The out of control teen party is frequently seen in movies – the parents out of town, drinking, sex, the house in shambles, and the occasional science fiction twist. The majority of teen get togethers are not like this however, and there are benefits to teens attending parties. Parties provide an opportunity for teens to gather with their friends and to build social skills.
When teen parties get out of hand (usually when the parties are unsupervised and crashed by large groups of kids), they get out of hand quickly. In order to reduce the chances of your teen getting involved with this type of gathering, you can take preventive measures.
Your teenager wants your respect, trust and love. How parties are handled by both of you will either build your relationship, or work to undermine and destroy it.
1. Sit down with your teen and mutually establish rules and guidelines about parties
Parenting a teen is all about going into a “Prevent Defense.”
Set up a series of guidelines
about your expectations for your teen’s behavior at parties. This will save both of you a lot of heartache.
for failing to follow the rules, then follow through. Consistency gives your teen the ability to work within a set of rules and helps them be more independent. If your teen has input into this process, they will “buy in” a lot more easily.
2. Allow your teen to be responsible for their actions
Many battles of the teenage years come from teens trying to assert their independence while wanting respect from their parents. Parents still want to feel needed but know that they need to let go and allow their teens to accept responsibility for their actions.
to your teen that with the added independence comes added responsibility. If your teen is at a party that gets out of hand and damage is done, let them take their portion of responsibility.
your teen to accept responsibility for social mishaps, like hurt feelings, that sometimes arise in social gatherings. You will be doing them a favor by teaching them these principles early and remaining consistent. If you are always cleaning up after your child, they will begin to believe that they are inadequate to solve problems by themselves.
3. Have the party at your house and make your house a cool place to hang out
Set appropriate rules for the number of guests, activities, etc. You will have the benefit of being close by to make sure that nothing gets out of hand, and your teen will be able to have their own party.
Get to know your teen’s friends, but don’t be a nuisance. If everything is going smoothly, simply be there as a safety net. One wise parent stated that they saved up for and set up a game room for their teens to spend time with friends.
4. Always be available as an emergency taxi for your teen
If your teen is at a party that gets out of hand, let them know that they can call you to come pick them up. Express your appreciation to them for calling and gently ask them how everything got to the point of the phone call.
Parties are an important part of the teen years. It will be easier to avoid negative experiences if you set rules ahead of time. Your teen needs to take responsibility for their actions when things do go wrong. You need to be willing to host a party and be available to pick your teen up from a party that has gotten out of hand.
A. Lynn Scoresby, founder and president of My Family Track , First Answers , and Achievement Synchrony , and has been a marriage and family psychologist for more than 35 years. He has published more than 20 books and training programs.