After my daughter’s disastrous night at her Senior Prom, I’m left wondering, “Is taking these risks really worth it?”

When my daughter had her heart set on going to the Prom, I knew it was risky based on previous outcomes of dances and other school functions.  (See my other post about Prom for the back story.) And, I’m not talking about what most people associate as Prom risks – drinking, drugs, sex or wild parties.  My biggest fear was that she would be isolated, alone and miserable.

I tried to reduce the risk by counseling her about what to expect, ensuring she was going with a group of nice kids, getting her a nice dress and making her look great so she’d fit in, at least on the outside.  She’d been coached on what to do. The rest was up to her, since beyond those aforementioned factors, the situation was out of my control. The evening started well when meeting up at a friend’s house for a dinner, taking photos, everyone complimenting each other. I had high hopes.

However, my biggest fear was confirmed when I picked her up after Prom at 11:30, and she was in tears, not wanting to talk about it.  The only things I could confirm were that a) she was so nervous at the pre-party she didn’t eat; b) she was by herself most of the night; and c) she didn’t dance or actually enjoy herself at all once she got to the dance.  After an emotional, insomniac night spent with my sobbing daughter, I’m left feeling guilty and broken-hearted. I hurt for her and for my own shattered expectations.

Every parent instinctively wants to protect their children from disappointment and unpleasantness. However, we can’t be around them 24/7 and the training wheels have to come off eventually.  There are valuable lessons to be learned from each experience, whether dealing with success or disappointment.  With that said, it doesn’t make it any easier when things go wrong.

Thankfully, this morning she’s in a better frame of mind and can look back on her Prom experience a little more objectively.  Rough night though. Thankfully, she’s looking ahead towards graduation.

If you have experiences to share, please do!  Comment below.  Would love to hear from other parents who are also going through challenges, whether Asperger’s-related or not.

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