Monday, April 11, 2011

Promstitution Is Coming!

Promstitution Is Coming! Okay, I know that is not a real word but it is one that has to be discussed annually with your teens, especially if they are old enough to go their school's Prom.

What do I mean about the word Promstitution? Well over the years in working with students and adults in youth ministry I have seen so many disasters that happen around the time of prom. Many times this will not even be realized until much later when there is an influx of teen pregnancies. By the way I had a nurse in a large metropolitan hospital tell me that the hospital always increased manpower on the obstetrics floor about 8-9 months after Prom and after graduation. It seems that for some strange reason there is an influx in the number of  babies being delivered to teens 8-9 months after these special days from high school.

From a guys perspective, and I have had guys tell me this, "I spent money on the tickets, the corsage, the tux, the dinner, the ride, the meal, and pictures and all I get is hug and a kiss? I don't think so!" I know you think this guy is a real jerk, and rightly so, but think about the pressure that is placed on their date!

So what is a parent to do? Lock up your teen? (Not a good idea by the way.) You could refuse to allow your teen to go. Maybe. How about a sleep over at your home while you sit up all night to keep "those people" away? No. However, you can and should be proactive when it comes to the subject of Prom. You see Prom is that one event where we allow children to dress up like adults and act like adults, but THEY ARE NOT ADULTS.

In a recent Parenting Magazine I saw several great ideas to help you the parents. By the way if you are a parent of a teen, you need to start talking about this today, even if your student is not even close to being old enough to go to prom. You see you cannot over communicate.

So here are the top 5 things you can do with your teen and one added in for good measure.
  1. Communicate with your teen.  Yep, talk to them not at them. Don't lecture! this is not the time for you to be standing with one hand on your hip and one in their face. Communication goes both ways, talking, interpreting what has been said, decoding the information and returning the same to them. By the way asking questions here goes a long, long way.
  2. Get some help from trusted others. Other adults in the lives of your teen will help you tremendously. Several times I have had students call me to get support for their side of an argument to find out that I agree with the parent. Small group leaders, or ever the Youth Pastor can help balance out the issues.
  3. Agree on an escape plan!  If your teen is in trouble, uncomfortable, or a little nervous about the evening and they want to escape but don't want to yell, "HELP!" on the cell phone; what to do? Come up with an escape plan and code word to get the help you need. It could be "I was calling to check on grand-mother", or "How did Billy do in the wrestling match tonight?", or how about "The kool-aide is not my flavor and I'm not wanting any at all.", wink, wink.... I think you get the idea. you decide on the words.
  4. Set Appropriate Boundaries, Together.  By the way this is done when you are communicating and talking together. Discuss curfews and appropriate times to be home. You can always stretch this IF YOU ARE BOTH COMFORTABLE with it. DO NOT TELL YOUR DAUGHTER THE TIME TO COME HOME IN FRONT OF THE DATE! She may want to come home earlier and now you have taken away one of her 'outs' by telling him the time to bring her home and she wants to end the date sooner.
  5. Discuss The Boundaries Up-front and be Flexible. If you are one of those lucky parents that has 2 going out on the same night you know this already. The same thing for both of your children may not be appropriate. Be flexible about times on each child, IF IT WARRANTS it. If as the parent you do not feel it is in the best interest for your child to stay out to 1am when the prom is over at 11:30, make the call. However, if your child tells you that they are going to some one's home for a gathering afterwards, and you know and trust the adults there, then you can be flexible. Communication again.
Hey here's a freebie for you. Why not host the after Prom party at your home? You can have the place where the students hang out and have fun with them. One year I did this for my teen and several of their friends. One of the young ladies told her mom, who later told me, that the evening took the pressure off her as you can't do stupid stuff at your youth pastor's house!

Lastly remind your child, as a Christian, of who they are in Christ. As a daughter of God, they are a princess and deserve much better than mediocrity. As a son of God, they are royalty and cannot be taken down by the wiles of the evil one.

"Noted author and counselor Dan Allender has said, "You are the only you this world will ever know and something about you is meant to make something about God known in a way that no one else can!" You are his and he wants you to be the best you can be....

Be prepared, pro-active, and ready because, Promstitution Is Coming!

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