The Cambrian

Lady Tie Di: Parents should ask: Who? When? Where?

Since someone has already chided my son, “Hey, it’s prom time — Guess your mom will write about you?” “Yeah, she probably will.” So-o-o-o, doesn’t that give me carte blanche? Nothing personal—more about “prom” and “parenting.” Fair enough, son?

He has managed to get himself hooked into not only Coast Union’s event this year, but a second prom as well. His very new girlfriend attends San Luis Obispo High School. She’s a new face on the scene, so I was naturally cautious and quizzical. “Where does she live? What do her parents do?” The usual. At least, it is for me. As a parent, I want as much detail as possible.

I worked for the Cookie Crock when it was in a rather leaky little building situated where Las Cambritas is now, oh-so-many-years ago. I remember clearly when they started to carry — well — condoms. Mind you, there were only four aisles in the place, five if you counted the front of the meat counter as its own aisle.

“Wow, guess that was a good item to carry! We’re out already,” commented owner Del Clegg. “I didn’t sell any.” “Neither did I.” “Don’t look at me,” all of us cashiers chimed in. Contemplating the matter, it was concluded—oh, prom season! “I guess we’ll chalk it up as a community service!”

When I was in high school, I was even less attractive and dorkier than I am now, so, needless to say, was never invited to dances. However, you “heard stuff.” Those things never really leave your head. Now that I’m a parent, well, I just have specifics I think need to be followed.

My young son goes crazy when I start “asking too many questions” and put parameters on his fun. I don’t know his new girlfriend well yet, but already am connecting with her mom. Tonight, when picking him up from their house, we sat down and worked out the details of the prom nights.

She asked all the right questions: who will you be with, where will you be going, at what time will you be where, how are you getting there, where will you be staying afterwards — my kinda mom. “See, I’m not the only one!”

No matter how trustworthy your child is, I recommend asking all that, because, God forbid, should anything happen to them or you over the course of the evening, communication will be possible (no, cell phones are not the end-all solution to distance), plus it gives them a way to keep it on the up and up. It doesn’t matter if it’s prom night or Wednesday night, this is all valid, legitimate stuff to know.

I don’t feel like I’m “controlling” my child, but I am encouraging him to plan ahead, make sensible choices (hey, he’ll maximize his fun that way!), setting safeguards so they’ll know what those look like, and let him know I care enough to be consistent and take some interest in his whereabouts. I know he doesn’t always feel that way now, but he will, if his brother’s any indication.

Can’t wait to see those prom pics!

E-mail Lady Tie Di, aka Dianne Brooke, a member of the Coast Unified School District Board of Trustees, at, or visit her Web site at