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Barbara Greenberg Headshot

Promposals: AMEN!

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The teens are buzzing about it; the prom that is. It is that time of year when high school kids all over the country are hoping and waiting to get invited to the prom. Some of them are even making elaborate plans to invite others. Since there is about one month left to get invited to prom which generally take place at the end of the school year I would love to discuss the elaborate prom invitations which I referred to earlier. These, as many of us know so well, are called promposals. This trend started a few years ago and has demonstrated amazing staying power among our teens. Take a look at a 2014 promposal with the promposer and all.

There is a lot of discussion among parents and educators about whether or not the promposal is a positive or a negative phenomenon. As a psychologist and a lover of all things fun, positive and celebratory I say AMEN to the concept of promposals. Our teens are demonstrating remarkable creativity in their efforts to secure a prom date. They create scavenger hunts,dress up in costume, make lovely signs and even secure banners to invite a potential date to the prom. I could go on and on about all of the creative promposals that I have been told about or seen but that would be a very long list. Suffice it to say that our sometimes surly and moody teens are demonstrating remarkable creativity and positive energy in their attempt to do something that will be fun and exciting. In another positive turn of events the promposal often involves a cohesive group effort. An entire group of teens and sometimes even teachers and parents are involved in setting the stage for the promposal. This too is a wonderful aspect of the promposal phenomenon. We constantly hear about teens getting together in groups and getting into trouble but not in this case. Here, we are hearing about groups of teens getting together and supporting one another in their creative efforts. It's teamwork and I just love it.

You want to hear about more positive aspects of the promposal trend? Well, stay with me. It creates a positive goal for the prom. So, the goal may change from getting involved in impulsive and out of control at the prom to coming up with a great promposal. And, no one gets hurt here. It may also create a great memory and who I ask you doesn't benefit from positive memories in which you were a major participant. The photos or the videos of the promposal are a great to share on social media and goodness knows that we want our teens to use social media in a positive manner; right?

Look, the promposal isn't for everyone. It might not be every teenage boy or girl's cup of tea but the watered down version of the promposal -- simply asking someone to the prom without props and ceremony is still very much acceptable. So, I say let's hear it for our teens and let's applaud them. They don't get enough of that. Teens have a longstanding bad reputation and kudos to them for changing that. And, they didn't even know that that's what they were also accomplishing. Bravo to this young, energetic and consistently uncelebrated group of teens.