So You Want Your Teen Bash to Be Conservative?
For most teens, an active social life is more important than family and school. Unsupervised parties aren’t hard to find – invites go viral when a parent is out of town. A supervised party can still be a good time for teens to be social, have a memorable time, and stay safe. By the way, in case you didn’t know, to turn up means to get loose, get wild… and party!
- Decide on a number of teens and stick to it. When a teen plans a party, news spreads like wildfire via social media. Parties can get out of hand fast. Urge your teen to use the private settings for invites and notifications. If you don’t, you could wind up with too many teens to chaperone.
- Keep parties small. A good rule of thumb is 10 teens for every adult. Ask other parents to come over to help. A clear mandate of “no party crashers” will prevent an open party situation, where too many teens ambush the party and mayhem ensues.
- Chatting, dancing, listening to music, and eating are standard party activities, but you may want to consider some group games or set up mobile entertainment
- Tell your neighbor you’ll be hosting a party and give them the start and end time. They are likely to be more tolerant of the noise and traffic. If you’re on good terms with them, invite them to join the fun and chaperone.
Some parents believe it’s better to allow teens to drink at home in safe environment. You may be able to keep your impaired teen safe at home, but it’s not a good idea when hosting other teens. The American Academy of Pediatrics states, “Alcohol affects teens differently than adults. For example, compared with adults, teens are more likely to remain awake, to wander about, or to drive a car while having a much greater degree of mental impairment. Teens are more likely to have sex, be involved in a violent incident, or suffer an injury after using drugs or alcohol.”
Underage drinking is illegal, and as parents hosting the party, you could be criminally or civilly liable if someone is hurt (especially when driving is involved) or property is damaged. If any teen brings alcohol or drugs into your home, call their parents. If a teen shows up drunk, make sure they get home safely.
Yes, You Need Rules
Talk about your rules and expectations with your teen before the party. Some rules are obvious, like no alcohol, drugs, or tobacco. You may have some additional ones, like no one can leave the party and then return (prevents drinking elsewhere and returning intoxicated). Lights are left on at all times, and certain areas of the house are off limits. Finally, include a start time and an end time that follows your local curfew laws.
Be Cool but Smart
Be there, but be cool about your presence. This isn’t the time to practice the teen slang you picked up on Google.
- Greet the teens when they come, then pick a spot where you can see what’s going on without being in the way. Serving snacks and restocking the beverage table is a good way to interact without being intrusive or look like you’re spying.
- Make sure all adults are on board with your rules and enforce them.
- Be a good role model and make sure no adult chaperones are drinking alcohol.
- Subtle hints like turning down the music or cleaning up the snack and beverage area shortly before the party ends will signal teens the party is winding down.
Unfortunately, you may run into some sticky situations that may require you to be the “bad guy.” Your goal is to provide a safe and fun place to hang out, but some guests may not be in the party spirit. You may have to ask a guest to leave (and call their parents) if they bring in alcohol or see them with drugs. If a guest becomes rude or harmful to others and refuses to cooperate with your rules, you’ll have to ask them to leave. If the guests refuse to leave and threatens the safety of the other guests, be sure to call the police. These events aren’t likely, but it’s good to have a plan in place.
Hosting a party for your teen and their friends? What’s the gameplan? Share with us!