My child wasn’t asked to the prom. What should I do?

Q. Help! My child wasn’t asked to the school prom. Should I encourage my child to go anyway?

A. Have your child ask themself this question: If they don’t go to prom, do they think that years from now they’ll regret not having gone? If your child hesitates even a little bit, then by all means encourage them 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 your teen see the prom as an opportunity to wear an outrageously fancy outfit. 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 teens have to hang back and wait to be asked. Any student can do the asking. 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 child has no interest in dressing up and showing off during the dance, your high-schooler may be interested in hanging out with their 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 their own whether they want to go to prom, after-prom, or both. Does your teen want to take a friend or sibling, go as part of a big group, or skip it altogether? You can help your high-schooler think through all the different options and encourage your child to decide what they’re comfortable with.

If your teen decides to go, then you can start to prepare your child for the school dance.


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