Parenting Dilemma

Sometimes parenting decisions are real rocks in hard places. You want to give your kid a chance. You want to give them some freedoms and some rewards. But you also want, nay need, to hold the line on your principles and standards. In the midst, you want to be reasonable and flexible.

And sometimes all of that is a bunch of hooey because you still have to make a decision.

Hope was invited to prom by a friend. She doesn’t have many friends, very, very few. I also know that this friendship teeters on more than friendship.

So here’s the deal: I have long had this lovely fantasy of my daughter going to a formal. She went to one in 8th grade and it was so much fun helping her get ready. My daughter is not girly; I manage to wrangle her into a dress once or twice a year. So, the selfish stage mom wannabe in me is like:


The more realistic part of me is like um, she’s in 10th grade, I know she’s feeling this kid, I said no dating until she’s 16 and she ain’t 16 yet, and she doesn’t even LIKE the girly rituals involved in prom.

Then I think about how hard it seems for Hope to make friends, how many Friday and Saturdays she just sits around watching K-dramas because there were no invitations to go anyway or do anything. I think about my hopes and dreams for her to be socially integrated and to be happy.

And I soften and try to imagine the scenarios that would allow me to still say yes. Get all the schoolwork done. Stick to the chore list. Stretch and go to the weekly Korean language meetups I found for her.

I start to wonder if she can legit do the things I ask. She doesn’t do them on a regular basis on a good day, so am I knowingly setting her up to fail? Her failure would make my life easier, but make her feel horrible.

So…I’m back to just saying no when I’m fighting so hard to say yes. Prom is a special occasion. It is meant for seniors; juniors get to go because they raise money to host the event. It is a rite of passage that marks the end of high school. Going with an upperclassman is a privilege, it’s not a right. Hope’s time will come, but that time is not now.

So, I need to put my fantasies about dress and shoe shopping and hair and makeup back in my emotional shoebox and put it back up in the closet. It is too early to allow those thoughts to bloom.

And even with a decision, my heart hurts. I know this will hurt; that it will enrage Hope and then I’ll have to deal with that. I know the rage will underscore the fact that she isn’t ready for such an event.

I’ll try to find something interesting for us to do that day; something fun and something distracting.

Sometimes parenting really sucks.


About AdoptiveBlackMom

I'm a single Black professional woman living in the DC area. I adopted my now adult daughter in 2014, and this blog chronicles my journey. Feel free to contact me at, on Facebook at Adoptive Black Mom, and on Twitter @adoptiveblkmom. ©, 2013-2022. All rights reserved. (Don't copy my ish without credit!) View all posts by AdoptiveBlackMom

6 responses to “Parenting Dilemma

  • soundtek

    Ive been reading a while but never commented…. Im also an adoptive mom but not to a teenager yet, so I may have no idea what Im talking about….

    Is there any way that this prom could be like a reward for Hope? I know its a HUGE deal to be asked when you aren’t a junior or senior – and with that comes major popularity points, which is the currency of high school, so this could really help Hope get a better start getting to know people and making more friends

    maybe let her go, but she has to do certain things to gain that privilege and then she has an early curfew – maybe get to go to prom and then to eat and then straight home? or do you think she would abuse that?

    Im just asking if maybe this would be a positive step in showing Hope that you trust her and letting her earn that trust? Would help in bonding doing the things to get ready (buying a dress, doing makeup)?

    of course, you know better than anyone what would work best for Hope and for you, so if this is not a good idea, just ignore me…. I was just wondering if maybe the pros outweighed the cons for this one special occasion

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      Thanks so much for your note! 🙂
      All the things you’ve mentioned are reasons I desperately tried to rationalize to say yes. I wanted to figure out a way that would make this work for her. But the truth is that Hope seems to have spent most of her “stick-to-it-tiveness” on surviving her years in care. Even with big rewards at the end of something she has a hard time staying motivated to achieve that thing. I really was so afraid that she would self-sabatoge or just fail to do the things required of her. Failure is always worse than hearing me say no. 😦 Part two of this story is coming soon! 🙂

  • Celeste

    My daughter is only 6 but we have many behavior and emotional struggles. I love reading your blog and learn so much from you and Hope. Ohhh I WISH she could go to prom, but I believe you when you say it wouldn’t work out. It really hurts! I hope someday Hope can read your blog and understand on another level how much you love her.

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      ❤ Thanks so much for reading ad commenting Celeste! I really wanted to say yes, but it just wasn't right for her right now. I want to take her shopping!!!!! She has this beautiful figure and I would love to just dress her, but she's a jeans and tee kinda girl. 🙂

      I am really, really honest with her so while she was disappointed and kind of mad at first, she seemed to understand.

      Hang in there with your daughter. I know it's tough but you got this! 🙂

  • HerdingChickens

    Oh man. That is so hard. You are the only one who knows what your daughter is developmentally ready for. Goodness knows our kids will sabotage themselves whenever possible to reinforce a self-image of failure and/or aloneness.

    With that said, I was a prom junkie in high school. I went to somebody’s prom all 4 years. The trick was dating older guys. However, at that time “dating” meant going bowling or to the mall with 10 or so friends. And I had a secure history of attachment. It makes me sad to think that my daughter will not have that easy trust in friends or boyfriends as she gets older.

    We just keep going with what we’ve got, don’t we? Stay strong, Mama!

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