Dad, Can I Go to the Homecoming Dance?

I have two daughters. And in the last month each of them asked me the same question. “Dad, can I go to the homecoming dance?”

To one of them I answered, “Yes,” and to the other one I answered, “No.”

(WARNING: The following blog might offend some of you. The subject matter I’m talking about is pretty vile, and I’ve chosen to go ahead and just say it like it is. If you’re offended… GOOD. You should be. Because this is the crude reality most of our kids are facing right now, and parents need to open their eyes to it.)

This is always a difficult situation for Christian parents today. Sure, most parents don’t even think twice about giving permission to a homecoming dance. It’s an automatic, “Yes.” I mean… let’s be honest. The world would probably label me a religious wacko for even considering not letting my daughter participate in this American right of passage—the homecoming dance.

Allow me to retort. 98% of the world has no idea what their daughters are doing at a homecoming dance.

I’ve observed it first hand, and I’ve asked kids around the country. The report is always the same. Parents have no idea what’s going on in the darkened gymnasiums of school dances.

This past weekend when I was in New York doing my Parenting the Texting Generation seminar, it was homecoming weekend for the high school students at the church I spoke at. Parents kept asking me, “Should I have let my kids go to the homecoming dance?” I asked them, “Have you ever offered to chaperone one of those dances?” Apparently in this particular Buffalo district they don’t allow parents. Only faculty. Hmmmmm.

A New York PTA mom drew glances from everyone at the last meeting when she spoke out against the homecoming dance. Someone had mentioned some concerns, and this particular mom, whose husband was a teacher and had chaperoned multiple dances, voiced, “Well you should be concerned. If parents of this school saw what was happening at the school dances, they wouldn’t let their kids attend!”

“Is this true?” Everyone bellowed?

I talked with a high school senior who went to a Grand Island, NY Homecoming dance last Saturday night. I told him, “I have just one question. How many of the guys were actually facing their dates, instead of grinding them from behind?”

He laughed and quickly replied, “I see you’ve been to one of these dances.” Then he thought for a second. “I think about 10 percent of the room was dancing actually facing each other.”

I clarified. “So you’re saying that 90 percent of the guys were crotch-to-butt with their dates?”

“Yeah.” He chuckled. “If you were facing your date, you were in the small minority.”

I won’t rehash the entire article, “In the Dark,” the Youth Culture Window article I wrote last year after chaperoning a local high school dance (many of you read about that experience in my parenting book), but here are a few of the sobering discoveries I observed first hand that my readers across the country have assured me is true in their community:

  1. The majority of girls don’t even stand face-to-face with their dates; they just “back it up” to the guy groping them from behind. I’ve been continuing to ask people across the country what percentage of the room is face to face. The answers have been anywhere from 10% to 50%. Always the minority.
  2. The music is anything but clean. Yes, the DJ played the “clean versions,” but you’ll discover these songs to be anything but clean. This year (from my conversations with kids so far) those “clean songs” being played are songs like Sexy and I Know It, and Last Friday Night, songs void of curse words, but packing a message that will make you wish the song just said “shit.” (Wow… I can’t believe I just typed that.)
  3. Girls’ dresses are getting shorter and becoming more revealing overall. At the dance I chaperoned, my wife and I literally had to keep asking girls to pull the bottoms of the dresses down, because as soon as their dress would hike up an inch or two, you could see their underwear. Often, the guys’ hands were on the girls’ thighs helping hike up the dresses.

So when17-year-old Trevor asked me permission to take my daughter Alyssa to Homecoming this year, I had to stop and think. Part of me thought, “What dad would pimp out his daughter to a place where this kind of activity was happening?” But the other part of me remembers Alyssa’s experience last year when I allowed her to go for the first time. She observed all that I detailed above, but she and five other church friends hung out together all evening for dinner and dancing on the outskirts of the dance floor in their own group. For her the evening was a fun Cinderella moment of dressing up and having fun with good friends.

So what are we as parents to do when our kids ask us the question, “Dad, can I go to Homecoming?”

Four Variables to Consider

1. Who’s your kid going to be hanging out with for the evening?
This is by far the most important question to ask. Not just their date, but who else will be in their group? For me, I see this dance as a pretty racy atmosphere. I hate it, to be quite honest. It’s a rite of passage that has evolved into “Mardi Gras” in school gymnasiums across the country. But if my daughter can go there surrounded by a circle of good Christian friends, then I’d consider letting her have her Cinderella moment in the safety of good company.

And realize that when I say “Christian” friends, many might think, I’ve heard that before. But I’m not just using the term Christian as that proverbial American label. I realize many who use that term, don’t look like Christ. But I mean, “Christ following friends.” Trevor is a student leader at our church from a family that is some of our best friends. Our families have gone on trips together… we know Trevor! Trevor’s favorite movie is Toy Story. He’s probably going on two mission trips this year. He’s a nice kid with a heart for Christ (he’s way better than I was when I was his age). The other couples they are going with are sharp kids as well. I couldn’t choose better friends for Alyssa. The group will be safe.

Last year at the dance they went to, Alyssa told me that about 75% of the room was doing that “grinding” thing. She said that one guy even came up to Natalie, one of her friends in their group, and grinded up behind her. Natalie turned around giving him a hard look, and the guy backed off with a look like, “What’s your problem!” I told Alyssa that if a guy pressed any body part against her, to be sure and knee him really hard in said body part.

2. Has your kid been demonstrating the wisdom and Biblical discernment that warrants your trust in this kind of atmosphere?
Are they ready to go into this situation that is going to be over-sexualized and, for many of our teenagers, distractingly tempting?

If you have a son that wants to go to one of these dances, ask yourself, “Is Zach ready to be in an atmosphere where cleavage is abundant, legs go all the way up, raunchy music is playing, and where he is in the minority if his body isn’t pressed up against his date with his hands on her thighs all night?”

That’s a lot to consider as a parent.

And I promise you, our girls don’t realize how tempting this situation is for guys. Most girls have no idea how sexually driven males are. Dads need to do a better job talking with their daughters about the way guys think.

Parents need to help kids not set themselves up for failure. Perhaps we need to start providing a night of dinner and ballroom dancing for our kids instead? How about swing dancing? How about anything where our kids aren’t encouraged to dry-hump to rap music all night! (There I go again.)

3. What is your daughter going to be wearing?
I say daughter, because parents of boys don’t have to worry in this area. Parents of boys, instead, have to worry about what their sons’ date will be wearing, something we have little control of, other than making a good choice with variable #1 above.

Parents of girls, I implore you. Please don’t sell out. These are our daughters!

I am constantly amazed at the dresses that parents let their daughters leave the house in. Do they not know? Or are they simply doing the Billy Ray Cyrus, “It’s what people her age do.”

Sadly, parents will have a difficult time finding dresses for our daughters that don’t make them look like streetwalkers. I’m not exaggerating. I shop with my girls all the time. It’s hard to find dresses that actually cover them up. Today, I’m happy to settle for a dress that covers halfway down the thigh, instead of the many dresses that barely cover up undies.

Personally, I want to dress up my daughters like a nun. Trevor can see her face all night; what else does he need to see!

4. Where are they going afterwards?
Funny… I can’t believe I even need to write this point. But parents continue to astonish me. I hear of Christian parents that get their kids and their friends a hotel room so, “They wouldn’t be out on the town with all the drunk drivers?” Yes, they’ll be safe from drunk drivers, but do you know what happens when a bunch of kids get into a hotel room?

I’m also surprised when Christian parents bypass my advice in variable #1 above and allow their kids to hang out with unbelievers all night. I don’t want to rehash this point, but on a night like this where temptations are abundant, don’t surround your kids with predators.

I can hear it now. “But Chris and Jordon are great kids. Sure, they don’t go to church, but they are really nice and come from nice families.”

I’ve seen it a million times. Chris and Jordon might be nice kids. They might not have got drunk, “went streaking in the park, skinny dipping in the dark, then had a ménage a trios…” but I assure you they are going to be listening to a song about all of those things while they’re rounding the bases with your daughter.

It’s this simple: the world has different values. Don’t expect the world to uphold Christian principles. Tell your kids to be home at midnight. If they want to spend the night somewhere (red flag), make sure it’s with a family who not only upholds your same Christian principles, but that it’s a place where the parents aren’t asleep at midnight while their Christian kids are playing strip poker in the spa listening to Lil Wayne. (Do you think I just made that up?)

