How to Survive Your Teen's Prom

Prom season arrives bigger and more complicated every spring.  Mighty Mommy has 6 practical tips to help you and your child through this exciting (and nerve wracking) rite of passage.

Cheryl Butler
5-minute read
Episode #278

If you’ve got kids who are juniors and seniors in high school, you're probably heading into the social highlight of their entire school year—prom!   

Teens are feverishly texting each other about the perfect dress, glamorous hair styles, long bouquet or wrist corsage, traditional tux or tails, limo or daddy’s car, the pre-prom party, a professional make-up artist, what if no one asks me, will I get a promposal, or have to ask someone as a friend - and on and on and on

Welcome to 21st century prom, in which all the hype and consumerism has taken over what should simply be a fun-filled night of everlasting memories.

If you and your teen are stressed out about this rite of passage, take a deep breath and relax.  Mighty Mommy  has weathered 7 prom seasons and is going to share 6 practical tips that will help you weather the storm.>

Tip #1: Romantic Prom Date Not Required

No parent likes to see their kid struggle socially, especially during the popular prom season.  Sure there will be plenty of kids who have been dating prior to prom and will therefore go as a couple, but in today’s high school scene, a romantic date just isn’t necessary for a teen to fit in and have a great time at the prom. 

In fact, having a date doesn't always make the night more fun—and having fun is exactly what prom is all about. So if you see that the timing just isn’t right for your child to hook up with a romantic date in time for prom, encourage him or her to go anyway—either with a group of friends or with a pal as a “friend couple.”  

See also: 5 Tips to Help Kids Handle Disappointment


My daughter is a senior this year and she's going to prom with one of her best guy friends. She’s just as excited as her girlfriends who have romantic dates.  She’ll still be making awesome memories and won’t feel left out because she’s choosing to go on her own terms.

Tip #2: Prom on a Budget

Last year, USA Today reported that prom spending was on the rise averaging $1,139 per family. Mighty Mommy vowed that this would not happen on her watch!  

With 7 proms under my belt, I know how tough it is to control the costs associated with the event. The solution is to sit down with your son or daughter well in advance and come up with a reasonable prom budget.  And I’ve got just the tool to help—the Plan’it Prom app. 

Plan’it Prom is the definitive prom planning and budgeting app for students and parents, incorporating a prom count down, timeline, budget calculator, and budget health meter into a layout that is fun and easy to use. The app has a social sharing capability too so teens can take and share photos of the dress that they picked out or the corsage that they are interested in.  My son and his friends are using it and he actually comparison shopped for his girlfriend’s flowers saving over $30 on a bouquet!

Tip #3: No Professional Photos

The best kinds of photographs aren't ones that are staged by a cheesy photographers and cost an arm and a leg. They're the ones you take impromptu, laughing with friends and capturing memories. Thanks to apps like Instagram, you can even take pictures on your cell phone and make them look professional and beautiful with a few simple clicks. 

My kids' school sets up a large, informal photo shoot in a local park the evening of prom.  This allows any parents who want to come and see their kids and their friends the opportunity to do so in a group setting which puts the students and the parents at ease.  It’s also a chance for parents to mingle with one another and reminisce about their own proms. During this time, parents and students are snapping away, allowing everyone a huge pool of photos to choose from, many of which are posted to Facebook and other social media sites before the kids hit the dance floor.


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.