Homecoming/Prom Question?

As a parent, if a senior asked out a freshman or sophomore, or vice versa, would you have a problem with it?

What if the senior was 18 or 19 and the freshman was either 13 or 14?

Now, the following factors include:

  • Being held back a grade level
  • Skipping a grade level
  • An early or late birthday
  • etc.

When there is a significant age difference in the couple, there is generally a power imbalance. There is also the possibility of allegations of statutory rape, even if the participants are both enthusiastic about the activity, just saying.

I’m a teacher, and every senior/freshman relationship I’ve seen has been problematic. I’ve never seen it end well and the dynamics are always completely off. One person was just in middle school last year, one is about to go to college next year.

At my kids school 9th grade was at the middle school, not the high school, for the reasons mentioned above. 9th graders could be on the high school sports and speech/academic teams, but could not otherwise take part in the high school social scene.

Our school didn’t allow seniors to take freshmen or sophomores. Another school didn’t allow seniors to bring anyone over the age of 19.

Personally I would not have allowed my 13/14 year old to go to senior prom.

I typed up a whole response and then realized what I really wanted to say boils down to:

  1. Yes, I’d have a problem.
  2. Gross!

I dated (briefly) a junior when I was a freshmen. We were fairly close in age due to how our birthdays fell and my parents liked him.

An 18/19 year old with a 13/14 year old? Absolutely not. Nope. There is absolutely no reason for an adult to be with someone who’s barely hit puberty.

One of my friends let her 14 year old freshman go to Prom with an 18 year old senior. This was a date not a “ relationship”. She and the boy were friends and in band together all year . He was socially awkward and had never invited a girl to a dance before. All of the other kids in the group were band kid who she knew well and was friends with. Under those circumstances I could see why one would agree. The girl had a nice time at ptom and she and the boy kept in touch and she attended the same college as him. They remain friends.

My third took a freshman to prom when he was a junior and she was finishing her freshman year, but they went in a group. They were friends and still are six years later. 13 years old or even 14 going to a senior prom, I’d say no if I was the mom. Even if the 13/14 year old was “accelerated” and a sophomore I think it’s too young for a senior prom.

I can see attending as buddies when they’re all in a bigger friend group. That’s the way our D handled such events and everyone had a nice time and most of the folks weren’t “romantic” with their dates, but just wanting to enjoy spending time with the extended group.

Most of the folks in the group were withing 2 years age difference, eg ages 16-18.

No. Within the high school years, there is not a significant age difference among students. Dating someone in a different grade is common, as the students interact through being in the same clubs, etc.
Our local high school requires parental permission for anyone younger than a sophomore and an interview with the principal for anyone older than high school age to attend prom. That seems reasonable to me.

What does an 18 year old have in common with a 14 year old? That’s a big age difference. Any parents would be crazy to let their 14 year old daughter to go to a prom with an 18 year old guy. It would even be crazier for the guy parents to think it is ok because of potential statutory rape.

I would be concerned about the possibility that the older student would be more likely to have access to alcohol and involve the younger student in a pre- or post-dance social activity at which kids are drinking.

One of the reasons my friend was so comfortable with her daughter attending Senior Prom with this kid was that he had been at their house recently before the dance with a group of band kids. It came up that he had visited England over Spring break with his cousins. My fiends husband asked the kid if he’d gone to a pub. Oh yes he’d really enjoyed paying darts, was the answer. And what did he think of the beer…warm and all. Oh he did not drink alcohol, he’s only 18, he said. Isn’t that the legal age in England, her hubby asked perplexed. “I don’t know it just doesn’t seem right because it’s not legal here” said the kid. Lol! ( Her daughter reported that the groups only vice was pancakes at a all night diner at midnight and that even on his 21st birthday the kid had to be strongly encouraged ( by his parents no less) to have a drink.)

No way! I’d worry about any senior who was so immature he couldn’t find a date his own age and would settle for a 14 year old.

OK, I agree, a 19 year-old senior and a 13 year-old freshman, no. But a flat ban? Not consistent with my experience.

  1. I went to my senior prom (which was not such a big deal) with my best friend's 15 year-old freshman sister. I wasn't 18 yet. I liked her and we always had a nice relationship (and still do, by the way, 44 years later). We both more or less worshiped her brother. I was a relative late-bloomer and she . . . wasn't. The girl I really wanted to take was going with her college boyfriend, and the other girl I sort of wanted to take from another school was ambivalent and said no. The friend's sister was very popular, deservedly so -- pretty, comfortable, and fun to be around. We had a good time. Nothing horrible happened, except that if I had been a little nicer and more mature I would have taken one of my dateless classmates.
  2. A 19 year-old senior asked my son, a 16 year-old sophomore, to be her date for her senior prom. They were independently friends from the school's Academic Olympic team, of which she was the outgoing captain and my son her successor. She was an intense, hypercompetitive, hyperambitious woman on her way to Harvard who frankly scared the pants off of 99% of the boys she came into contact with. But not my son, who thanks to his mother and sister thought that was pretty much what women should be like. He was probably the only boy at the school who ever flirted with her. She obviously enjoyed being with him, and they would banter quite happily. While she was an academic superstar at the school, he had his own status as the top scorer on the AO team and lead in the school play that spring, as well as being a very good student.

There wasn’t any big emotional element. He knew – heck, everyone knew – that she had an enormous, completely unreciprocated crush on her class president/valedictorian/biggest rival, a charismatic closeted gay man who was also headed to Harvard. My son understood that his role as her date was to make sure she had a good time and felt appreciated, and he knew how to do that. He admired a lot of her friends, who tended to be the serious science crowd, and was pleased to get to hang out with them at dinner, etc.

Not only did the evening go fine for them, my son reaped benefits from it for the rest of his high school career. His date was Albanian, and thanks to her academic success was more or less Queen of the Albanian girl contingent at the school. Thanks to her public endorsement of him, my son remained an object of desire for Albanian girls long after she had gone, something he enjoyed a lot.

My mom must have been irresponsible!

I went to prom in 10th grade. I was just 16, and my date was a friend who was 19. We had a great time…as friends. I even went to the day after prom event with him and a few other couples. Most seniors ditched their younger dates for the after prom things.

We were both choir kids. Lots of common friends.

I think this is an “it depends” situation.

@thumper1, the OP’s question regarded an 18 or 19 year old with a 13 or 14 year old. That’s quite a bit different than a 16 year old and 19 year old, though I’m sure some parents would be uncomfortable with even that age difference. But you have to admit that as a general statement, a lot of maturing goes on between year 13 and 16.

I would not allow a 13 year old or 14 year old to go out with an 18 or 19 year old to senior prom. Absolutely not.

I agree. It just isn’t an age appropriate activity for a 13 or 14 year old.

We had a hard rule that S and D could only date one class above and one class below them.
It worked for us.