This question has bugged me for years.

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
This question has bugged me for years.
Posted: Aug 20, 2008 6:12 PM

And I'd like your opinion.

When my boys were in high school, they asked girls to the school prom. My husband and I asked the boys to come up with most of the cost out of their own earnings/savings, but made up some of the difference.

One issue was the limo. My husband and I decided that we would prefer our children, plus their dates, to go to and from the prom in a professionally driven limo, from a reputable limo company, with a sober commercial drivers' licensed driver behind the wheel. We offered to pay the entire cost of the limo ourselves, gladly. Naturally, the boys accepted. Prom night is a dangerous night for young drivers, who are full of hormones and adrenaline, not to mention other substances their parents know nothing of. (Not MY boys, the little angels, protests their mother.)

The limo held six passengers. They wanted to include another couple in the limo. Great, we said, we'll split the cost 2/3 and 1/3 with the parents of the other boy.

But the parents of the other boy would not pay a dime. Their attitude was that they allowed their son to attend the prom, providing he paid 100% of the cost. That's their right, certainly. They said that since we were already paying the entire cost of the limo, and there were two extra seats, it was no extra cost to us of the third boy and his date to ride along. The third boy could not afford the limo, as he could barely cover the other costs of the evening.

We debated this for a long time, just between me and my husband. There was so much to consider.

On the one hand, why should we support someone else's kid?

On the other hand, we'd feel terrible if that kid drove himself and got into an accident on the way.

On the other hand, we perceived that the other boy's parents were well able to afford to chip in. It's a safety issue, after all.

On the other hand, we can never know about another family's finances.

On the other hand, the other boy's date was in more danger, through no fault of hers, if she went to the prom in a car driven by a high spirited teenager. (There was other things, as well, to consider. I know someone who was conceived in the front seat of a '49 Buick following a school dance. Me.)

On the other hand, we could have asked the young lady's parents to help with the cost. But my boys were adamant in not doing that, as that would make their friend look like a cheapskate. They begged us to take that option off the table. (But the friend's parents WERE cheapskates!)

In the interest of increased safety, we went ahead and paid the entire cost of the limo, including the two extra passengers. But it bugs me that the other set of parents did not seem all that appreciative, in fact, I got the impression they though we were fools for giving in and letting their son, and his date, ride with our boys.

What would you think?

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MichelleandRob Posts : 194 Registered: 5/12/08
Re: This question has bugged me for years.
Posted: Aug 20, 2008 7:04 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

I don't think you were "fools" for giving in. You could have made a big stink out of it and embarrassed the boy and his date along with your sons and their dates. You are correct, the polite thing the other parents should have done was at least offer to help pay for it. Perhaps their refusal was a lesson they were trying to teach their son about money.

Either way, everyone went to the prom safely and you can hold the credit to that.


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justkel Posts : 156 Registered: 8/7/08
Re: This question has bugged me for years.
Posted: Aug 20, 2008 7:04 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

I think the safety of the young couple is more important than money and how it made either set of parents look.  I'm glad that you let them ride with your sons, which made you the bigger person and kept the teenagers out of harms way.

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Nalamienea Posts : 2,924 Registered: 6/13/08
Re: This question has bugged me for years.
Posted: Aug 20, 2008 7:09 PM Go to message in response to: justkel

oooooooo that woulda made me mad.  How did you resist some snippy remark?  "Fine they won't come then! And don't expect a baby shower gift from me!" lol I hate seeing parents being more juvenile than their kids though.  I'm glad you took the high road, if even for your sons' sake. 

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MuffinB Posts : 778 Registered: 7/13/07
Re: This question has bugged me for years.
Posted: Aug 20, 2008 7:16 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

You did something very nice for your sons' friend. That's all.

Did the boy thank you? if he did, that should make up for his parents not pitching in. 

