Dear Straight Talk: My daughter, 17, is attending prom. She is curious about my prom experience, but I’m not sure I should tell her. I wasn’t popular in high school, but right before graduating, a boy I’d just met asked me to his school’s prom. WOW! I was making it into prom after all. It turned out to be a triple date — to the Motel 6 with a trunk load of booze! I was blind to the plan.
I didn’t sleep with my date, even though the other couples pressured me. I was too insecure to ask to be taken home, or, duh — to PROM! Instead, I got totally plastered and wasn’t taken home until 5 a.m. The panel probably wants me to share this, but what does Lauren say about “sensible” sharing for this and other wild times? — Toledo, Ohio
Dear Toledo: You underestimate what young people really want — which are sensible adults, who don’t share too much. The panel nailed every shade of grey on this important question. — Lauren
Taylor, 16, Santa Rosa: There is definitely a line. Sometimes when my parents share too much, I feel like I’m not living up to their “exciting” lives, or, I interpret their stories as permission to do something and then I get in trouble.
Katelyn, 18, Azusa: Parents shouldn’t share their “wilder” experiences unless it’s to guide you to better choices.
Brandon, 21, Mapleton, Maine: Hello?! Your daughter doesn’t need to know you were a skank on prom night! You want to garner respect as a parent, not a party buddy. I’m sure my dad had plenty of wild nights with my mom (and other women). OMG, I can’t visualize this anymore! Thankfully, he hasn’t jeopardized our relationship with stories about dirty dancing to “Grease” or his auto-erotic asphyxiation phase (I made that up, Dad).
Molly, 21, Berkeley: Yes, teenagers are highly influenced by parents, but they still are their own people. If told in the context of making a bad choice, a story can be educational. Let her know if she’s ever being pressured to have sex, she can call you (even when she’s drunk) and you will help her, not punish her.
Ashley, 25, Auburn: I was determined to do anything I felt like whether my parents had done it or not. Because my dad told me everything about his past and my mom barely said a peep, I could talk to him, but not her. The best thing to do: Don’t reveal everything, but let her know you’ve been through stuff and are there for her.
Breanne, 15, Waterville, Ohio: My mom was a partier and not interested in school. She’s told me stories of waking up to awful hangovers, or skipping class. She never made any horrible mistakes, and is way past this stage now, but she wants an open relationship with me, so she shares these things because she trusts I’m NOT following in her footsteps.
Ryann, 16, Tustin: I’m close with my parents and while there are some stories they probably keep to themselves, others they share as learning experiences. It’s all dependent on how you reveal things. Glorifying your partying isn’t cool, but if you emphasize your mistakes and what you learned from them, it can benefit both of you.
Straight Talk is a nonprofit that tackles youth issues. Visit www.straighttalktnt.org.