At the beginning of this blog I told you that I told one of my daughters, “No.” Ashley wasn’t even asked yet; she was just putting out feelers as to if she could go with a bunch of friends from her cross-country team. Good kids, nice parents. It was actually a consideration. But even though Ashley is showing really good wisdom and discernment (variable #2 above), she wasn’t going to have a group of solid Christian friends surrounding her for the evening (variable #1).

Sorry… not my 14-year-old.

It’s not easy saying no, but hey… it’s not easy being a parent. It’s a constant balance of, “Am I too lenient or too strict?” On Homecoming night… float toward the latter.

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST FROM JONATHAN,
YOU’LL LOVE HIS PARENTING BOOK,
CANDID CONFESSIONS
OF AN IMPERFECT PARENT.

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over a dozen books including the new Get Your Teenager Talking, The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket, The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide for Teenager, and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers, Connect: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation, and the 10-Minute Talks series. Jonathan speaks and trains at conferences, churches and events across North America, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan and his wife Lori, and their three teenagers Alec, Alyssa and Ashley live in California.
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112 Responses to Dad, Can I Go to the Homecoming Dance?

  1. Pingback: Too Strict… or Too Soft? |

  2. Joanna Vanderkooi says:

    I personally don’t agree with dancing…period, and we homeschooled our three kids, so I never had to feel like I was withholding anything from my kids, but I would not have felt bad anyway. Anyone who thinks dances are innocent is deluding him/herself. I’ve never even been to one, and I can just imagine what goes on, let alone the music they would be listening to. No offense, but if I didn’t let my kids listen to secular music at home, why would I send them somewhere else to do so? I believe what you say is true is happening at the dances, and I’m disgusted that parents would let their kids go and that the Christian teens would allow someone to touch them in such personal ways. We just graduated our last child in June, and I’m thankful those things were never an option for us. We are not perfect, and neither are our kids, but that was not an issue, and I’m glad. Thanks for the enlightenment, again, though. Whew!

    • Arthur L. Mackey (Butch) says:

      What do you pla!n to do when they graduate and go off to college or join the workforce and lead their own lives ? All you can do is teach, you cannoot control all of their lives !

      Arthur L. Mackey

      • I did the same and have 4 children. 3 have graduated, and 2 are in Bible college – 1 to be a missionary and the other to become a youth pastor. Christians have no place at dances. Being part of the world does not mean taking part in their wicked social patterns.

        I know literally hundreds of families that have done as I and Joanna (whom I don’t know), and a very high percentage do not go into the world and become rabid sinners out of rebellion as the world has tried to tell you they would. Nothing replaces teaching them to read and understand the bible for doctrine, instruction, and for pleasure as well. Communication, honesty, and commitment to help your child become a mature, self-determined, common sense endowed, critical thinking christian adult.

        We were very fearful in the beginning as many were back when we started, but we felt the public education system was more dangerous than helpful to a good christian upbringing. With lots of mistakes along the way, by God’s grace, our children are very happy, socially adept (they’re not mumbling freaks that can’t have a normal conversation with lost people), and most importantly soul-winning christian people that try to walk with God on a daily basis.

        It’s worth the effort – you’ll pay financially which means you will need to adjust priorities! But your children are worth it.

    • JH says:

      I’m not necessarily disagreeing with the article (though I think what goes on at different schools varies drastically and there are some that may be entirely fine…I don’t know.) but I really don’t think you can say “anyone who thinks dances are innocent are deluding themselves” and then immediately state “I’ve never even been to one and I can just imagine what goes on”. I just don’t think it’s entirely fair to judge something you have no knowledge of. If you go see a public school dance and then feel the same way…then fine, but lobbing criticisms from the dark doesn’t do anybody any good.

    • Leslie says:

      I agree……we don’t listen to that type of music at home so why would I send my child into that…….even with a solid Christian foundation.

  3. Denise says:

    I am very grateful that I don’t have daughters and even more grateful that my 16 yr. old son has absolutely NO interest in attending homecoming or any other kind of dance.
    I definitely think this is a problem for our Christian students who attend public high schools. They, of course, want to attend proms! My thought is why can’t our churches offer their own “prom” dances (I KNOW THAT IN MOST CHURCHES THIS WOULD BE CONSIDERED “SACRILEGIOUS”). But why couldn’t we offer a nice dinner and dance (to contemporary Christian music of today) to our teens who want to dress up and attend a nice dance together. It would also be a means to reach out to other teens who are being drawn into this and maybe we could look it as a ministry to the lost.

    • I agree Denise. (and from a Baptist too!)

      • Erik says:

        We’re having a high school ministry dance party this friday night at church, the first ever at our church. It will no doubt be a fun night, but we’re using it as an opportunity to educate our students on how to be proactive in raising the bar and setting the example to their non-Christian friends.

        Thanks for the insight Jonathan!

  4. Erin says:

    A Christian friend of mine DJ-ed a local homecoming dance just a few weeks ago. He said it’ll be his last one, for pretty much all the reasons you just listed. It’s sad to see the turn school dances have taken. I was in high school in the early 2000’s and it seemed like the minorities listed here were more the majority. Thanks for actually being a parent and being honest with us all.

    • It would be really hard to DJ today. Most of the songs that kids wanna dance to aren’t that great… actually, most are downright foul.

    • Leanne Christensen says:

      Many high schools (including ours) have set new rules and guidlines in the past few years with regard to the type of dancing that is allowed. It was not at all an easy transition (both some students and some parents questioned the need), however it has been a welcomed relief for a lot of parents as now the rules (which are in print and given to all attending students) are much more regularly enforced and the percentage of students dancing inappropriately has really decreased. Our parents are welcome to chaperone the dances along with the staff and we (parents/PTA) have open dialog with our administration regarding these types of situations. Even changing the type of music (bringing in more of a variety) helps to change the atmosphere and dancing behaviors. It is a process, but one worth taking the time and effort to engage in and support.

  5. AGREE with it all my friend. great post, thanks for stepping into this topic!

  6. Josh says:

    I really appreciate your insights and advice. I am a youth pastor. I don’t have kids of my own (yet) but I am soaking this up before I do! Who knows what it will be like when I have teenagers of my own :)

    • Aimee gray says:

      I just made the comment to my husband tonight after chaperoning the Homecoming Dance… I love my children so much I don’t know if I would have had them knowing what I know now:( that sounds weird but they mean siioo much to me and I feel like by having them attend public schools I am throwing them in a tank of sharks. My advice, as I have told my children, is don’t reproduce until you can afford private school for them;)

  7. Jon forrest says:

    Important stuff Jon. The idea that “it’s school sponsored so it must be ok.” is so foolish. I think it’s our job to look for what is best not just for what may be ok. And just based on your description of the very best case scenario I don’t think it’s wise for our kids to be there. (visuals, groping, music etc.). Aren’t you the originator of the doo doo brownie? (is a little poo in there ok?). But I’m biased. I hate footloose so bad I want to puke. Get a job twinkle toes! See. Btw sorry I’ve been MIA. Awesome retreat last week. House broken into Monday. All my valuables (which is basically a grocery sack full) jacked. Fortunately my real treasure is unjackable. And now I’m hungry for a lunchable.

    • Ha… I’m not the originator of the doo doo brownie. But I am the one who joked that many of us (parents) might ask, “Where is the poop on the brownie? Is it on the edge?” But yes… this is a really tough issue for parents. I think it goes back to the issues I raised in my last blog entry about finding the balance between too strict or too lenient. We need to be talking with our kids and equipping them to make these choices on their own… but at the same time, not setting them up for failure. It’s tough being a parent.

  8. Tonia says:

    Being a homeschooling mom to 3 teenage girls and Having been to a few proms and homecoming dances myself when I was a teenager there is NO WAY I would allow my girls to go to one. I can tell you my husband feels the same way. We need to protect our kids(boys or girls) from this stuff and Public school is not out to protect our kids. Knowing how guys are much more visual there is no way I would want my son (if I had one) at a dance like that. There is modest clothing to be found for the girls just takes looking or fixing it yourself. I am not talking some cheesy looking fix either. There are even shops online that have modest clothing available now. Great post and truth is hard to face for some people.

    • I totally respect your decision Tonia. Each parent has to make this decision on their own, knowing that they need to do their best to prepare their teenagers for that moment when they are 18, on their own… and they can do whatever they want!

  9. Ed says:

    I work in a Catholic Church, and about half of my student’s attend local Catholic high schools. What depresses me is the music and allowed behavior at their dances (admittedly my knowledge on this is anecdotal, as I haven’t attended any of them) doesn’t differ from the public schools. So even institutions that are teaching about God and faith as part of the curriculum, and profess their mission is to spread the word, don’t do enough to discourage this. A number of teachers I’ve talked to (public and private school) feel this is actually a building issue that will need to be addressed. They aren’t happy about it, but don’t know what they can do.

