The Homecoming Dance: when raising teens gets tough

It’s my daughter’s homecoming dance this weekend. She sees pretty dresses, and the crowning of high school royalty.  Her morbid mother sees overpriced tickets, awkward moments, fist fights, and car crashes.

Frankly, I’d rather she stay home and play with dolls.

I never really though about it before, but the homecoming dance opens the door for parent/teen disagreements on almost every battleground — from finances and independence, to drinking and driving.  

It usually starts with money.Who is going to pay for the pricey dance ticket? The tickets at my daughter’s school are a whopping $55 a piece. I told my daughter she would have to pay. She took the guilt route: “I guess I just won’t go,” she said in her poor-me tone. We settled on a 50-50 split.

After money you move on to the next topic for debate: Who is driving? Are you a naive mom like me? Do you really think you are driving?  Last week, I heard loud screaming from down the street. My neighbor and his son, a new driver, were battling it out. Dad emphatically refuses to let son drive to homecoming, particularly with a date in the car. Dad offered to drive. Son said, “no way!” The outcome: Dad is hiring a van to transport son, friends and dates to the dance. My daughter and I still are negotiating her ride.

Then there’s the date thing. What happens when your teen feels peer pressure to take a date? Do you dare to make suggestions? Do you tell him or her to go with friends. My advice on this one: Say nothing.

Next topic of disagreement: Curfew and/or the after party. This is definitely where ground rules meet rebellion. My 16-year-old nephew wants to go to a hotel after the homecoming dance with the rest of his friends. “All my friends parents are okay with it,” he insists. His parents response: “Nothing good happens in a hotel room.” So true!

I just read a blog post by a mom who wonders if she’s the last remaining strict parent around. Her daughter has a date to the homecoming dance. Her husband says she can’t go unless the boy comes to their house to ask his permission. He’s allowing her to go to an after party when the dance concludes with one exception.  He needs to go too.  When he let her know that’s one of the conditions, she rolled her eyes and said, “Oh kill me now”.

If anything, homecoming is the perfect time to discuss rules, values and expectations with your teen. How’s the discussion going in your home?

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  1. Suburban Kamikaze October 12, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    Our biggest argument – two years running – is whether I will be allowed to take any photographs. So far we’ve managed to settle on a compromise in which I select and purchase the corsage, take him shopping for new clothes and chauffeur him to the house where everyone meets before the dance, but leave immediately. In exchange, he promises that someone else will take a picture of him and his date and I might get to see it.


  2. raisingteensblog October 13, 2010 at 12:19 am

    I feel priviledged I was able to take a few photos.


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