Help! My child wasn’t asked to the school prom. Should I encourage her to go anyway?
Have your child ask herself this question: If she doesn’t go to prom, does she think that years from now she’ll regret not having gone? If your child hesitates even a little bit, then by all means encourage her to go.
Keep in mind that the thought of attending a school dance may be especially daunting for kids with learning and thinking differences. They may have had difficulties interacting with peers in everyday settings. They may be worried they won’t know what to say or how to act at prom. You can offer to use role-play to help your child prepare for the big night.
Help her see the prom as an opportunity to wear an outrageously fancy dress, possibly have her hair and nails done and look like something out of a fairy tale. Prom is basically a bunch of teenagers playing dress-up for the night—and maybe doing a little dancing on the side.
Make sure your child understands it’s common nowadays for groups of friends to go to dances together. Dates are no longer required. This is true even for formal occasions like prom.
For kids who do bring a date, it’s no longer an unofficial rule that girls have to hang back and wait to be asked. They can do the asking too. They may find out that their prospective date was just too shy to ask.
Prom dates don’t have to be romantic, either. Some students bring a friend. Others might bring a sibling or cousin. In cities, it’s common for high-schoolers to attend multiple proms with various friends.
Many high schools also organize an after-prom event to let the fun continue in a safe setting into the wee hours of the morning. If your daughter has no interest in dressing up and showing off during the dance, she may be interested in hanging out with her friends at after-prom. This is also an opportunity for you to talk about the importance of taking good risks and practicing how to resist peer pressure.
Your child will have to decide on her own whether she wants to go to prom, after-prom or both. Does she want to take a friend or sibling, go as part of a big group or skip it altogether? You can help her think through all the different options and encourage her to make a decision she’s comfortable with.
If she decides to go, then you can start to prepare her for the school dance.
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About the author
About the author
Jenn Osen-Foss, MAT is an instructional coach, supporting teachers in using differentiated instruction, interventions, and co-planning.