  10. ryan says:

    Coming from a complete Christian school background, let me tell you that whether your kids hang out with “believers” or not, it doesn’t matter. Plenty of nice, Christian kids from nice, Christian families are no different from your “worldly” kids. Take each kid individually, regardless of your perception of their salvation. Please don’t generalize.

    • I agree to a point. That’s why I said, “I know Trevor.” That’s also why I mentioned Christian kids “playing strip poker in a hot tub. The word Christian is thrown around quite a bit. I make a huge effort to get to know my kids’ friends.

  11. Kevin Becht says:

    I Can’t Not DJ … I have been providing the music for the local middle school where I lead a campus ministry for several years now. Every year, it gets more difficult to find a playlist I am okay with. Actually, not much has been added this year because there’s hardly anything acceptable. I’ll admit, I have to venture close to my own line of standards as a follower of Christ but if I don’t do it I know who will. A DJ will be hired and play the music you are talking about. So off I go into the world of lyric websites and iTunes to screen song after song. By the way … the most requested song of 5th Graders at the “Fall Mixer” was “The Lazy Song.” No, I didn’t play it! Thanks for all you do from one piece of burnt toast to another!

    • I hear ya brotha. Bruno Mars is a good example of an artist that is a struggle. Really talented, and a lot of really good clean songs… but then he comes out with stuff that makes you cringe.

  12. Tracey says:

    Great issue of discussion. My daughter just went to Homecoming, wore a modest dress in both the neckline and length. They dance both ways, but back to front, there is no grinding or touching personal body parts, they have space between their bodies. (We discussed this last year when she went.) I had a nice talk with her boyfriend’s parents, they are TOTALLY on the same page with me about what is appropriate. I don’t know them very well, but I have other close friends that vouch for them. I still do not know where they attend church, but I know they do. I have suggested a Christian dance as well to my boss, (high school director) but it was a no. My question to every kid is this, would you dance that way in front of your parents or at your wedding? If the answer is no, then doing it at a school dance is out as well. Thanks again, I love your blog.

  13. Arthur L. Mackey (Butch) says:

    I am by no means a novice at this type of thing. i have three sons, 28, 27, aand a sixteen soon to be seventeen year old ! This type of behavior has gone on since I was in high school, I finished in 1965, and whether in the gym, under teh grandstand, in a closet, those young people that are of this mindset will find a way and place to act out ! I must admit that the words have changed but the message is the same ! When I was growing up songs by the Tempations, Four Tops, Jerry lee Lewis, elvis Presley, all had undertones of sexuality in them and just like the music today it’s everywhere ! I started getting to the point of sexuality with my youngest when he was six years old as this is the age when most youngsters become, mostly through older students are introduced to sexuality and my parents nefver taught me a thing ! I went to a church run, all boys military school from grade one through half of the ninth grade; and there was a prestigious all girls school who George H.W. Bush’s wife, Barbara attended and graduated from. The girls who were boarding students would sneak out and meet the boys at pre determined places and I can only think of once when theey were caught !
    I have found through blunt , honest an open communication that young people learn. Go to the beach and watch older teens, younger teens, adults of all ages and how they dress andd act ! The parent can to a point control this but the more you do to control, the more rebellion you will face. It is a natural hormonal situation that all teens go through and information given properly is the parent’s best weapon not just keeping the child from social situations ! It has worked for my son and believe me I am observant as whrn in the Army was a Counter Intelligence and customs enforcement agent ! I read body language and have found through trusst even if I question it internally tthat my son tells me the truth ! I can’t say with total certanty that he has not experimented sexually, but trust him as he has come to me to ask questions more than I have had to approach him ! This and my unquestioned love for him and his for me make communication much easier. I am just glad I don’t have girls as I grew up with three sisters and saw what was happening all around me ! These children are ours to teach, and guide but don’t belong to us and unless you want to alienate them, be it girls or boys you have to trust that you have done yor job and God is in their lives ! Thank You.

    • I agree with you 100% that open honest communication is key. You nailed it. Parents need to constantly dialogue, with a focus on listening and encouraging.

      As for your comments about the music being the same… can’t agree with you there. There’s no arguing that media has become more explicit. Yes, there used to be SOME raunchy media, but now it’s commonplace. The interesting fact is how many students are actually having sex. You mentioned that you went to high school in the 60’s. About 1 in 32 high school students had an STD in the 60’s. In the 80’s 1 in 17. Three years ago the CDC reported 1 in 4 teenage girls has an STD. On the other hand… less kids are actually having sex now than 20 years ago. So sex is down, but STDs are up. I’ll be writing an article on that next week.

  14. Josh says:

    Great blog! I think you pointed out a great point with the level of responsibility and freedom you give your kids being based on their spiritual depth and wisdom that they have shown in their daily lives. Its the parents responsibility to teach/disciple/train there kids in how to live godly lives and I hate to say it, but we do a poor job at times. We can shelter our kids from most of life’s worldly influences, but if we don’t teach them / show them what it means to make godly decisions and exercise self-control, when they leave our covering and have the freedom that we’ve prevented, they fall into what we have worked so hard to keep them from.

  15. Caleb Fielding says:

    Brother I’ll be honest with you most christians will not find this topic to be offensive. If you want to get christians offended go to I Cor 7:1 and say that when the Bible says its good for a man not to touch a woman, that means its good for the guys and girls to keep their hands to their selves till they get married, Save their first kiss till they get married, and they wont have to worry about “accidentally” having sex. I mean if you obeyed I Cor 7:1 like that then you couldnt go to this dance in the first place. And by the way I am a 25 year old single guy living it, because when I was small my dad told me over and over again save your first kiss till you get married. By the time the homecoming dance comes around its a little to late to be installing these kinds of values in your children.

  16. Rob says:

    Many LDS (Mormon) congregations DO hold alternate proms for their youth where the music, lighting, and company will provide an atmosphere where the Spirit can be present. Anyone can attend that agrees to uphold the standards. I remember the very few school dances I attended as a teenager (prom wasn’t one of them), and I hope that my children will be able to attend such an alternate event. At this point, I plan on saying no to all school dances, though it’s a few years off yet.

  17. Michelle says:

    I think your characterization of “nice” but non-christian boys as “predators” is not only ridiculous, but offensive. Expressing sexuality is a healthy part of being human, and what’s most important is that said humans are educated about sexual activity (risks, et cetera) and sexual health and are mutually consenting. Men or boys are not the only sexually minded ones out there. Many young women desire and seek out sex. Furthermore, your “research” is entirely subjective and bogus.

    • Anna says:

      Thank you. SOMEONE SAID IT FINALLY

    • Linds says:

      I know this an old post, but I’m gonna comment anyway.

      Expressing sexuality may be acceptable to worldly standards… but we choose to follow God’s higher standards. He created males and females and sexuality, so I’m thinking He knows what is best.

    • Linds says:

      (Accidently posted before I finished.. :))

      I agree with you that it isn’t just men or boys that are sexually minded. But I don’t think that was the point of his article. It is that God wants us to live in a particular way, as explained in the Bible. If you are not a Christian or do not follow the Bible, then we will disagree on this point, obviously. But just like you have the right to encourage your kids to “express themselves sexually,” we have the right to protect our kids from that mindset that is not pleasing to God.

  18. Aimee gray says:

    Was very happy to see I wasn’t alone. I just got home from my daughters Homecoming dance. I was blessed to be asked to chaperone:) To be honest I thought… I really don’t have the time, someone else will do it, it’s just a dance. WOW I was wrong!!! And this was in a small town of only 15,000 people. So I am not talking about L.A. I was so appalled at the way these girls dressed and even more disgusted that the faculty let them in the door. And the back to front dancing and grinding that was happening blatantly out in the open. It was worse than any dance club for adults that I had been to. I am really struggling with allowing any of children to attend. Would I allow them to go to a strip club or watch pornography on TV?

  19. Christy says:

    I’m shocked at a couple of lines from your story:

    1. “she and five other church friends hung out together all evening for dinner and dancing on the outskirts of the dance floor in their own group. For her the evening was a fun Cinderella moment of dressing up and having fun with good Christian friends.”

    2. “But if my daughter can go there surrounded by a circle of good Christian friends, then I’d consider letting her have her Cinderella moment in the safety of good company.”