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: This question has bugged me for years.
Posted: Aug 20, 2008 7:55 PM Go to message in response to: MuffinB

Dear Muffin,

Yes, the boy thanked us. He was pretty decent about it. I saw the parents of the girl about a year later, at another function. They took me aside and told me they heard all about it, later, and thanked me. They offered to pay a share, and I politely refused. I suggested that if they really felt strongly about it, they could take the money and donate it to a youth charity.

It wasn't the money. It was the principle.

What keeps me awake at night is wondering "What If". We can never know what would have happened. Sure, all six young people went to the prom, had a great time, and got home safely. Great.

But... what if.... what if... what if....

I would have never been able to live with myself if the other boy and his date, or another innocent passing motorist, came to any harm.

I just think that combining new drivers licenses with the heightened anxiety and hormones of Prom Night is a dangerous combination.

Thanks, ladies, for the kind words.

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: This question has bugged me for years.
Posted: Aug 20, 2008 8:03 PM Go to message in response to: Nalamienea

Dear Nala,

" How did you resist some snippy remark?"

With great difficulty. We were actually dealing, mostly, with the third boy as an intermediary. I could not believe, at first, what he was telling me about his parents. "They won't pay." "You're kidding. Are you sure?"

I called the mother and took the approach of "Your son must be mistaken. bla bla bla" No, the boy was not mistaken, I was told. They had told him that all costs of the prom must come from his own pocket. Period.

So..... Back to those late night, in-bed, whispered debates with my husband on how to best bring up boys.

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LochNessie Posts : 1,631 Registered: 4/2/07
Re: This question has bugged me for years.
Posted: Aug 20, 2008 9:15 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

I'm with everyone else.  I think you did a great thing for that boy and his date.  Her parents were very classy for thanking you for your generousity -- and your care for her young life.

-Ness


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stillgroovin Posts : 238 Registered: 11/12/07
Re: This question has bugged me for years.
Posted: Aug 20, 2008 9:53 PM Go to message in response to: LochNessie

I agree with everyone else and would just add that you also probably set a good example for the boy. Yes, it's important to teach your kids financial responsibility. But let's face it, teens can only make so much money. And this was a safety issue. I think you showed how you can make your kids be responsible but also how to help out when it's truly needed. 

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kelleyiskelley Posts : 11,590 Registered: 7/2/06
Re: This question has bugged me for years.
Posted: Aug 20, 2008 10:18 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

They said that since we were already paying the entire cost of the limo, and there were two extra seats, it was no extra cost to us of the third boy and his date to ride along. The third boy could not afford the limo, as he could barely cover the other costs of the evening.

I think this is where Im confused. Did it cost you any extra money to add the boy and his date to the limo, or were there "two extra seats" like his parents stated? If it didnt cost you anything more than it would have without the boy there, than I would have to wonder why you WOULDNT take him along no questions asked, ya know? If it WAS extra money for you, I still (as a parent) would allow the boy and his date to come along because its the right thing to do and I wouldnt give it a second thought really. What I might do is ask my own sons to pitch in for their cost - privately of course. So while I think you did a good thing - honestly I think it was just "the right thing to do." Really the only thing to do because of all the safety and WHAT IF reasons you mentioned.

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myra Posts : 5,550 Registered: 3/28/06
Re: This question has bugged me for years.
Posted: Aug 20, 2008 11:56 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

I think you did exactly the right thing, but I understand why you'd be pissed about boy #3's parents. But, as you and I know, not all parents are as concerned, caring, or supportive as you (or I). I'm sure that you can tell horror stories, as I can, about other kids' totally unconcerned (or worse) parents. Between what I've seen as a parent and what I've seen as a teacher, it's a wonder that most kids grow up to be semi-normal!!

As we say in my religion, you did a "Mitzvah."

myra at www.classysassyweddings.com

myra at www.classysassyweddings.com

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: This question has bugged me for years.
Posted: Aug 21, 2008 12:31 AM Go to message in response to: kelleyiskelley

Dear Kelley,

"Did it cost you any extra money to add the boy and his date to the limo, or were there "two extra seats" like his parents stated?"

