For your teenage daughter, probably one of the most exciting high school experiences for her, and something she’s counting down to already, is prom. This rite of passage is an important one for teens, but can cause stress in households and lead to arguments and worries. To help you reduce the amount of friction that arises as you help your daughter get ready for her big night, read on for three key tips you can follow.
Put a Budget in Place
Reduce the likelihood of fights with your daughter, and lower your own stress levels, by discussing a budget with your child up front. Teens have usually seen dozens of Hollywood movies which depict glamorous, expensive proms; plus they can look online, on sites like Instagram, and blogs, to see pictures of the most luxurious events. The problem with this, for your budget, is that children then want to achieve the same kind of look, and expect parents to fork out thousands of dollars to make it happen.
To protect your bank account, put a budget in place early on. You might have a particular number in mind that covers all the money you have spare to pay for prom-based items but, if not, and if you’re simply concentrating on putting a figure in place so your teen will have more reasonable expectations, take time to calculate likely expenses. There are various types of potential costs to factor in, like a dress, shoes, bag, jewelry, hair, makeup, nails, photographs, transport, and the ticket itself.
You might want to let your teen know the overall amount that’s available, or tell her you will cover certain costs, and then anything above that she has to find a way to pay for herself, via an allowance or job. You might also want to be flexible, and agree to let her spend more in one area (such as her dress) provided she cuts back elsewhere to make up the difference.
Develop a Plan Together
Next, develop a “plan of attack” for the months leading up to the big event. Sit down with your daughter and figure out when each task needs to be completed, and in what order, so that nothing get missed or left too late. For example, shopping for a dress can take time, because you need to find the perfect thing, at the right budget, and factor in time for potential alterations, or ordering in or shipping items. Similarly, if you plan to have something made, you’ll need to give a seamstress plenty of notice.
Your plan should include details on when you and your teen will start researching potential services, if relevant, like hairdressers, makeup artists, beauty therapists (e.g. for facials and waxing), and nail technicians. Keep in mind that many people book out well in advance, especially during prom season.
Talk to your daughter about her hairstyle too. If she wants to change it up for the prom, you’ll need to book her in for a cut and/or color at least a week before prom. This allows time for styles and colors to “settle” and for additional appointments to be arranged if things don’t turn out as expected.
As you develop a prom plan, address safety issues too. Talk about how your daughter will get to and from the prom and any after parties, and make sure you have contact details for her date, the limo driver, and the hosts of various parties. Ensure your teen understands she can call you at any stage in the night if she runs into problems; and arrange to give her some money to have on hand in case of emergencies.
Help Her Find the Best Outfit
Lastly, for most teens, choosing what they’re going to wear is vital (and stressful). You can help your daughter by researching the kinds of styles and brands available, and discussing what kind of dress will suit her body shape, complexion, and hair color best, as well as the occasion itself. Learn which stores have the best kinds of dresses for prom, and which will fit the budget you’ve established. Make sure you know what styles are current right now, too.
It pays to allow one of your child’s friends, an older sister, an aunt or some other third party to join you on shopping expeditions, as this can be another helpful opinion. If there are particular shoes or jewelry items your daughter wants to wear on the night, take them when you go shopping so she can be sure things match. Also, consider having some hair pins or other tools on hand so you can help her style her hair in different ways to see how this affects the look of shortlisted dresses.
After prom comes college. Be sure to check out our article on Finding College Scholarships.