents and teens and even a few younger siblings) met at one family’s home for pre-prom appetizers and meet and greet. Parents exchanged phone numbers, we took lots of phots, and the rented bus picked the teens up there to take them to dinner and the prom. After the prom, the bus took them to a designated home with lots of parental supervision for an after-party. Teens could stay overnight or be picked up from there by there parents (since their cars were either at home or at the pre-prom location). We required our older children to check in when they arrived at their respective after-parties, and when they were ready to come home, with the proviso that if we didn’t hear from them before our curfew, then we would arrive at the post-party at curfew.

As for whether singles or groups (as opposed to couples) should go to prom, why shouldn’t they if they want to do so? Prom is a school event, not matchmaker event. Students “earn” the right to go to prom by being a student in good standing that purchases a ticket. Forbidding someone because they don’t have a date is unwarranted school interference in the student’s love life. Singles or groups going to prom is NOTHING like giving unearned trophies or unaffordable houses to people.

catlady

April 13th, 2012
12:39 pm

My last prom experience was 8 years ago, so I don’t know how it is now. In 1970, my senior year, it was nothing like most kids seem to have nowdays. Certainly no limos, and no sex that I Knew of. I had no curfew but went home at 2, exhausted. We had gone to a party (where there WERE some drunk people) and left because of it. Then we went to a restaurant for a midnight “breakfast”, then went parking, and then home.

My own children had pretty simple proms as well: no limos, just a meal out after parental picutes were taken, then home in the wee hours. They had dates sometimes, and somtimes went as a group.

jarvis

April 13th, 2012
12:56 pm

No offense intended here catlady, but telling a kid now about prom in 1970 would have been exatly like someone telling you in 1970 what prom was like in 1928.

shaggy

April 13th, 2012
1:31 pm

Jeez…Loueeze…Mine was like that American Pie movie, except no screwing a pie, and no drinking man juice mixed in a stale cup of beer, plus no broadcast of premature e……….well it wasn’t like American Pie, except we guys were on a serious hunt for something female, and yes, alcohol was in the mix, plus I remember racing friends that night to show off to the she-target. Apparently, it worked.

I really don’t mean to offend if I have. I am just being honest. I have said here before that I sometimes wonder how I even lived through it all. Prom night was one of those sometimes. I lived, and steadfastly refuse to self-flagellate myself for living it up in youth. All in all, that is what it took to make me what I am today, and I am absolutely comfortable with that.

Augusta

April 13th, 2012
1:37 pm

AMEN SHAGGY. Never worry about offending people, that’s their problem. You lived a very colorful life, and it has made you the person you are now. Keep up the good work!!!!! I’m a fan.

Uh, Techmom...

April 13th, 2012
1:57 pm

…”The only thing I worry about it is sneaking out to do pranks” – you should also be worried about them sneaking out to do their dates, small private school or not…

K's Mom

April 13th, 2012
2:10 pm

@JATL..I agree about going without a date, that is a fun way to celebrate with your friends. I do not see it as being an entitlement. As someone who was single well into my 30s, I think the earlier a young woman gets comfortable going to “occasions” with friends and not always a date the more independent and successful she will be. I have several friends who were taught that a date/boyfriend is a must for happiness and they all rushed into marriages that failed due to parental pressure. That is a stretch for prom, I know, but I think it shows great self confidence to go it alone!

Warrior Woman, I think the preparty and after party you describe sound perfect. What a great idea!

as

April 13th, 2012
2:37 pm

Augusta.

“If you want something, you need to work for it, and EARN it……”

Just how do you suggest that I advise my daughters to “EARN” it? They are members of their class just as much as anyone else, date or not. Your logic is twisted and sexist at best.

DettafromATL

April 13th, 2012
3:05 pm

I think prom is a high school “rite of passage” not a matchmaking/dating event. Not everyone in high school has a girlfiend or boyfriend, but everyone has a friend. Once at the prom friends all get together, those with and without dates, to show off their their tux and/or dresses, take pictures, videos, laugh, talk, dance as a couple or in a group and have a great time. The prom is a time when you get a chance to enjoy a formal affair with classmates and friends that you’ve known most of your life.

