New York, NY (rushprnews) April 25, 2007 -– It is that time of year again.  Prom season.  What used to mean a big poufy dress and a tacky corsage has evolved into something entirely different. 

From stretch Hummers to designer dresses, overnight stays in hotels to all night parties, prom today can be high dollar, high style and high drama.  According to leading teen expert Debra Beck “While the prom can present myriad parental stressors, this is an excellent time for parents to open up a dialogue with their teens, set boundaries, and communicate.  Prom can be a big event, especially for teen girls.

There is a great deal of pressure to find just the right dress, the perfect date and make a spectacular entrance. As a parent, it is crucial to use this time to communicate with your teen about issues such as self-esteem, money, responsibility and decision-making.”  

Beck, author of My Feet Aren’t Ugly: A Girl’s Guide to Loving Herself from the Inside Out (Out (Beaufort Books, April, 2007, ISBN: 978-0-825305-42-9, $12.95)  offers the following tips on some of the most common parenting qualms, questions and quandaries related to prom: 

Q:           What if my daughter wants to wear a dress I think is too low cut, too sexy or just inappropriate?

A:            If your daughter’s dress choice is leaning in the direction of inappropriate, the parent can ask why it is important for her to show so much skin. Parents need to understand that it is a big night and girls want to look their best. However, it is a good time to talk about how they feel about themselves. If a girl wants to show a lot of skin, it’s to get attention and that they probably have a low self image. So, this is a good platform to talk to her about self image, without making her feel judged.

 Q:           How do I set limits on spending?

A:            Setting a limit on spending is imperative. Parents should strive to help teens realize that it’s not about how much money they spend. I interviewed a number of girls and a few said that prom was becoming the next Academy Awards – who has the most expensive dress, arrives in the most fabulous car, or the most over-the-top accessories.

Help your daughter with realizing this is for show and has nothing to do with how much fun she will have. If your teen wants to spend an enormous amount on prom, this is a good opportunity to ask why.

Why is it important to her? The more opportunities to communicate with your teen the better relationship you will develop — as long as you are not telling her what to do.

Q:           What if my daughter wants to get a hotel room for the night ?
A-Hotel rooms are a pretty standard part of many prom experiences now, and it can be a huge liability for the parent who is reserving the room. As a parent, explain that it’s not a liability you’re not willing to take. Hotel parties can get out of control and underage kids may be drinking.

Prom is a great opportunity for parents to address the issues around drinking underage. Let your child know that if they do drink even though you advise against it, that you are available to pick them up.

You can talk to your teens about not drinking, but the realty is they may. If they do, you do want them to have the option of calling you to pick them up. You do not want them drinking and driving.
Q:           How can I handle all of the drama that seems to come along with prom – date dilemmas, etc.?

A: Let your daughter know you are available. If this has ever happened to you or a friend, tell her your story, and how it felt. Try not to tell her it’s not big deal, because it is a big deal. Telling her your story lets her know that she’s not alone. Keep the lines of communication open so she knows she can come to you without judgments or you treating her like a little child.

It is important to educate your teen on life decisions but to let them make the decision. This teaches them to be empowered young adults. If they make a decision that is poor, open it up for discussion on how to change the outcome next time. 

The founder of Spirited Youth, an organization which provides help, support and encouragement for young women, Debra Beck is a devoted mentor, sought-after presenter and leading expert on the issues facing teen girls.  My Feet Aren’t Ugly is available in better bookstores nationwide.

To request a review copy of My Feet Aren’t Ugly, or an interview with author Debra Beck, please contact Maryglenn McCombs by phone – (615) 297-9875, or by email –

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