USA Today, in an article out last month, reports that teens (or is it parents) are now spending between $1000 and $2000 on going to the prom. Am I alone in thinking this is insane? OK, so I’m someone who has never had a professional manicure or pedicure, has never set foot in a spa, and got my wedding dress off the clearance rack. I am probably more shocked by prom-gone-wild than the average parent. But I wonder, are these expectations reasonable in this economic environment? And are we setting up our teens to expect all the luxuries they want throughout life without consideration for the costs? Worse, if a young man (or young woman I suppose) is spending so much for one night, is he going to expect to “cash in” with a romp at the hotel? Just today I heard the story of a woman who recounted the first time she had sex. Junior Prom. It was the price she had to pay to get her older boyfriend, who didn’t want to hang out with high schoolers, to go. She called it “prostituting” herself, but used rougher words So sad.
Parents, it’s time to have a sober talk about expectations for prom. It can be fun, focus on friendships, and leave no regrets. Or…it can be quite different. Let’s ratchet down the expectations. This is not their wedding night, and it’s not the pinnacle of life from which everything from here on out goes downhill.