Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Junior Prom

My son has expressed a desire to go to the Junior prom. I have several problems with this.
1. Money
I don't remember this from when I was a teenager, but tickets to the prom cost $45 EACH! I don't know that I even had to buy a ticket! In addition to the ticket, my son would need the appropriate clothing to wear. And if he asks a date, he should probably offer to buy her ticket. He also should buy her a corsage, and take her out to dinner. My son doesn't have that kind of money, and I don't want to pay either.
2. Dirty Dancing
My daughter went to Winter Ball about 5 or 6 years ago, and said that the dancing was so inappropriate that she and her friends left the dance. I hardly think that has changed for the better, and in fact, I'm sure it has gotten worse. I really don't think this son needs to be exposed to that. He's never attended a school dance before. I was pretty frank with him, and told him that what he will see is the worst of "bump and grind", but he really wants to go with his friends.
3. Alternate Prom
Every year, the church puts on an "alternate prom" for LDS kids. It is held at the Interstake center in Oakland, located next to the temple. Kids from all over the Bay area come. They sign a dance card, and in so doing promise that they will abide by the LDS standards at the dance. That means they won't wear inappropriate clothing; including strapless or spaghetti strap dresses, or too tight or too short of skirts. They won't dance inappropriately either. There is no fee for admission. Our Bishop has started a tradition of inviting all of the youth from our Ward to his house for dinner that night, sparing them that expense. I would much rather my son put his effort and money in to the alternate prom than in to his school prom. I told him that he could ask his friend to come with him to the alternate prom, but he didn't think she would like hanging out with "Mormons". Although it might be a problem if her dress is inappropriate.

It's hard because so many people look at Junior prom as some sort of "right of passage". Some people would say I'm a horrible parent for trying to discourage my son from attending. I attended Junior prom when I wasn't even 16. Frankly, I think it would have been better if I had not gone. I did go to some of the other school dances, but that was 30 something years ago, and rules were inforced. I just hate for my son to be exposed to that kind of degradation, and have to PAY for the chance! I guess the one way I can have any say in whether or not my son attends is by not offering any money. If he earns money to pay for it, then he can do what he wants. But I really hope he will change his mind and attend the alternate prom instead.


Erin said...

I say if it were 20 years ago he might have actually had a good time. But I went to Winter Ball at that same school 10 years ago and it was a lot like you describe it could be. If I could go back and do it differently I probably would have just gone on a plain old date that night or just stayed home. And really if you were in a different area (like where I lived in OR) it could be a totally different experience. Good luck with all that and tell him I think any other idea would be better than a school dance! :)

Becky said...

Our oldest went to his Junior Prom at that school, with a group of 24 kids. I'm not sure how the dancing was, or if the group just stuck together and ignored everyone else, but he had a great time.

A few years later our second son decided to go to his Senior Prom. He double-dated with some good friends. After dinner they walked into the dance, saw how the other kids were behaving/dancing, turned around and left. It was an expensive lesson, because the tickets were not cheap.

Since then none of our kids have had any desire to attend any school dance. Our region also does an "LDS Prom" and that's what the other boys have done. Since the night includes dinner, the only expense they've had has been a corsage for their date! That's my kind of prom.

(I think your idea of not fronting any money is a pretty good one, along with encouraging him to attend the dance in Oakland. Watching our kids exercise their agency is a tough thing sometimes! I hope everything works out well.)

Inklings said...

I think he ought to earn his own money for it too, and yes, he will have to pay for the date's ticket also. Prom's are expensive and have gotten pretty out of hand. Lots of kids rent limos, etc, for the prom.
Some of my kids did go in groups where they had dinner at people's homes instead of going out to eat, though, and the parents made it fancy. One time they did a perogressive dinner.
It's tough call. I'd give him permission to go but let him handle the expenses and details.

Amber said...

well I have to say that I think that he should go to Junior Prom if he wants, I do see it as a rite of passage, something that is one of the essential experiences of High School. I think that you have to trust that you've raised your son correctly and know that his behavior will be appropriate. Of course there probably will be people "grinding" at the dance, but that doesn't mean he will, and there's a good chance there will be alcohol snuck in, but again, you have to trust your son. I think another important thing to remember is that he deals with these people every day, and deals with these influences every day, the Prom really isn't all that different. I went to Prom by myself and I just hung out with the other kids from church and school that I knew, and it wasn't a big deal at all. As for the expense, maybe they could have dinner at your house before the dance instead of going out, and maybe there is someone you could borrow a tuck from, or if he has a black suit maybe he would just need a shirt, bow tie and cumberbund. It wouldn't be a bad idea for him to earn the money to pay for it himself either, but I'd be sad if he had to miss it altogether, even though my date stood me up and I went alone, I'm still glad I went, and my prom dress was the prettiest thing I ever owned-dearer to me even than my wedding dress :) - that's just my two cents though

Stick said...

Thought I would chime in on this. Our daughters are interested in Pr4om this year. We told them they could go only if they are asked (first), and if they pay for at elast half of the dress. The tickets here are much cheaper than yours though. Only $10-15 each.

That said, I never went to my prom, but I did go with a friend of mine as her date to her prom. We left after an hour, went and had pizza, and had more fun than at the dance. I would encourage him to go to the alterenative prom. They will have just as much, if not more, fun, and it will be just as memorable, not to mention cheaper. They could still go to dinner, and do the corsage and tux thing, but not go to the $90 plus for tickets at the H.S.

Finally, I agree with earning the money for this. I NEVER borrowed money for a date from parents, and was expected to put gas in the car if I borrowed it.