Helping Your Daughter Choose Her Prom Dress

A mother / daughter relationship can often be tested when Prom comes around. This article will help you survive shopping for the dress.

A mother / daughter relationship can often be tested when Prom comes around. Among many things, one of the challenges can be helping your daughter choose a prom dress. For some mothers, this is a fun time, even a bonding experience, but for most it can be a stressful event. Here are some ways to help you to help your daughter prepare for her big night.

If you are fortunate enough that your daughter wants you to go shopping with her, take her up on it. You will have more input if you are there at time of purchase. Plan a day that will work for both of you and get an idea of what stores she'd like to shop at. Now comes the hard part. If you are on a budget you need to let your daughter know ahead of time. Make it very clear how much money you have to spend on not only the dress, but shoes and accessories too. If you think your daughter may try to weasel more money out of you when you are actually in the store, you may want to consider this idea. You can give her the money in cash before going shopping and tell her when it runs out she doesn't get anymore from you. This will give her the responsibility of keeping track of the money. She will feel like you trust her and treating her more like an adult (obviously not a full adult, otherwise she'd be paying for it all herself). If you do this, don't nag her about what things cost while shopping. You have given her that responsibility so let it go and she'll have to live with the consequences. When planning your shopping day, suggest buying the dress first, that way the worst consequences she'll suffer if she doesn't watch her money is having wear shoes and jewelry from home. But don't mention the second part to her or she'll feel like you are patronizing her.

When actually shopping for the dress, a mother's opinion often differs from the daughter's. Expect this and be prepared. You may not agree on color or style, which is fine and you'll have to learn to just let this one go. However, a mother has a right to voice her opinion about her daughter's modesty. No mother wants her daughter to look too sexy. Truth is, mothers are trying to protect their daughters from those teenage guys who are greatly lacking self-control. While you're daughter may not fully accept this fact, just remember that if you let her show too much she is likely to find out first hand why you didn't want her in that dress. You'd rather she not find out. So, what to do to help your daughter understand and pick a suitable dress? First, you are going to have to realize your daughter will probably want something form fitting so don't expect to convince her into wearing an old lady smock. Be aware of the styles that are in fashion and that you may not like them. But if a dress is too low cut, shows too much leg, or isn't likely to stay in place while dancing you should step in and say something. You're likely to get a "Mom, you just don't understand," but it's okay, she'll get over it. If possible, get her father involved. If she feels she needs her dad's approval on her dress she is likely to pick something less revealing. Also, you may want to buy her a nice shawl, wrap, or cardigan sweater to go with her dress. While she isn't likely to wear it for long, at least the option is there. The best thing of all is to expect the same standards of modesty from her as you always do.


Sometimes body image issues come up when shopping for a prom dress. It doesn't matter what size or shape your daughter is, all girls have something they don't like about themselves physically. When she brings it up (and she is likely to) go ahead and do the mom encouragement thing, "No you look fine" but be very careful to not make her feel stupid about her being insecure. If you do that she will never confide in you again. If you see a dress that really isn't flattering on her it's fine to be like "That one doesn't look as good on you as this one does," but always make it about the dress, not her. Remind her that it's about finding the right dress for her, not her having the right body for the dress. Also, when she is trying on dresses encourage her to pick out something she will be comfortable wearing all night. She can look beautiful and be comfortable at the same time.

Now that you have survived the dress shopping, get ready for the rest of it. Prom isn't over yet. But be sure to take lots of pictures of your daughter leaving for prom in her beautiful dress. Hopefully you will be able to look back at the whole experience fondly.

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