L.G. asks from Hollywood, MD on April 08, 2008
Growing up my parents did not pay for Prom or any related expenses. What should I do if my daughter is expecting us to pay for everything (dress, hair, limo, flowers, pictures, etc.). This is expensive for us and something we do not want to start a tradition of doing in our family. My teenager is very upset by this, especially since "all" her friend's parents are paying for this. I asked her to write a budget and she got annoyed that I would ask her to do that. Any ideas on what to do?
C.H. answers from Washington DC on April 09, 2008
Keep up the good work! You're raising a self-sufficient, money-concious child that will appreciate what she has. It's not easy and she will fight you. My parents did the same to me, and I will do the same with my 3 when they are that age. Just because everyone has or does something, doesn't mean they get to, too. As long as she is working, she should save the money for this. If she is not working, you may want to give her a reasonable (frugal) budget that she can work within - and nothing extra. The only thing necessary for prom is a dress. If she has all of this for prom, then what will make her wedding special?
L.W. answers from Norfolk on April 09, 2008
well if she has a job.. maybe you all could agree to match whatever she can save... that way she is still responsible and will work hard to save. I would also explain the situation... we just don't really have the money... she would just have to deal with that. Good luck
B.B. answers from Washington DC on April 09, 2008
I guess it's time for a job? This way she gets what she wants - Or does she want it bad enough? If prom is to close to make that happen, maybe she would be able to line up a job before prom, you guys front her the money and she pays you back with money from her job? Prom for my daughter was $600. She worked two months, part-time prior to prom to pay for it. She was happy and got exactly what she wanted.
A.V. answers from Washington DC on April 08, 2008
"All the other parents are doing it?" Makes me laugh. Of course not. We aren't. Our senior is paying his own way (although we've decided that if it comes up, we'll pitch in on a few things to ensure he's safe for the night, like the Post-Prom party tickets).
Hold to your values. My parents didn't shell out oodles of money, either. My mom paid for my dress. I went to Prom in my date's car and we ate with friends at a local Chinese restaurant. I think in some ways, Prom has gotten out of hand.
If she doesn't want to budget with you, she apparently doesn't really want your money. I'd tell her that if she wants help (not a blank check), she needs to sit down and discuss it with you, or she's on her own.
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P.P. answers from Washington DC on April 08, 2008
Set the rules now. If you can help her, by all means do so - but with structure you set. Get a budget and have her "earn" the items. You could have her do extra projects around the house. I have my girls pay half of expensive items they want that aren't necessities. (with chore chart money,etc) I always make sure they get what they want (within reason) but I make them put toward extra things so they appreciate it and think before asking.
Annoyed teenage girl? No kidding, really? Get used to it. If they aren't annoyed you aren't doing your job. My soon to be 15 year old is the one "working" me right now. She is getting a job this summer. As I told her when she tried telling me I'm cheap..."You want too much, you need a job." (I also told her if she called me cheap in front of her friend again I would show her cheap, she was trying to shame me into doing what she wanted. Which btw was buying her shorts on October just because they were on sale-shorts, in October when I was busy buying her fall clothes)
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T.B. answers from Norfolk on April 09, 2008
here is my response to my son when he says "all the other kids...etc" I tell him I am raising HIM...not THEM! anyhoo...my son went to TWO ring dances this year...I paid for the tux...he purchased the tickets, dinner and limo. We split the responsibility within reason! He had to use his own MONEY and it was hilarious to see someone who hates to part with his hard earned money make BUYING decisions!
Keep it simple and choose your battles! hopefully she will only go to PROM once!
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S.T. answers from Washington DC on April 09, 2008
so, where did your daughter get all these unrealistic expectations of what your limited family budget can provide?
i find the word 'NO' to be a very useful one.
employ it often enough when they're young and you almost never have to use it when they're teenagers.
at this point, use it anyway and resign yourself to having an upset and annoyed teenager.
i assure you she'll survive it.
J.W. answers from Washington DC on April 09, 2008
Does your daughter have a job? My kids had jobs, we could not afford to pay for Prom, so they paid. I bought the dresses--but only from a discount store--we sure didn't pay more than $100 (and one was less than $20). Your daughter needs to begin to realize the old "money doesn't grow on trees" thing--just because Mom and Dad pay the bills doesn't mean they can pay for everything.
If she doesn't have a job, then you need to take a different approach--like making a budget and figuring out how much she can spend on each item. That's an adult reasonable thong to do. Kids are affected by peer pressure (everyone else's parents are paying--which I'll bet they aren't)parents should be too old for that. Isn't having teens fun????
C.D. answers from Norfolk on April 10, 2008
A million years ago, I paid for my dress and my date paid for my flowers; my mom did my hair and took pictures as we were leaving in his beat up high school guy car.
Last year was my daughter's prom. We found a great vintage dress in a consignment shop, she spray painted an old pair of heels silver (dancer trick), borrowed a beaded purse and fancy barrettes from a neighbor who was excited as we were about decking the girl out. She was going in a group that all bought their own flowers and split the cost of a ride. Neither of us thought the price of the photos the official photographer was charging was worth it, so we took pictures before and they all brought cameras there.
Your daughter has to know that "all" of her friends parents aren't paying for everything, usually. Although my kids go to a school where some parents do, most of them have more sense.
S.G. answers from Washington DC on April 11, 2008
Greetings!! Does your daughter have a job first of all? If not, then this is what I would do. Regardless if my parents didn't do for me I would do what I can to help my daughter for her prom. 1.You set the budget. 2. You tell her what you can afford. As for her writing a budget...NOT!!! You know what you can do and what you can't.It's alot of things that you can do to cut cost. Her hair you can set it yourself. Her dress you can find cheap gowns. Her flower. If she has a date then her date takes care of her flower and the pictures. Tradition shouldn't have anything to do with it. Last!! Why does she have to ride in a Limo. A parent can drive her or if she has a date. Tradition shouldn't have anything to do with it. You are the parent you set the budget.
N.B. answers from Washington DC on April 09, 2008
Hi, L. - I agree with you. Your daughter should share in the expenses. It is absurd what it costs now for prom night! My feeling is that parents who hand their kids everything on a silver platter are not doing them any favors. How does that prepare them for the real world - especially today's world? Stick to your guns. Don't worry about what all the other parents are doing; that could very well be a line. Or maybe the other parents don't care about being in debt & charging everything. I would always say to my daughter, "I feel sorry for them that their parents don't care any more about them than that!" She appreciates now how she was raised. Decide what you can afford & do what you feel is right. I think we did the dress and limo & figured the "extras" had to be up to her. It was still a chunk of change, but she learned a good lesson. If you want nice things in life, you have to work for them! Good luck. N. B.