    3. “He’s a nice kid with a heart for Christ (he’s way better than I was when I was his age)”

    Why are all these kids who are “good Christian friends” that “have a heart for Christ” wanting to hang out in place that is so entirely sinful? If they have such a heart for Christ, doesn’t this place feel dirty, sinful and completely opposite of right to them? I would think it would make them feel very uncomfortable if not sick to their stomachs! It’s not like they are going there with the purpose of witnessing! I’m sorry to hear that these kids even WANT to go there. Very disappointing.

    Also, why would you add that he’s “way better than I was at his age”? Does that justify anything? He is still a young man with red blood running through his veins! He is a sexual creature. “Good Christians” with a heart for Christ are tempted and fall way to often. They need our support to stay away from, no RUN, from temptation when faced with it.

    • As I said in this blog, and my previous blog entry about being too lenient or too strict… this is a tough balance. Bottom line, as parents we can tell our 16 and 17-year-olds, “No, you can’t go!!!!” But in a little over a year, they can do WHATEVER THEY WANT! I’m trying my best to prepare them for that day. This requires parents to fall somewhere between allowing everything, and allowing nothing. I’m trying to walk that line and help them make good decisions, and keep having conversations about these choices daily. I guess we’ll find out in a couple of years if it worked or not. Sorry to disappoint you.

      • Linds says:

        I agree with you, Jonathan.
        I went to my senior prom, and guess what? I dressed in a beautiful dress that didn’t come up to my butt or have a neckline to my belly button. I danced with some friends. No grinding. I didn’t leave the dance and have sex, or make out with any guys in the parking lot, despite the many other people I know that absolutely did. Know why? It wasn’t because my Mom and Dad locked me up at home and sheltered me. It was because Mom and Dad raised me to be a Christian, and a lady. They taught me what God expects from me. They helped me to develop a relationship with Christ so that HE could guide me to make right decisions. I’ve never been perfect, and won’t be until we go home with God, but I certainly didn’t make the same mistakes I would have had my parents not given me a solid foundation on Christ. Parents need to focus on helping their children get to Christ so that HE can have a hand in raising them… who better than the One that created them, anyway!?

    • Zach says:

      Their blood is actually blue, until it comes in contact with oxygen. Just sayin’

  20. Andrew says:

    This article reminds me of how proud I am of the girls in my youth group. they observed the same things happening at their school and decided to do something about it. they went to the student council and then the principle and got things changed. every student wanting to attend a dance has to sign a waiver before they can buy tickets. the waiver outlines the type of dress that is expected and the type of dancing that is allowed. if a student violates these standards they are asked to leave. if a majority violate the lights come on and everyone goes home. this is at a public high school. Do not tell yourselves well thats the way it is. stand up and make a change.

  21. Dave Plumley says:

    As a youth pastor who has chaperoned plenty of middle school and high school dances, what Jonathan says is completely accurate. I can’t tell you the things I have found on the floor cleaning up after the dances. This is an excellent article for parents. This became a major issue with some parents in the church I was at this time last year. Wish I could have had this article then! Thanks for your insight!

  22. Pingback: Very Important Article on School Dances « SCC Family Ministries Blog

  23. annie murray says:

    Lot got in trouble because he pitched his tent toward Sodom. Where our kids pitch their tent is a determining factor of what they will do next.

  24. Pingback: Mom. Dad. Can I go the Homecoming Dance? « ypglass

  25. Ben says:

    You guys are ridiculous, I mean seriously. You cannot shelter your child and expect them to make the right decisions when they graduate from high school and move on away from their over controlling parents? If they didn’t experience these things in high school, then most likely they’re going to experience it in college or when they leave because “mommy” isn’t there to show them what’s right. You’ve got to trust them enough to make the right decisions in high school dances, it’s a test. If you think your kid is going to have sexual relations because they went to a high school dance then you’ve got some serious trust issues, you’ve got to trust that your child is going to remember the Christian morals that you’ve taught them. I’ve been a Christian since I was old enough to know what God’s plan for salvation, and I know what’s right and what’s wrong, but you guys are just plain ridiculous, you don’t want your children to hang out with “unbelievers,” aren’t “unbelievers” just people who haven’t heard the good word yet? We are commanded to go out and preach the good news, He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:15, 16 NIV) but you people refuse to let your children hang out with them, isn’t that disobeying God’s command? You also do not let your children listen to “secular” music, what does that even mean? I mean seriously, did Christ ever say it’s a sin to listen to “non-Christian” music? I mean, yeah there a lot of music out there that Christians should have no business listening to, but they still will. Again, that’s another trust issue, YOU’VE GOT TO TRUST YOUR KID. That’s a big reason ministering to the list is so hard nowadays, people see and hear that Christians don’t listen to secular music, Christians don’t go to dances, Christians are agains fun, Christians believe that they are better than everyone, QUIT FOCUSING ON WHAT’S “WRONG” AND START FOCUSING ON WHAT GOD WANTS YOU TO DO.

    • Ben, I’m not sure who you’re calling ridiculous… but perhaps you should slow down a little bit and just breathe. You’re getting a little wound up. Step off the ALL CAPS and relax.

      It’s hard to tell from your rant above, but you almost seem to be implying that parents need to back off completely and trust their kids to totally make their own decisions. If that’s what you’re saying… I’ll have to disagree. Part of being a parent is teaching them discernment. That means helping them learn to make good choices, sometimes letting them fail, but also sometimes saying, “Sorry, but no.”

      You say we need to just “trust our kid.” Perhaps we should trust them if they want to go to a Lil Wayne concert, right? And if they want to go to an all night party where no parents will be home.. we should trust them their too, right? And if they want to go drinking with their friends… we should trust them doing that too… after all, they can do it when they leave our house, right? Or Ben… is there a line to this? is there possibly a line where you would say, “Sorry, you’re not going there.” …thus teaching them that some things are inappropriate. Shouldn’t these be part of our regular conversations with our kids as we get up, as we walk along the road, as we go to bed (Duet 6)?

      Ben, I agree that some parents try to protect their kids too much and don’t even allow them to learn discernment. That is a mistake. But how much better is it to do the polar opposite, allowing them to do whatever they want. The answer is a balance.

      I encourage you to look at the blog I wrote the day before this blog titled, “Setting the Bar.” It talks about the balance between being too strict and too lenient.

      • Ben says:

        I got little over excited about this because I feel so strongly about this subject, so I apologize if I sent the wrong message so let me clarify, sure there are things that some parents should put their foot on saying, “No you cannot go.” like for an example like you said, a Lil Wayne concert, I wouldn’t even let my child within a hundred feet from a Lil Wayne concert, because I know what goes on there, smoking weed that sort of stuff and plus not to mention the message Lil Wayne sends, treat women like property and not people, and for the parties with no parents around sure I wouldn’t let my child go to one, but you’ve still got to trust that your child is going to make the right choices, and as for the high school dance, many high schools aren’t allowing bump and grind anymore, you can get kicked out of one now. While I agree that there’s a time when you’ve got to say, “No, you can’t go.” but there’s also a time to let your child make her own decisions.

  26. Kris says:

    THANK YOU! I am a teacher in a rural school-you know, the small schools where where “these things don’t happen.” Wrong….it is as vile as you say-maybe more so. And,for us it was our son whom we wouldn’t let attend-which seems to be even harder b/c people better understand a parent protecting their little girl, but boys are supposed to be tough. We don’t regret our decision-our son is now graduated and a fine Christian man and our strong-valued Christian daughter who is in high school says she’s not even interested. Parenting is not easy, but necessary.

    • Brookelynne says:

      If you are a teacher, then you must have some influence in the school. So here’s a tip: MAKE RULES! It’s not that hard. Make grinding against the rules and have a dress code. Da-da-dada! Problem solved.

  27. Sharon says:

    I am glad our school does not have homecoming dances.
    We do a “Night of Blessing” instead.

  28. Caitlin says:

    I had to agree with most of this article, but one aspect didn’t rub well with me. The part about ‘Non Believers’. They way it sounded to be, was that you meant the those invidivuals who attend church will be safer to be around. That is HARDLY the case, and I’ll give you a perfect example. I’m not really a believer of God, and to say it in the best way, ‘I’m currently on the fence’. I’ve been raised in a VERY religious lutheren household, but my parents have allowed me to decide whether or not I believe the stories the church tells us. I went to homecoming with a group of friends, and I will admit, my dress could have been longer. However, I did not look ‘Slutty’ or ‘tacky’ or like a ‘floozy’ so to speak. Now, I was dancing with friends at the dance, having a wonderful time. Then, a friend of mine, Robbi, came up behind me, and started grinding with me. I immediatly shot him an unpleasent look, but he continued. I pushed him away, shook my head at him, and continued to dance. Robbi is an avid church attender, talks about God any darn chance he gets, tries to convert people, etc etc. Yet, the ‘Avid church attender who believes heavily in God’ was acting much worse, and very disrespectful to the ‘Girl who doesn’t really believe in God, and hasn’t attended church in five years.’ I continued to dance with my friends, and low and behold, my friend Alex starts to grind on me. Alex is ALSO a continous church attender, and would NOT BACK OFF.
    My point is, is that just because an individual attends church, does not relate to how safe they are. Opposite, at my school, where all the teenagers who attend church are actually the one’s who are fooling their parents.

