Friday, October 21, 2005

Important Issue for Parents of Teenagers

Today's Family Research Council "Culture Facts" email includes the following article. It raises some very important issues for Christian parents in our Northeast Jackson culture. Read and reflect. Here's the link.

Prom: What's the Responsible Choice?
Issue No.: 22
by: James Sunday

The recent decision by Principal Kenneth M. Hoagland of Kellenberg Memorial High School on Long Island to cancel the spring prom has created a whirlwind of controversy. In a letter to parents this fall, Principal Hoagland stated his primary reason for canceling the prom: "It is not primarily the sex/booze/drugs that surround this event, as problematic as they might be; it is rather the flaunting of affluence, assuming exaggerated expenses, a pursuit of vanity for vanity's sake - in a word, financial decadence."

With the issues of financial decadence, drinking, drugs, and sex on prom night, perhaps the time has come to rethink and retake prom night. So what are some of the risks that teenages face on prom night?

A new survey entitled Teens Report Pressure to Engage in High-Risk Behaviors on Prom and Graduation Nights found:

45 percent report pressure to drink and drive or ride with someone who has been drinking. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than half of all fatal traffic crashes on typical prom and graduation weekends involve alcohol.

"The 21 drinking age is based on scientific research: We know that the earlier teens drink, the more likely they are to become alcohol dependent, and to drive drunk," said Wendy Hamilton, MADD National President. "More than ever, during prom and graduation season, parents need to be vigilant and insist that their teens never drink alcohol before 21, and that they not ride in a car with friends who have been drinking." 48 percent of teens expect less than half of their peers will buckle up on prom and graduation night.

What about the risk of teenage sex on prom night?

"Prom and sex are too often linked in the minds of young people seeking independence and maturity in adult behavior," said Stephen Wallace, chairman and chief executive officer of SADD. "Along with this rite of passage can come significant pressure for both boys and girls to engage in activities they may not really want and may not be ready for."

More than one-third of sexually active 15- to 17-year-olds say having sex often leads to depression (30.7 percent) and loss of self-respect (38.8 percent). Almost one-third of sexually active 15- to 17-year-olds say the decisions they make about sex cause them to feel stressed (29.7 percent), the study stated. The study also found that the relationship between teens and their parents is typically the largest factor contributing to their overall mood and resistance to destructive decision-making. More than half of teens (53.6 percent) think that losing their parents' trust is a likely outcome of being caught having sex, and almost one third (27.6 percent) cite "pleasing parents" as a reason not to have sex. So with all the dangers and risks involved in prom night activites, what are parents and teens to do?

Perhaps Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America in her 2003 article entitled Prom Promiscuities says it best: "It is time for adults to speak truth to teens. It is time to take back the prom, time to protect our teens, and restore their dreams of romantic "promise."

For parents and educators that may mean cancelling prom, just like Principal Hoagland has done. Isn't cancelling prom a small price to pay for the safety of America's teenagers?


Anonymous said...


Prom night for me was tense with fun and anticipation of beautiful dresses and leering guys. Can I dance without being a klutz? Booze was not an issue and nor was sex. Maybe some heavier than normal necking at most!

My children's generation had limo's and fancier dinners with more expensive dresses or tuxes but still it was a night of tension from the expectations of a really high class "evening out". Since sports was such a basic part of their lives, drinking was considered bad and sex was something others might do, as they were just not ready.

If those perimeters are gone and the sex and booze is in, then out with the prom, for sure!

(By the way, I am surprised at so many couches in the Youth House. I would think comfy arm chairs gathered together to play video games and watch TV or movies a little less "cozy".)

Anonymous said...

I totally agree it happend to my girlfriend and now I have problems with her for not waiting for me and now we are breaking up cuz of that