Around the country year twelve students are getting ready to sit exams which means one thing…schoolies and after parties. Ok that’s two things but you get my drift. For me school formals conjure up memories of big fringes, taffeta and west coast coolers. That’s right my school formal was all ‘love in the first degree’ back in 1988 on the Gold Coast when ‘schoolies’ was just starting to become a thing.
Bananarama, Cheap Trick, Kylie, and Rick Astley ruled the airwaves and Jag tees, chambray and a Sportsgirl duffle bag were must haves. These days I’m
kinda grown up and now I’m the mum of boys, one whose been through a formal while the other is still waiting for his turn. It’s a stressful time for parents and even more so for the teens.
I don’t have daughters but I was a teen attending a formal once who ‘needed’ false nails, the ‘perfect’ dress, a trial run at makeup, trip to the hairdressers and the coolest car to arrive in. Sound familiar?
Of course my parents didn’t get what the fuss was about, even though I was schooled in the bright lights of the Gold Coast we lived rural where taffeta wasn’t even available! I know right! While I didn’t get all my wishes granted I did have a fab dress complete with puffy shoulders and ruching, slightly crooked false nails and arrived in style sitting in the front seat of a Jag driven by the local doctor!
I didn’t have a date, just a group of friends who just like me were giddy with excitement at the chance to party like it was 1999. The point is, I frocked up, joined my mates and I survived.
Boys on the other hand hire a suit, have a haircut, get mum to order a corsage and get down to the business of organising the after party. Ahhh the after party that’s all about making out, booze and crazy stunts. It can see parents either loading their kids arms with alcohol or lecturing about ‘no drinking’… as if!
Having the talk about alcohol with your teen is tricky especially because they’re teens and didn’t you know they already know ‘everything’ and you know ‘nothing’. We want to protect them, but the truth is they’re going to make their choices which will be influenced more by their mates, quite possibly some alcohol and less by their parents.
Having the responsible drinking talk the week of formal is pretty much too late and your teens are sure to see it as a knee jerk reaction. As parents we need to be smarter than that and start months (even years) in advance to subtly leech our message into their vacant heads.
Once you’ve imparted your wisdom then you need to step back and trust them.
Oh, no one said that part was easy, it’s not, but remember they’re going to do their thing with or without your advice so be cool and relax.
Formals and after parties are the reward and release that your teens deserve after 12 long years in
prison school. It’s a rite of passage and one that will only happen once so chill and allow them to enjoy the crazy before the business of being an adult starts.
Think back to your own formal, I bet you did some risqué things, but I also bet you had a tonne of fun AND survived!
I’m pretty sure at one stage I was sitting in the bathroom sink at the after party trying not to spew while saying messy ‘I love yuse” to the girls who ruled the school. I also remember stripping down to my underwear in the taxi.
No there was no ‘making out’ involved, just a group of giggly, excited girls needing to change out of their formal dresses and into after party wear who couldn’t afford for the taxi meter to run for a second longer than it needed to. After all we were penniless teens and we had to chip in for booze because we had an after party to get to. Sorry parents!
Now pass the Fruity Lexia and turn the cassette over!
What was your school formal or end of year party like? More importantly what did you wear?
Til next time,