    • Caitlin… thanks for the comment. You are completely correct– going to church doesn’t make you a follower of Christ. Unfortunately, people who call themselves “Christians” don’t always represent Christ. I’m sorry that those guys did that to ya.

      My point was to encourage parents to know who it is that their daughter is going to the dance with. There are a bunch of kids at my church that I would NOT let my daughter go to the dance with, because I know what they’re up to. The kids my daughter went with were really good kids with a very sincere faith in Christ that is revealed in their actions. They wouldn’t be part of any of that grinding.

      As a parent, we need to try to teach our kids to make good choices, and one of the best choices they can make is to make good friends. Mere church attendance isn’t a stamp of approval.

      Thanks again Caitlin.

  29. Matt says:

    Having had quite a bit of experience in youth ministry, and having run our youth group here at the parish for about 3 years now, I feel compelled to share a story on this topic of what we’ve done, and how we’ve had some substantial success.

    About two years ago, one of our parents came to me with the same complaints of “dirty dancing” at the high school, but felt that he would like to help make things better. As I talked to our youth group kid about it, they were equally disgusted by the behavior, but wanted to effect a real change. The parent offered to help in organizing some swing dance lessons for our youth group kids. A local dance instructor even volunteered to help. Our youth group kids have really gotten into it and have become impressively good at it. Just about 2 weeks ago we hosted our 6th parish “swing dance” (about once every 3 months or so) where we require modest dress, provide a clean environment, and begin each dance with a volunteer instructor who teaches dancing lessons for about an hour prior to the dance. It’s been tremendously successful and we average about 80 high school kids at our dances.

    However, that wasn’t the best part. This fall, as the winter formal season came, I was pleasantly surprised to hear a story from one of our parents. I always talk to our kids about the importance of spreading our faith through their actions and truly preaching the gospel through their actions. One of the parents informed me that about 15-20 or so of our youth group kids decided to “take center stage” at the winter formal dance, and were doing real dancing, and some very impressive stuff, complete with lifts, tosses, etc. as a crowd of the other students, who were normally “grinding” started to gather around. Apparently, it was a show stopping moment that our youth kids had decided they weren’t going to be upstaged anymore.

    Afterwards, a number of the “other” students were asking our kids “where did you learn to dance like that?” We’ve even picked up a few new kids at our youth group through their involvement with swing dancing. A lot of our parish community has really come together behind these teens who are working hard to change attitudes at their school through their dancing.

    I know the experience has already strengthened the kids in their faith and in the knowledge that they really can change the world, even as teens. So I encourage all parents, if you don’t like something, and your kids don’t like it either, there are probably many other parents and kids who think the same. Don’t just restrict them, challenge them to change the world!

  30. Pingback: Get Your Teenagers Talking…about Dancing Dirty?

  31. Pingback: Dad, Can I Go to Junior Prom? |

  32. Vuyo says:

    This is very true. Parents should cease to pretend to be blind, the devil is destroying teens and the youth in a ‘smart way’ slowly but surely. So we need to be wise enough to identify these challenges and come against them in a ‘supernatural smart way’, know what i mean. Keep up the good work Man of God. I hope and know that one day we will invite you over to SA as a guest speaker, you and your household. We need people of your nature in the Kingdom. We can’t sit back, we have been given much, let us arise and shine. Isaiah60:1-2 and Philemon1:6

    Blessings

  33. Thank you. I love the post and have a daughter that is 5 months old. You better believe it is stuff like this that scares me to death. I love the opportunity to hear someone else s thoughts on the who situation.

  34. Rhonda Beitel says:

    I knew from a very early age that our daughter was going to want to go to dances. She loves beautiful dresses and sparkling heals! We were very blessed that a local home school mom & dad began a family friendly dancing opportunity- English Country Dancing. Waltzes and all those purposeful dances from the 1800’s. What fun it has been! I would encourage families to seek out these kinds of opportunities in their local areas – you would be surprised – there are several groups around!
    Blessings

  35. Em says:

    i personally believe that it does not make sense to not allow one of your daughters to go but not the other. sure, yes, if one was responsible, and one was not, then that is a perfectly reasonable reason not to allow her to go, but simply for the fact that she will not be surrounded by Christians, is a reason i do not believe is fair, nor do i support it. I am very impressed by this article, and i agree with you completely… except on this. i believe this is unfair to not allow your daughter to go purely on the basis that she will not be surrounded by Christians. What’s to say that the others wont be responsible? If you know and TRUST your daughter, then you should know she will be alright.

  36. Seth says:

    So, I am a teenage male who just graduated from High School. I can say that it is true, a lot of the dancing at dances is like that. But not everyone does it. My friends and I don’t go to dances to do all that. We go for fun. My guy friends and I will dance in a circle with some girl friends and just jump up and down, there is no bodily contact. There usually are a bunch of kids who are grinding and that stuff and they are one one side and the kids who don’t are on the other. In my youth organization, there was one event a while ago where a guy tried going far with a girl in the middle of the dance, the girl did not want it and the boy was kicked out. Also, sheltering your kids is not the best way to do it. A lot of people have mentioned that when the kids go off to college, they are going to experience new things. You should talk to your kids about what goes on and allow them to make their own decisions

  37. Brookelynne says:

    I am a teenager, and I’m sorry if this is what you’ve observed, but where I go to school, it’s not “cool” to grind. My peers wouldn’t do it, we think it’s weird. Yes, Katy Perry and LMFAO are played, but nobody goes streaking or skinny dipping, and I can assure you that at least half of the kids at my school don’t even know what a ménage a trios is. Those songs are played because they were hit songs, and the top forty songs are in the top forty for a reason: Because they’re catchy! Just listening to a song isn’t going to turn us into delinquents. As for short skirts and dresses, our school has a DRESS CODE! Look into it. Most teenagers don’t want to have sex and drink alcohol and do drugs and smoke all day. We aren’t all stereotypical freaks. Have a little trust in your daughters. They sound like they have even better judgement than I, and I’m at the top of my class. They’re not going to go out and come back condemned to hell. If you hold them back now and don’t give them freedom, one day when they get out of high school they are going to want to test their new freedom. And that is when they get pregnant. Have fun with that. Rant over, I’m out, Peace! :-)

  38. Reuben Farrey says:

    I have really enjoyed this discussion and the many points of view and different angles that this has come from.
    @Brooklynne: You and your friends are the rarity in High Schools and sadly Middles Schools acroos this great nation of ours. I applaud you and your friends for your stance and willingness to be different. Truth is you are different from what the majority of teenagers do today. And while you and your group might not go skinny dipping or end up in someother comprimised position many do, and if they get away with it they are emboldened for what will come in college or beyond. As a parent, I trust my daughters and give them leeway to make decisions and learn from failures, but I am not going to purposely set them up for failure either.

    @Jonathan Mckee: I have been following your work and this website for several years. I have consistantly reposted links to your blog posts and articles. I have to say I was more than a little disappointed with your use of profanity. I was just about to post this article, as you were making som excellent points that I agreed with and knew would be beneficial to some of the parents in my church, till I came across that. I understand your point of view for why and how you got threre. This of course is your website and blog, I just feel that it is not appropriate to use or include that in the context of instructing someone under the umbrella of Christian Parenting advice. It could have easily been edited or punned, and made the same point.

    • What profanity? Oh… do you mean when I referred to a song that says “sh*t”??? (there… I put an * that time… is that better?) Uh… most the songs say way worse than that. If that profanity offends you… GOOD! It should. Because it’s what our kids are hearing all the time. That’s the point.

  39. Me says:

    I have bee to these dances,and it’s not as bad as most parents think. There was occasional grinding, but not dirty dancing. Our teachers were keeping close watch. One of my friends mom was there and she is extremely religious. But she wasn’t throwing holy water all over people who were dancing. Even the older kids weren’t dirt dancing. I honestly think you are sheltering your children if you won’t let them go to dances. I definitely think that they shouldn’t be going to a hotel room afterwards though. Just my opinion.

