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Prom Tips for Dads of Daughters
Dads & Daughters offers these tips to help dads, their daughters and stepdaughters get the most out of Prom time.
1. Its her Prom, not yours. Dad functions best when hes a good coach who listens closely to where shes at, rather than imposing his emotions or fears on the situation.
2. Does Dad mean Detective? Yes. Its more than okay to meet her date ahead of time. Make it a low-pressure meeting, like encouraging her to invite her date over to do homework some night. Promise her you wont act like a prosecuting attorney (and then keep that promise), but let her know you care about her friends because you care so much about her.
3. Keep your head when, all around you, others are losing their shoulder straps. Wearing sexy clothes (and dyeing hair) is normal adolescent behavior. It can be a daughters self-directed experiment in self-definition. Dads job is to let her know that he loves her for who she is, now and forever. Meanwhile, you are not a dork if you set a dress code, but be willing to compromise or (even better) develop a dress code together.
4. Beauty is in the eye of her dad. Always remember how important your opinions are to your daughter or stepdaughter. A girl needs to know that her dad thinks she is beautiful inside and out. Tell her she glows by just being herself -- and that the dress, hairdo and flowers are no match for her true, inner beauty.
5. Be in the know about the Nos." No booze, no drugs, no hotel rooms, no riding without seatbelts. No exceptions. Then make sure she knows that, no matter where, when, or what the situation, you will come get her immediately if she finds herself in an uncomfortable or unsafe circumstance. And that there will be no lecture until at least the next day. Make a pact that you and she BOTH will let each other know where you are and who youre with, all evening, no exceptions. Be sure she has access to a phone to reach you.
6. Yes, Dad, Prom costs money. So set a budget early. Talk honestly with each other about the cost of tickets, a dress, flowers, parties, etc. Then work out a realistic plan for what you can afford together, letting her share some of the load.
7. Simple is the new black. Many kids and families (and, sadly, some schools) invest so much in Prom that it seems like a bigger deal than a wedding. While teens want to fit in, they also like to be different. So offer the simple approach to Prom as her way to be radically different. Skip the limo (drive her yourself), skip the Vera Wang (many a fine dress hangs in thrift and consignment shops), and skip the Royal Banquet (suggest the old-fashioned idea of post-Prom bowling or making a scene eating at the local diner in tuxes and gowns).
8. Save the first dance for Dad. Make sure she knows how to slow dance with class and style. Practice with her to some songs from your Prom days.
9. Lock in on lock-ins. If the school hosts a post-Prom overnight lock-in, make sure you know what will be happening there and get her commitment to observe all the rules (including the one about having fun). If you volunteer to chaperone, make the following deal with a fellow chaperone: I promised my daughter that I wouldnt hover around her and her date. So, if you keep a close eye on my kid, Ill cover your flank by keeping a close eye on your kid. Only let her attend a non-school post-Prom party if you know the host family very well, they have a substance-free policy, and they know theres going to be a party!
10. Cmon over! Avoid the post-Prom party minefield by having your daughter and a handful of her friends (and even their dates!) over to your house for a relaxed, substance-free, and well-chaperoned get-together.
11. Breaking up doesnt mean the partys over. If she breaks up with her date before Prom, encourage her to go with one or more other friends, even if there isnt any romantic interest. But most of all, respect how shes feeling, hear her out, support her, and follow her lead.
12. Well leave the light on for you. Wait up until she gets home, and then enjoy the fruit of your trust in each otherthe great stories shell tell about the Prom (but dont take it personally if she wants to tell Mom more than youshe may well tell you later, if you stay open to her).
©2008, Dads & Daughters