Prom night counsel offered to teens, parents in HomeLife
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Is prom night an evening of romance or trouble?
That's a question asked in the April 1999 issue of HomeLife magazine, which quotes one youth expert as saying the "pressure to perform sexually ... is often a part of prom night protocol."
Bob DeMoss, author of the book “Learn to Discern,” warns that many teens lose their virginity in the midst of prom activities because there is an expectation for sexual "payback" due to the financial costs of this once-in-a-lifetime date. The HomeLife article estimates that as much as $1,200 for the night is spent for some couples.
In addition, the article cites U.S. government statistics that reveal, on an average prom weekend, 5,202 teenagers are injured and 48 are killed in automobile crashes. Of those deaths, 36 percent are alcohol-related, and there's a growing trend among parents who, believing their children will drink anyway, rent hotel rooms for them to keep the children off the road -- which further encourages sexual activity.
The article suggests several Christian alternatives to high-school prom nights, including some used by Dorothy Patterson, wife of Southern Baptist Convention President Paige Patterson, when her children were students at First Baptist Academy in Dallas.
Patterson describes prom night as “that close interaction with a member of the opposite sex, a sentimental time when [their] passions are flowing and [they] are not really focused on the boundaries that the Lord has placed on [their] lives.”
Transforming the night into a family event is what Patterson suggests, replacing prom pressures with activities that show teenagers that their parents care for them and the things they do. The article gives examples of mock trips around the world, mystery theatres, cruise ship-type dinners or even something as simple as hosting teenagers in homes before and after the prom.
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Lawrence is a freelance writer with HomeLife magazine.