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Prom Season and National Teen Pregnancy Month – Our Mission is to equip, empower and encourage teens to make healthy choices through life-skills, relationship and character building education

Written by Donna Golob. Posted in Health & Wellness

Published on May 20, 2015 with No Comments

Is it a coincidence that these two high school topics are focused on during the same month?  I don’t think so!  Making it through the junior and senior year of high school is an exciting and potentially dangerous time for our kids.  Consider the stress: Peers (#1 stressor for teens), relationships, school, sports, jobs, family, media influences…. The list goes on and on and now comes May and the prom!

With prom season once again in full-swing, there’s a new prom ingredient that’s costing our kids lots of money, and is worth our time and attention. This new prom phenomenon is known as the “promposal.” A promposal is an elaborate invitation to the prom that is much like a carefully planned and executed marriage proposal. Teens are employing surprises, staged events, billboards, and jumbotron screens in an effort to one-up and out-do everyone else. There’s even a Pinterest page featuring promposal ideas. A new nationwide survey by the folks at Visa tell us that the promposal is costing the average American household with teenagers a whopping $324 this year. In fact, the promposal price now makes up almost a third of the total cost per person for attending a prom. Quick math: That’s $972 for PROM!  Is it any wonder that the average cost of a wedding today is $28,400!  Allowing our teens to overspend now sets them up for high and unrealistic expectations and financial disaster as adults!

The question we must ask is how much is too much? And where will this all stop? Once again, we recommend that you encourage your kids to exercise wise decision making practices as they make their plans for the prom.  Be a part of the discussion; help them with budgeting; then don’t forget to talk about prom behavior.  This is another opportunity for discussion around relationships, drug & alcohol use, sexual activity, and overall healthy relationships and choices.

It should be no surprise that the hypersexualization of our culture along with the rapid spread of pornography has led to more sexually aggressive behavior among young people who have been nurtured by these messages. Now, the CDC is reporting that 21% of high school girls say they have been physically or sexually assaulted by someone they dated, a figure that is 2X higher than what was previously estimated. In addition, 10% of high school boys report being physically or sexually assaulted by a dating partner. You may be thinking, “not my child” but let’s be very honest and careful here.  The average age that a child first views pornography is only 11.  93% of boys and 62% of girls see Internet porn before the age of 18!

Parents, we must take the time to share our standards and expectations with our kids. We must counter the negative influence of a sexually aggressive culture by pointing our kids to healthy role models and setting clear and defined boundaries.  Statistics clearly show that teen behavior is directly related to what they feel their parents beliefs are around relationships, sexual activity and drug and alcohol use.  Set the standards high.  Define the boundaries.  They need to understand what a healthy relationship looks like and how to recognize a violent and abusive relationship.  Most importantly, they need to know that you are there to help them, and that they need to get out of dangerous relationships and environment. They must know that they can talk to you about concerns they have without fear of punishment or judgement.

 

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About Donna Golob

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Donna Golob is the executive director for A Positive Approach to Teen Health (PATH). For more information, visit www.pathblazer.org.

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