Broken Promises & Hurt Feelings
Q. My 17-year-old daughter and her classmate had an arrangement to attend prom together "as friends." However, two weeks before the dance he began seeing another classmate of theirs. He picked my daughter up on prom night, but that was the most interaction they had all evening, she said. He barely talked to her, and spent the entire prom laughing and dancing with his girlfriend.
Upon my daughter's return home, I was horrified to learn that he had left her at prom while he drove off to attend a party with his girlfriend. My daughter sat up that night crying, as I tried to comfort her. Should she confront him about his actions, and if so, what should she say? As her concerned parent, should I inform his parents of his irresponsible and rude behavior toward my daughter, and if so, how?
A. There is no obvious resolution to this unfortunate situation. There are all sorts of options which you and your daughter can explore. Before deciding how to proceed, however, wait until your daughter is no longer emotional. Also, resist coaching her to a resolution until you yourself are thinking clearly.
The job of parents is to protect children, physically and emotionally. This young man violated your daughter's emotional well-being. It was an insult for him to ignore your daughter once they arrived at the prom and unthinkable of him to leave her, going off to another party with the other girl.
It's a normal response to want to tell him off and even go to his parents. You might be thinking, "I'll tell them a thing or two. He can't get by with treating my daughter this way. He owes my daughter an apology and his parents need to know the lousy way he treated her." While all of this is true, doing so might make the situation at school with these classmates even worse.
How does your daughter wish the evening had gone? That he had set aside his feelings for this other girl and engaged in a good "friendly" time with your daughter? Of course you do. This young man did not have the maturity to behave in this manner. He didn't want to un-invite her so he took her and then focused his attention on the other girl. Up until the day of the prom, he was probably hoping that your daughter would decline the invitation, pick up with someone else once at the prom, or at least have some fun at the prom with the others there.