It is a special night to make memories that will last your entire life. That’s what prom is about.

JATL

April 13th, 2012
3:15 pm

@TWG -find my last post please!

Voice of Reason

April 13th, 2012
3:38 pm

No one had a cellphone in 1996. We did have pagers though.

Ahh Prom, dinner at the Sun Dial downtown and then to the Cobb Galleria for dancing and then off to American Adventures for all night after-prom. Good times.

Techmom

April 13th, 2012
4:00 pm

Like I said, he’s going with a girl he’s been friends with for quite a while and they are not gf/bf… and no, I’m not oblivious to anything going on b/c there isn’t anything going on between them. My son has however gotten in trouble for late-night pranks before which is why THAT is a valid concern. I know there are a lot of parents who try to ignore what their kids do so they don’t have to face it, but I am not one of those… mostly b/c I WAS the 16 year old who was pregnant so I know first hand what goes on.

motherjanegoose

April 13th, 2012
7:11 pm

One thing I have learned from my travels…some folks look back at HS and Prom as some of the best events of their life. Kind of sad, to me, if nothing else exciting or wonderful as happened since then. The person I was in HS is not at all like who I am now…except I have always loved to talk.
I did not go to prom…just the dinner, as I had just broken up with my HS sweetheart and was heartbroken. It was for the best, for both of us, but I could not see it then. I was VP of my Senior Class and kind of had to go. SO many other things in life have been wonderful that prom is just a blip on my radar.

catlady

April 13th, 2012
9:52 pm

Sorry, Jarvis. It was a long time ago, but Theresa was asking us to compare now to when we were in high school. It just so happens that it was longer ago for me than for you, I guess.

Didn’t go my junior year and it did not bother me then. Now, I wish I had. My senior year I went with the boy who became my husband 4 years later. Both my daughters went all 4 years and seemed to have fun, with or without a date. Both went by themselves their senior year (with a group of friends, but no date). My son never went–didn’t think it would be worth the money. I think everyone needs to do what they want, and what they can afford.

The younger daughter mentioned that a group was going in together to rent a place to stay. I told her that was fine, but she would not be among them. Not sure why that is the generally accepted “thing to do” for some folks.

djm_NC

April 14th, 2012
11:57 am

when i took my daughter to buy stuff for prom night she threw a huge box of condoms in the cart…i was like HUH??? she said mom…everyone is stupid! im gonna hand them out to the stupid people that think they have to get laid on prom night and hopefully no one will get pregnant or an std.

Fred ™

April 14th, 2012
10:59 pm

My daughter is 10 and i don’t have to think about this subject yet. So I won’t. Hopefully she won’t date until she’s 30 or I’m dead. Of course I think if I tell her she has to wait until 30 my death will come at her hands when she gets older lol.

My condolences to you who have teenaged girls. I’ll get there, just not tonight. And I don;t look forward to it.

Fred ™

April 14th, 2012
11:01 pm

shaggy

April 13th, 2012
7:28 am

smell of smoke?

If you have “defended” Theresa in the past, why don’t you just use your regular handle? She probably would respect that more than handle jacking.
You wouldn’t be a coward or something, now would you?
++++++++++++++++++++++++

So who is this person really shaggy and who are they namejacking? Inquiring minds want to know……….

DB

April 15th, 2012
12:23 am

I loved the way my kids’s high school handled prom, the last one the went to was in 2009. The junior class did all the work in planning it, but it was always held at the school. No tickets because it was free. It was always breathtakingly beautiful, with a tent to dance under the stars, flowers, and beautiful decorations on that years theme. It was a far cry from my own mid-70’s proms, but it wasn’t over the top or overdone. After the prom, there was an after-party, like one year when ESPN Zone was still in business. That you had to buy a ticket for, but not everyone chose to go. Freshmen weren’t allowed to go to prom, and sophomores only if the were invited as a date, but any junior or senior could go regardless of whether or not they had a date.

But no, I did not keep tabs on my kids via cell phone all night long! My daughter went as a sophomore, but with the understanding that she had to be home by midnight and could not attend the afterparty. It was a junior/senior privilege that she enjoyed the next year – something to look forward to.