  40. Rachel says:

    Ok, I agree with lots of these rules but seriously? Just because you are Christian doesnt mean that your daughters should only have to hang out with Christian kids at homecoming. Just beacuase someone doesnt have the same religion doesnt mean they arent good people or that you cant trust them. Someone is a little too uptight. Let your daughters have fun.

  41. Afourteenyearold says:

    Im srry. As a fourteen year old christian this offends me. And it makes me sad for your daughter. The way your syaing you raise your daughter, shes going to grow up and have no insight to the real world. I was very sheltered at home until i turned thirteen. At thirteen i got involved with the wrong people and started sneaking around because i knew my parents wouldn’t let me go. It wouldve turned out alot better if my parents let me state my priciples and the beliefs i had. I wasnt looking for sex or drugs… I just wanted to hang out with friends. Later i relized those werent good friends (Took two ex’s getting arrested at fourteen) but i learned and im a stronger christian today because of it. I never did drugs or had sex , because even while sneaking around i knew my limits and the respect i demanded. I never let a boy grind on me at a dance… but that’s because i stated my values clearly. Ever think maybe your daughter hasnt had the oppertunity and willl end up pregnant at 15 because you never allowed her freedom

    • Wow. Nice. I think you would be comforted if you read the article… because I did let my older daughter go to the dance (it doesn’t seem like you realized that from your comment). If you follow my blog, you’ll also see that the following year my younger daughter went to the dance too. Why? Because I allow them more and more freedom as they mature. I talk about that even more in this blog post, NO RULES BY 17 and a Half, in case you’re curious.

      • Kym says:

        @afourteenyearold, thanks for sharing your heart! I am glad to hear that you are reading and seeking and learning about faith and trust.
        @johnathon-your response to this teenager was not very nice. She is fourteen, sharing from her experience. Does being a blogger give you a pass to be rude to teenagers when they take the time to read and respond? She was referring to your daughter that you did not let go to the dance. And is it a requirement to read all your blog posts before commenting???

        Grace.

  42. Jenn says:

    Hello! I’m 16 (but shhh!), and I’ve attended 4 dances with my high school. (yay for experience?) I come from one of those “good Christian homes” and I’m an introvert who hates being touched (I actually got dumped over that and no longer date… it was weird). Anyway, I agree with most of the points in this article. I do believe that not allowing your child into a secular dance is a little wrong, but then, I understand. I think exposure in small doses is good for them, as growing up sheltered isn’t always in their best interest. It can be hard as a parent not knowing what your child is going to be doing–but if you go about it in the right way it can be easier. I especially like how you’ve handled the situation with your oldest daughter, boundaries and thorough talking is good.

    Personally, I’m not a huge fan of high school dances. They’re a bit chaotic, and finding a “clean” dancing group can be harder. Being that I don’t like being touched, I’ve never “grinded”. I’ve had two friends grind on me but that led to me dragging them to the side and scolding them. Perhaps not the best approach, but it worked, and I haven’t been grinded on since. I’m still “on edge” towards if I’ll go again this year, but I believe this information is good.

    Just parents: I do think trusting your kids is important. What they do is ultimately their sin, and all you can do is prepare them and teach them what is right. I hope that they would chose the right way, but that’s up to them. Sheltering isn’t “protecting” them–it’s just holding off what’s bound to happen.

    Also: I’m an aspiring professional dancer in ballet and Irish dance, so I’m probably very biased. I love the comment of the swing dancing–I know quite a few church groups that do that! It’s a fantastic workout and a great way to dance in a non-secular way. :3 I love dancing, and I think that ballet has taught me that dancing isn’t “grinding”–dancing *should* be more refined than that. And that’s why you’ll see me doing fouettes at school socials and not grinding. ;)

  43. Kasey says:

    hi, I’m fifteen. My family is extremely Catholic, but they are letting me go to homecoming. it wasn’t even a question. My parents trust me. I am going with my cross country team, but most is not all are Christian. i think you are being a little overprotective of your daughter, she should be allowed to go as long as she has common sense and is around other girls who you trust. I’m not going with a “date”. one of my best friends is my “date” mainly so we can look after each other and make any guys back off. She is Mormon and isn’t allowed to date until she is 16. Let the girls go as long as they are good kids who you can trust.

  44. Neil Ziller says:

    I really like the dress but know you would look fab in both! I cannot believe anything in the store will probably be 1/2 off! WOW, wish I lived closer because I love The Limited.

  45. Dave says:

    You’re freaking crazy, you think Christian is the best religion and you’re better than other people. This is the type of people that are the r reason we’re in recession

  46. Celia says:

    Unfortunately, my freshman son just attended his 1st Homecoming Dance and it was about as bad as you described. I had heard some rumors of “grinding”, but dismissed it as something not many would actually do – so wish I had checked into it more before sending him. There was also some game played where the girls lift their skirts and there is a “middle” formed on the dance floor where the kids form a circle so the chaperones cannot see what might be going on in the center. What? What are these kids doing? It’s a high school dance. One parent said her daughter was afraid of being caught up in “the middle” and not wanting something bad to happen! I am very saddened by this and sad that our son and freshman friends spent so much money and time getting dressed up and feeling a little more grown up to just feel awkward and out of place. Apparently the rumor is that the chaperones are not to intervene? Why not? I have always been proud of my son’s class and school, but this is very sad to me. A friend of mine was a chaperone and they did intervene, but why is this such a dilemma. I am only in my early 40’s – did not think I was this out of touch. Aren’t formal school dance, in addition to being fun, supposed to help our kids into the mature, adult world of dating and socializing – on a humane – not animal level? Who are the adult leaders of these dances. They are failing, no matter what your belief. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences about this. It’s also good to see comments that there are school dances today that do not permit this type of behavior. I went to nearly every dance in my public high school in the mid 80’s and never saw anyone naked or their underwear or felt threatened about dancing. We still had tons of fun! —Very sad and frustrated Mom.

  47. Seamus McReary says:

    So let me get this straight….your final judgement on your daughter going to homecoming….was that shes not surrounding herself with fellow christians? I personally think thats a touch prejudice. I’m an athiest myself (I found your aritcle through a google search and decided to read) and I think that making your children only hang out with people who only share yor religious views is wrong.

  48. B says:

    I recently went to my first homecoming. Me being a Christian teen I dance respectably with a group of friends and ignored the music. As for the grinders the administratiors that were chaperoning quickly broke them up. As for the dresses I can agree some were very skanky. But mine went to a little over my knees and everyone loved it. After we went home. I think if your daughter has good morals at any age she should be trusted. It’s honestly not as bad as I thought it would be.

  49. Lauren says:

    I’m a 15 year old girl that happened to stumble upon your article.
    I totally agree with you on the problems with the music, the height of children’s dresses, and some other points you made.
    But I hate that you made it sound like it’s all of these girls that would be corrupting a good Christian boy.
    “Is Zach ready to be in an atmosphere where cleavage is abundant, legs go all the way up, raunchy music is playing, and where he is in the minority if his body isn’t pressed up against his date with his hands on her thighs all night?”
    Seriously? “Zach” could be a teenage boy that wants this, but you make it sound like they are sucking out the purity and filling him up with depravity instead.

    • Thanks for the comment Lauren. You are correct that Zach might not be some innocent boy who just happened to take a wrong turn into the school gym where a pack of slutty women were just waiting to entice him. :) That does make it sound like the guy is the victim here. Sorry, that wasn’t my intention. Unfortunately, if I was to blame anyone, it would be our pop culture for teaching young girls this is how to dress, and then all the girls’ parents for letting them actually dress like that. Then Zach and his friends are to blame for conforming to the populous and treating women like objects. Zach has a choice. He can treat women with respect, look them in the eye and refrain from objectifying them.

  50. BAK says:

    As a parent of a teen daughter and two twenty-something sons, I appreciate your balanced article. We did not allow our kids to go to dances, and here’s why.

    Even if the particular dance they would be going to is tame, we did not want tobe complicit in teaching our kids to learn to entertain themselves by dancing. Once they are out of HS, what is the atmosphere where public dancing takes place? If you think the HS dance is a challenge to young morals…

    We decided to no more encourage our children to learn to dance in relatively controlled environments than we would encourage them to learn to gamble, drink alcohol, etc. in controlled environments. We felt it would be inconsistent for us to warn our children about the “youthful lust” aspects of the dance and then train them to entertain themselves by dancing.

