Focus on the Family
Jim: First of all, try to avoid making a big issue of her disappointment. Prom night is one of the most overhyped experiences of adolescence. Your daughter’s friends, the media and the prevailing culture have all told her that she’s missing out on the biggest evening of her life, and it probably won’t do much good to try to convince her otherwise. But it’s just as unhelpful to say or do anything that might foster or prolong her melancholy mood.
That’s not to say that you should ignore or make light of her feelings. The emotions she’s going through are very real, and they have nothing to do with the intrinsic value of the prom. They’re primarily related to her sense of self-worth. So be sensitive. Don’t try to apply a quick-fix solution. Give her time to be sad and withdrawn. Back off if you get the impression that she’s unwilling to discuss the matter.
When she does come to the point of opening up, take time to listen. Reaffirm her as a person, reinforce the importance of character as opposed to mere popularity and social standing, and remind her that she will have something to offer a fortunate young man when the time is right. And as opportunities arise, help her gain a more realistic view of events like the prom.
On a more practical level, you might consider recommending an alternate activity for the evening. If some of her friends are free, host a movie night. If everybody else is at the prom, propose a “Dad date” at a location of her choosing. If she decides to stay home, encourage her to call a friend far away (and don’t worry about the minutes). And whatever you do, take pains to reassure her of your love.
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Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family, host of the Focus on the Family radio program, and a husband and father of two. (Submit your questions to: ask@FocusOnTheFamily.com) COPYRIGHT 2012 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY, COLORADO SPRINGS, CO 80995 INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT SECURED.ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. DISTRIBUTED BY UNIVERSAL UCLICK 1130 Walnut St. Kansas City, MO 64106; 816-581-7500