No, the cost was fixed for the limo for the whole evening. They did not have any four passenger limos, only six and greater. Originally we figured four kids in a six passenger limo would give them room to spread out. The girls could fluff up their dresses. The two couples wouldn't be right next to each other. After all, who wants to get all amorous when your twin brother is sitting next to you?

Then, my kids asked if the third boy and his date could come along. They knew, of course, that the other boy's parents were making him pay 100% of his cost.

I just "naturally assumed" that the other parents would be willing to pay their fair share, since I would certainly offer to pay my fair share if our positions were reversed. It did not occur to me that the parents would not be so willing, and I did not believe the boy when he told me that.

I called, the other mom, and got the low-down. She didn't say much, but I got the impression they thought a school prom was a stupid waste of money, and that if their son wanted to go he would have to fund it himself, out of his own earnings. That's OK... but...

Now, what to do?

Sure, we were already committed to the six-passenger limo, and sure, we were willing to pay the entire cost in the interests of keeping our own children alive to see the next morning. It really wasn't a matter of money.

I haven't really discussed this with anyone except my husband, since I don't want to gossip behind the backs of the other parents. It's laid domant in my mind all these years.

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: This question has bugged me for years.
Posted: Aug 21, 2008 12:32 AM Go to message in response to: myra

Dear Myra,

"As we say in my religion, you did a "Mitzvah.""

Thanks.

Maybe someone out there is looking out for my children, now that they are on their own.

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Charlotte09 Posts : 1,021 Registered: 2/22/08
Re: This question has bugged me for years.
Posted: Aug 21, 2008 2:15 AM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

I never went to prom in a limo, they are just too expensive and my parents were not going to spend that amount either. I would like to point out that I ended up fine. I would also like to happily say that both proms I went to ended with no casualties. I am positive no one was killed or hurt as a result of prom night, and pretty positive that there werent any accidents at all. And I went to a large school plus there is another large high school in the area and we would have prom at the same time. So I dont quite see how you must have a limo for prom safety. I do see your point as to not being able to trust other drives though.

Anyway, I do think it was nice of you to let this boy and his date ride in the limo despite the fact that his parents did not contribute. I know I would not have had enough money for a limo and that my parents wouldnt supply one for me. Of corse I am sure my parents would not have been rude like this boys parents. Safety issues aside it was just nice that him and his date got to have a fun experience of riding in a limo with friends on prom night despite the fact that he could not afford it.

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lori83 Posts : 1,852 Registered: 3/30/06
Re: This question has bugged me for years.
Posted: Aug 21, 2008 7:48 AM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

I have dealt with these issues every day for many years. For two years my son has had a garage band. At our old house they were the basement band for about 2 years-right under my livingroom.

As of August 2006 we have lived 30 miles round trip from where the rest of the band members live. Story behind that is we moved out of the school district just before my son's junior year in high school. My son continued to go to school in the old district by driving himself there and back. We continued to have the band practices at our new house.

My son (and in the beginning it was me) makes the trip to pick up the other (used to be 3 now it is 4, all from different families) band members for weekly practice. Many times he also makes the return trip to take them all home. None of them but my son could drive until just recently. Occasionally one of the parents will pick up the boys.

If I didn't pay for the gas and provide the vehicle the band probably wouldn't still be together. This band has been something that has been good for all of them.

Sure it's bugged me a few times over the past four years that no other parents have put as much effort into helping these boys out. 

On the other hand I know that these boys know the effort that has been put forth by my dh and myself. We are the parents that are always at their shows. We are the parents that listen to their loud practicing on Sunday afternoon's during the school year (my only day off). I am the mom that makes sure the fridge is full of drinks and the cupboard has snacks. 

They have all been very thankful and the most thankful has been the one with the least parental involvement. We can't change the parents actions but I think because of what we have done for the boys we have made a difference in what the boy's future actions might be.

That's how I keep from dwelling on the other parents lack of involvment. Sometimes we just have to let things go. I know all of these boys are going to be a part of my life for a long time to come and I am very grateful for that.

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