As your child reaches their teenage years, they’ll probably start attending more parties until pretty soon they’re bound to want to throw one of their own. After all, these gatherings are an important part of high school social life.
Teens want to be popular and cool. They’re also learning important relationship and leadership skills. Parties are part of that process.
As a parent, you want your teen to enjoy healthy friendships, but you’re also concerned about issues like alcohol and sex. You may be wondering how to keep them safe without spoiling their fun.
Try these ideas to help you and your teen plan a successful party.
Things to Do Before Your Party:
- Set ground rules. Clarify your expectations. While music and menus can be negotiated, be adamant about banning alcohol and drugs. “Teens whose parents talk with them regularly about drugs and alcohol are 42% less likely to use substances than those whose parents don’t,” according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Approve the invitation. Ensure the major rules you discussed get included in the invitation. That includes specific start and end times, as well as letting guests know they’ll be unable to return to the party once they leave.
- Limit the guest list. Think about how many teens you’ll be able to supervise and how many guests can fit into your home or any venue you select. Keep in mind that you’re likely to wind up with some additional guests in spite of your rules.
- Monitor social media. Facebook is why thousands of teens sometimes show up for a small party. Check privacy settings to ensure your invitations are not made public and guests are prevented from passing along invitations to others.
- Remove temptations. Lock up alcohol and medications. Put away items that you’re concerned about being broken or lost. Close off any areas of your house that you want to keep private.
- Plan activities. Talk with your child about arranging alcohol-free games and other activities. You might want to develop a full theme for your party.
- Gather contact information. Put together a list of phone numbers for your guests and their parents. That way you’ll be able to reach them in case of accidents.
- Recruit other parents. Having at least one other parent available will provide back-up in case of any emergencies. This could also be an ideal time to get to know other parents. You can socialize in between chaperoning.
Things to Do During and After Your Party:
- Serve food. Be prepared with lots of snacks and beverages. Ordering pizza is an easy and popular choice.
- Stay alert. As a bonus, bringing around snacks gives you a chance to scan the room and see what’s going on. You’ll look less conspicuous carrying a tray.
- Provide guidance. If you see signs of trouble, ask your teen to come speak with you privately. As much as possible, let them handle any infractions. Intervene only when necessary.
- Arrange safe departures. Saying goodbye will be smoother if you ask about departure plans as your guests arrive. You may still need to call taxis or ridesharing services if plans change. Also, ensure all minors leave with their parents or a responsible adult.
- Clean up. Let your child take responsibility for cleaning up, with your help. You can talk about the evening while you do your chores.
Throwing a party gives teens an opportunity to develop friendships and learn skills they’ll need for their adult life. Networking with other parents will help you to provide effective chaperoning so they can enjoy the festivities and stay safe.