    Teaching our children to “flee youthful lusts” and sending them to the dance seems contradictory.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Hi, I’m a 16 year old devout Christian who absolutely 100% agrees with you!…

    Uhm, NOT. This is ridiculously ridiculous. I mean, come on. What do you expect? I don’t want to put a bad label on the word, but WE ARE just teenagers. I believe that if you shelter your child too much, then they will be absolutely unprepared for the “real world”. You hear horror stories of kids going off on Friday nights, getting completely stoned, maybe returning on Monday. PLEASE, just have faith! If you raised your kid the right way, they will know how to act in this situation! After all, IT IS just a dance. Literally three hours. Go with friends, REAL FRIENDS, not these phony “good Christain girls”. Please.

    Non sarcastically, I agree with everything Ben has said.

    “Strict parents make sneaky children”

    If you show your kid that you have faith and trust in them, let them prove to you they can do this! I’m not saying go get a skintight dress, letting them stay up till 12. I mean, get a real group of friends because *GASP* these “non believers” (the word makes me sick to my stomach) are actually people too. Go out, get a pizza, watch a movie back at the house afterwards. No strings attached.

    “Grinding” *cue horror movie scream*? Its not sex on the dance floor. “Lil Wayne”? Look up Black Veil Brides. “My kids are homeschooled”? Good luck preparing them for life.

    Homecoming is not and American ritual. It is a dance that should not be given a second thought, something so little, it’s mind boggling that A BLOG has been written on it. Have fun over analyzing your “good Christain girls” so-called social life. At this point, they probably don’t even have one.

  52. Wqam says:

    I would be more careful about raising kids their ages if i were you. Kids could act completly different with thei parent than with their friends. I grew up in a Muslim and Christian community. All of the parents thought their kids and their friends were good when they actually weren’t. Most did drugs, had sex before marrige, and drank. Just because you think you know your kid and their friends doesn’t mean they aren’t hiding anything from you

  53. Jazmine Forbes says:

    Hi Johnathan, I’m in college student at Marymount Universtity right now, and when I was in 12th I went to prom. Since I was a girl, I was very excited, I was buying the perfect dress, getting my hair done, and so on. Now one thing is, I was black, and black BOYS are a little bit more (you know) than white boys (not to be racist). Well, I read this, and compared to my experience, it was more than what you think happens there. Boys there grab/smack behinds, pull close holding behinds and/or breasts, kiss in front of the chaperones, and actually go outside to the school and make-out. Now to admit, I was one of those students, but I didn’t let them go that far like the other girls. Some girls went so far, and I saw this with my own eyes. They actually went in the dark and had sex. Now I was in a group with 5 girls (including me) and 3 boys, and my friend’s parents were one of the Baptist family’s that got hotels so we wouldn’t be out in the street, and so when we went back, I’ll admit me did have a little fun but me and my Best Friend (to this day) refused to go any further than kissing. One of the boys understood and he took us to my house. This is my experience that you can believe. Thanks for bringing up this topic.

  54. Matt says:

    Did Jesus isolate himself from sinners?

    • Ha… I don’t know who you are pushing back to, the article, or some of these comments. But if you read my blog much, you know I’m not an advocate of isolating ourselves from sinners. The tough situation for teenagers is to balance loving others, considering others before themselves, being a light in a dark world, while at the same time knowing when to “flee” youthful lusts. That’s a lot to put on a teenager. Sending a vulnerable young man into a place of temptation was probably not Jesus’ idea of loving the sinner. We (parents) need to raise a generation of young people who love sinners like Jesus did, who engage with the culture like the Apostle Paul did, and who resolve to live pure like Daniel lived.

  55. Kevin Stepp says:

    Our school recently instituted more stringent rules about dance conduct. Despite the best efforts of chaperones – which included both faculty and parents -, the devolution of the dancing into, as Mr. McKee put it, ‘dry humping’ continued. The updated policy required parent signatures on an acknowledgement that inappropriate dancing or clothing (it is amazing how what is modest at the door can be altered by the wearer or dance partner to become vulgar and over-revealing!) is grounds for dismissal from the dance and forfeiture of admission and other costs. The first dance on the schedule after the implementation- a fundraiser for the prom committee- was canceled due to lack of participation and, the resulting loss of revenue now endangers the prom itself. The students’ stated reason? From several animated conversations, the consensus was that any attempt to control their behavior would result in them asking their parents to rent a local hall to have an alternative prom. One student, speaking in spite of her classmates exhortations to ‘keep quiet about it’, asked, “What do you mean when you talk about dancing? I only dance the only way I know.” And, given the absence of American Bandstand, Soul Train, and Dance Party (not to mention Disco Fever!), her point is well-founded. This generation learned to dance the same way previous generations did…by watching what was on TV and in the movies. And this is the result.

  56. Britney says:

    I am not Christian, however, being in that I just graduated this past year, I can tell you this is a problem for everyone. I was always in that minority percentage, simply because it’s against my morals. Many girls are put into situations whee they feel uncomfortable, and it starts as early as the 8th grade dance or a freshman mixer here. It’s a problem. Most kids simply know no other way to dance unless it’s line dances. They don’t know what else to do so they’ve defaulted to what they see and hear in media.

  57. Fred says:

    As a professor at a leading Christian only university in SoCal, let me be the first to say that the students here do the same things as non Christians. They smoke weed, have sex, are homosexuals, drink, dance (lol), have multiple sex partners, etc. so, keep homeschooling your kids through college! By the way: isn’t there much research on PK’s and that they so much of this stuff as well?
    Hey, just talk to your kids. If they blow it, then there are consequences. All the legalities of today’s Christian church is laughable.

  58. WordVixen says:

    I apologize if someone else has already said this- 90 comments is a lot to wade through just to see if you’re a duplicate.

    I understand the desire to protect your daughters and, certainly, 14 is a bit young to send out unprotected. However, what I’m really hearing in this post is “Protect my daughter because boys are monsters.” There doesn’t seem to be any agency for the girl in this scenario. None. Like she’s not fully human with a functioning intellect and moral compass. I understand that at this age, peer pressure is kinda everything. I do. But you seem to assume that the only reason a girl would engage in this kind of behavior is because that’s what the boy wants, or because that’s what her friends want her to do. Perhaps this is something that *she* wants. Again, I agree that 14 is a bit old to let her make decisions like that. But, at some point, she’ll get to choose for herself.

    I personally think that a better response than “no you can’t go” (erm, though, maybe AFTER she’s 14) would be to teach her how to form and maintain healthy boundaries, and to teach her what consent looks like. Girls who are treated as objects to be protected, even beloved objects, tend to not understand boundaries or consent- she’ll always see her body as subject to another’s wants, whether those wants are to protect her, or to take her. Teach her that her body is her own, and she’ll be able to make the choices that SHE desires.

  59. WordVixen says:

    *a bit young, not a bit old. Oops.

  60. Jeff says:

    What happened to this author as a child? Did nobody ever teach you personal responsibility? How will you live your life fearing the worst from people, referring to them as “predators”, and assuming the worst? Seems really lonely up there on that pedestal.

  61. N/a says:

    This is about the most narrow minded post I have seen, especially if the person posting this is a Christian. Yes, grinding does happen. Yes, sometimes it can get out of hand and needs to be put to a halt. But, as a Christian myself I see dances as a chance to go and witness to people. When I have children I will allow them to go to high school homecomings and proms. And I hope they will have as great of an Expirience as I have in my past 4 years (not missing one dance either). I know what most of you people will say on here, why would I as a Christian subject myself to this “immoral” atmosphere? It is a high school Expirience. Do you really want your kids having to say in school “no, my parents wouldn’t let me go this weekend because they don’t want me being around non-Christian people”? Really? Here’s some news for you people who think this is the worst thing about high school. I see 10x worse stuff than a little bumping and grinding at my school, I see kids coming to school intoxicated, high, even having sex, AT SCHOOL. My mother is the biggest Christian I know, and witnesses to people every chance she gets. And guess what, she still let me go to all my dances, because it was one of the funnest parts for her in school. And she didn’t want me missing out. You all are being very narrow-minded. Referring to people who aren’t Christians as non-believers. This is the reason right here why people aren’t Christians anymore.

    Like I said. I am a Christian. And I believe very strongly in my faith. But I can assure you, if you raise your kids to stay away from non-believers. They will become one of “them”. That is all. Rant over.

  62. I think it’s a lot more valuable to teach kids how to operate (and, like, have fun) in the real world than simply hiding them away and not allowing them to participate.

