|Teenage parties are generally clean fun, and they give your child an opportunity to develop their independence, responsibility, and confidence. / Photo by: KONSTANTIN CHAGIN via 123rf|
When your child wants to go to a party and have a sleepover at the host’s house with other teens, what do you usually say? A big “No,” right? Because even as they explain excitedly what they’re planning for the night, you have already started imagining drugs, out-of-control drinking, and even unprotected sex during the teenage party, declared UK-based charity Family Lives. That may be true in some instances and in a lot of movies, but at some point, you will have to trust your teen and their peers.
Paula Hall, who is a Relate counselor, psychotherapist, and mom of two teen daughters, said, “If you feel you always need to be there to supervise, you need to ask yourself: What is it you are worried about that might go on—and what really are the chances of that happening?” If parents don’t give responsibility to their teenage children, then they won’t take it. Parents are going to get it wrong but they have to let their teenager take responsibility at some point in their lives.
Socializing Is a Part of Growing Up
As your child grows up, they’ll probably want to attend parties with their friends, but don’t panic just yet, said raisingchildren.net.au, Australia’s online parenting resource. Your child’s adolescent years are “when they are most likely to push boundaries and seek out new experiences,” according to Start the Conversation Stop Underage Drinking, an initiative by the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.
A human brain is not developed until a person reaches the age of 25. Unfortunately, the immediate years prior to this are also the time when teens are more likely to try alcohol and cigarette. Despite this, teenage parties are generally clean fun, and they give your child an opportunity to develop their independence, responsibility, and confidence. Parties also allow your child to make new friends and enhance their social skills. Of course, it’s also natural if you feel worried about letting them go to parties.
It’s okay to feel concerned when you are unfamiliar with the host or of the likelihood of alcohol and drugs being offered at the party. Perhaps your child feels the same way—excitement, nerves, and anxiety. Hence, you might want to speak to your teen about it and formulate a plan together. Who knows? Maybe going to parties will make both of you happy and comfortable. Here are the risks and benefits of teenage parties.
|Parties allow your child to make new friends and enhance their social skills. / Photo by: dolgachov via 123rf|
Safety Accompanies Enjoyment
Encouraging your child to invite a friend over to your house is a wonderful idea. That way, your child and their friend can brainstorm gift ideas, help each other pick an outfit, or dress up together. It’s okay to ask whether there will be adults or alcohol at the party. If there’s alcohol, tell your child what they need to do. You can also ask whether a party will be held in one place or move to another location during the night.
Most importantly, ask your teen if they know anyone who will go to the party. If they don’t want to share the details of the party, explain why you’re asking. You can say, “I’m worried that you might be at risk at this party. I can’t agree with you going if I’m not sure you’ll be safe.” Try to contact the party’s host, although this could depend on your child’s age. However, if you know your child’s friends and parents, then it’s easier for you to feel confident about your child going to the party. Still, it is recommended to get to know the host to help you feel confident that your teen will be “well looked after.”
Your safety concerns will be subject to change as your teen and their friends get older. You might also find your child coming up with plans to keep themselves safe as they mature.
Setting Up Ground Rules
Rules may include how your child will get to the party and when and how they’ll return home. You can also establish rules about alcohol and drinking. You and your child may have different perspectives regarding the ground rules you set. It is recommended to make a compromise “you can both live with.”
When your child breaks one of the rules, you can follow it up with a consequence so long as it’s meaningful and agreed upon prior to the party. For instance, you can say, “The deal is that you’ll be home by midnight. If you’re not, you won’t be able to have friends over for a week.”
|Rules may include how your child will get to the party and when and how they’ll return home. / Photo by: Aleksandr Davydov via 123rf|
What Happens When Things Go Wrong At a Party
Ensure that your child has your contact details on their phone as well as other emergency numbers they can text or call. Let your teen know that they (or their friends) can call you if they need help at any time. Have your child use a code word or a message if they feel awkward about calling to ask to come home.
If you’re concerned about your teenager’s safety, have them carry a personal alarm or install an emergency safety app on their phone. Additionally, it also best to convince your child to bring extra pocket money for an emergency taxi ride home.
Teenage parties are fun and can serve as an avenue to meet new friends. But there is also the chance of having alcohol and drugs. It’s difficult to let go of your teen considering that parties might be too “dangerous” but you need to balance safety with enjoyment and a feeling of independence that can make your child become a responsible person.