Let's Talk About the After-Prom Party
Written By Savvy Auntie Staff Writers
By Katelyn Fry
Once upon a time, prom meant teens dressed their best, girls anxiously wondered who would ask whom to be their date, and the inevitably awkward first dance.
Today, that's changed. Finding the perfect dress and date is the easy part. What was once simply prom night has now become “prom weekend” or “after-prom.”
When my older sister had her first prom in 1999, the kid with the biggest house and “coolest” parents let him have an after-party. Somewhere between then and now, the tradition of an after-prom party drastically escalated. I can’t speak for other states, but I know if you’re a high school senior in New York, those prom-crazed teens are most likely planning on a weekend in the Hamptons or the Jersey Shore at a house that even celebrities would consider a vacation home.
Some aunts may have a niece or nephew planning a post-prom trip right now and the teen is potentially having a few concerns about what those 48 hours may entail. They most likely have already had “the talk” with their parents about what may occur during their parent-free getaway: the opportunity to experiment with sex, drugs or alcohol. But they may not have revealed all their concerns - and that is the beauty of being their aunt. It can be way easier to have this conversation with you rather than their mom or dad.
Being the ConfidAunt
I recommend taking your niece or nephew out for a bite to eat, or for long-distance aunts, have a virtual dinner date via FaceTime or Skype. Bring up prom weekend casually – no need to make them feel like they are being interrogated considering their parents have may already had the same sit-down. Start with simple questions:
“So, do who know who your prom date is?”
“Do you like this person or are you just friends?”
“Where’s the prom?”
“Where’s the after-prom?”
“Which friends of yours will be going away with you?”
“Do you have pictures of the house?”
Next, I would reminisce about your own prom memories: your date, what you wore, what your own after-prom was like, if you had one. Make them feel comfortable. Do not hesitate to be honest. In fact, the whole point of having this conversation about after-prom is enable their honesty.
Make it clear that you know there is a chance they may be exposed to a number of questionable scenarios during their after-prom. Then, make it even more clear that there is nothing they have to do if they don’t want to.
First and foremost, instill in your niece or nephew that they, and they alone, are in charge of their body. For those of you with nieces, make it explicitly clear that they do not owe their male prom date anything. For those of you with nephews getting ready for prom, give them the same instruction. Just because a girl agreed to be their date does not mean they should expect her to be anything more than that.
A Taste of Independence
Your niece or nephew is going to be in a beautiful escape for a weekend. Remind them of that, and that there are plenty of ways to enjoy it to its fullest without having to compromise their own values – that they are more than capable of having a good time without experimenting with drugs, alcohol, or sexual behavior. Reminding them of this may be initially for your own peace of mind, but it could very well be for theirs, without you even knowing it - at least, not until you’ve had this conversation.
The prom and the weekend following is monumental for teens. For many, it is their first taste of freedom and independence. That is why it is so important that you take the time to have this conversation with them beforehand, and a follow-up chat post-prom weekend wouldn’t hurt either.
Take them out for another lunch or dinner date (or phone date) and ask them how it went. Again, they will most likely be more willing to open up to you than their parents, and allowing them to do so will only encourage them to continue to be honest about whatever experiences await them in the future.
Published: April 5, 2017