    I’d rather have a daughter who maybe danced provocatively with some nasty dude one time and had a good sense of who she was and how she wanted to behave than a daughter who just didn’t do stuff because I said no.

    The real world is dark and dangerous and can hurt you, but it can also be a place for fun and healthy behavior. The sooner and more frequently we teach that to our children, the better off they’ll be when they encounter it.

    • Rachel says:

      Yes! As a 20 year old young lady in college, I am so thankful that my parents taught me how to behave and have fun as a Christian in an un-Christian world rather than just lock me away in my tower until I turned 18.

  63. Mark says:

    My wife and I were asked to chaperone a dance for a Christian based home school group at a Christian college campus. if you call a group of kids standing in a group and rubbing against each other to music dancing than dancing is what they did. On more than one occasion we had to ask the DJ to stop playing sleezy music and separate the kids. I personally do not feel that simulating mating rituals qualifies as dance. I should also mention tha we are ball room dance instructors. And yes, some people can make even ballroom dancing into something sleezy. However, we have taught high schoolers to ballroom dance and held dances for them to strut their stuff. We also invited their parents. It is quite possible to dance face to face and have an enjoyable evening.

  64. Traci says:

    You had me until the nonbelievers bit. I really think that was narrowminded. I wanted to champion this article and spread it far and wide. It’s exactly what I’ve been yelling To anyone who will listen since I helped chaperone a high school prom a couple years ago, but my children don’t currently go to a church around here. And a lot of my neighbors with children who go to church are absolutely blind as to what their children do. I don’t think guaranteeing that the children of people who are not Christian listen to that garbage is a very moral argument.

  65. ryan says:

    I understand your thinking as a 25 yr old parent. Understand wanting to protect them from the harsh realities of the world. I was brought up in a christian home and have been taught the bibles lessons. I however was one of the rebellious children listening to what would be called evil music.i loved staying out all night drinking, smoking, and doing many things i regret. However after all my mistakes im still a good person with a big heart. I came through it not bc my parents but me in a bubble and kept me from prom or dances but bc i have good guidance at home. Also i believe you may need to rethink how you teach your children about “non believers” because you seem to believe the are “preditors”. That is the attitude that made me turn from the church in the first place. Im not saying non christians arent capable of being preditors but christians are also capable of such things. I went to bible camp as a child and there was just as much going on there as in public school.

  66. Rachel says:

    Although I am no parent, I am a 20-year-old college student who is very familiar with the struggles of being a Christian in high school seeing as I recently graduated. And while I understand that parents want to protect their children from the world, I have to laugh at some of these comments. My parents were super traditional and super strict, but still allowed me to go to prom (gasp) with a date (gasp) who was a boy (gasp) and didn’t threaten his life when he came and picked me up. What I learned from my experiences in high school, is that
    1) wordly, popular, and vulgar music doesn’t make teenagers want to have sex and do drugs. Teenagers want to have sex and do drugs because they’ve either been taught that it is acceptable, or they are looking to fill some sort of void that should have been filled by love and acceptance from Christ, as well as their parents.
    2) teenagers will make their own decisions regarding sex. I decided for myself a long time ago that I would save myself for marriage. However, if I has decided that I wanted to have sex with my date after prom, I would have. But, I didn’t, regardless of the fact that I slept on the floor of a friend’s house after prom with boys sleeping upstairs. No amount of covering up or locking away will prevent kids from doing what they want. I knew that I didn’t need to have sex with my date because my father raised me in such a way that showed me how a real man loves and respects a woman.
    3) There are much worse things in this world than dancing. God created music as well as dancing, and He created those things to bring His children joy, as well as to bring Him glory. I understand that bending over while a boy grinds his pelvis all over you is in no way pleasing to God, but that is not all that dancing entails. Why would we give satan the power to ruin and degrade something that God created to be beatiful and good?
    I know that I have a long way to go in terms of wisdom and parenting, but the world has changed! Teenagers don’t need a list of “To-Dos” and “To-Don’ts” to get to Heaven, they need love and support and acceptance and grace.

  67. Shannon says:

    Very grateful that my daughter attends a private Christian School (school 3 days a week, homeschooled 2 days). They just had their Snow Ball a few weeks ago. All songs were nominated by students and voted on (approved or rejected) by a committee of teachers, parents and students. All dress had length requirements as well. There were no dark corners and parents were encouraged to attend! I never saw any moves that were questionable at all. Feeling very grateful right now!!!

  68. MG says:

    Perhaps this comment should be saved for a different blog topic, and I do realize you are communicating from a “father of daughters” perspective. But, I have to say, as a mother to two boys, I want to teach them that young women are not objects and should not be treated as such when dancing with them or any other time. I don’t care what they are wearing or what they may even be wanting. I realize that is really asking a lot of a young man when that kind of stuff is around for him to see at a dance, but if he doesn’t think he can handle himself, then maybe he ought not go. I just don’t see how “grinding” and “dry humping” a fellow high school friend/date is in anyway honorable or respectful. This is does not mean that sex drive is “bad”, or that it isn’t perfectly natural and a God-given desire. However, it doesn’t mean it’s godly for a young man or young woman to be doing it. Anyway, thank you for the post. My boys are only in elementary. : ) This article floored me. I had no idea. Glad I know what’s coming!

  69. sammantha says:

    This is a great article, I agree, but do take into consideration that they also need to be faced with these temptations and should know better than to join in, this will prepare them for the temptations of the world when they move out and make their own decisions.

  70. Kassie says:

    Hey,
    I am a 17 year old girl and I’d just like to say I totally agree with you on this post!! It is absolutely true… honestly I’m done going to high school dances… well except prom but even prom I’m kinda iffy on… the only music they played at my last school dance was about sex and people rubbing against each other and drugs… surprised my principle allowed them to play it! My boyfriend and I are believers and we felt very weird being there, we didn’t know how to dance to that kind of music so we just did the disco and old fashioned dances they would do back in the 80’s haha! It shocks me how kids my age are all about sex and drugs nowadays… I am so glad I am a child of God’s and I know better than to do any of that! I wouldn’t suggest any parents allowing their kids to dances unless they can honestly trust their child to make the right choices…. and to wear a pure dress… not those super skin showing ones or even tite silky ones that show off their bodies. Everyone needs to hear this post!

  71. Kayla says:

    I think parents should instill morals and self confidence in their kids so that they can trust them to behave themselves when they go to dances or similar events. Hiding them away from dances in no way teaches them to make the right choices. When they go off to college or just out into the real world, they will have much more trouble dealing with temptation because they never had the freedom to choose before. As a freshman in college, I will admit that if I had not learned how to dance on the outskirts of the party and enjoy myself whether in the majority or not, I would not know how to handle myself at social college events. But because I have, I can go out and spend time with friends with literally no desire to drink, grind on boys, etc.
    It can be a powerful witness to go to events and behave properly. My freshman year in high school, basically everyone only grinded on each other while the rest of us just sat on the side. The next year, we joined the back of the dance floor and had about 1/6 of the people dancing modestly and just having fun. Most of the grade under us followed our lead. By my senior year, more people were dancing modestly than grinding. We even played swing dancing music for a good portion of the dance!
    Let your kids be the light of their school.

  72. trellis says:

    Wow, awesome blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is excellent, as well as the content!

  73. Heather B says:

    Great post, Jonathan. As a naive Christian parent originally from a small town now in the suburbs of Chicago, I was shocked to hear what goes on at dances and on buses, etc. these days – not that any of that wasn’t going on in my day, but at least parents and values were more like-minded years ago. As you said, I’m shocked at Christian parents. Key for me growing up was the absence of like-minded Christian friends which eventually led to a period of demise in my life. Our family are fully-devoted followers of Christ and I can’t imagine not preparing my children and supporting them in their faith. Your point, “Parents need to help kids not set themselves up for failure” is so key, and I’m so glad to see there are dads like you doing the right thing for their kids/girls. Keep it up! We just got a copy of a brand new book, well renewed, so to speak, I think you might enjoy and aligns with what you’re saying, called “She Calls Me Daddy: 7 Things You Need to Know About Building a Complete Daughter,” by Robert Wolgemuth. The original book came out in the 90s, a best-seller, has been updated for today. His girls are grown up and give their own input along with their husbands who are daddies to girls. I understand 40% of the book is new material. It’s so unique in this way. Robert puts the anxieties of Daddy raising his girl(s) to rest, guiding you through challenges and good times – protecting, conversation, affection, discipline, laughter, faith, conduct. So great for helping daddies learn to lead, love and cherish. An invaluable investment. I highly recommend it!