Parties and the Social Scene
Parties or “get togethers” are a major part of the high school social scene. They can be an enjoyable way for kids to meet and socialize. However, without proper planning and careful supervision, parties can be a disaster waiting to happen. The following guidelines will help you keep parties more fun and safe:
When the party is at your house:
Before the party:
- Set the ground rules. Your son or daughter needs to know what you expect.
- Limit party attendance. Curb the “open party” situation.
- Designate the “off-limits” rooms in your house.
- Know your legal responsibilities. Share this information with your teen.
- Set a reasonable time for the party to end.
- Remove any family liquor from areas accessible to party guests.
- Invite other couples to help chaperone.
At the party:
- Be present and visible. Don’t be pressured into staying out of sight. Greet guest as they arrive.
- Occasionally check on food and soda and monitor your yard.
- No smoking, no alcohol, no drugs.
- No leaving the party and then returning.
- Backpacks and coats must be left at the door.
- Consider checking contents of backpacks.
- Open cans or containers may not be brought into the party.
- Don’t hesitate to call the police if unwanted guests refuse to leave.
- Never allow anyone you suspect is under the influence of drugs or alcohol to drive. Call their parents or a cab, or ask a sober adult to drive them home.
When the party is elsewhere:
- Call the host parent to be sure that a parent will be present and get assurance that alcohol and drugs will not be permitted.
- Know how your child will get to and from the party.
- Discuss in advance the possible situations your preteen or teen might encounter and how to handle them. Make sure he or she has a phone number where you can be reached should they want to leave the party early.
- Be awake for your child’s return and have him or her awaken you. This gives you an opportunity to assess whether or not your child has been using drugs or alcohol.
- Verify any plans to say overnight with the host parents. Be way of impromptu sleepovers.
- Establish firm, clear rules against driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or riding with someone who has been drinking or using drugs.
If the parents are out of town:
Tell a neighbor about your scheduled absence and leave instructions to protect yourself against “surprise parties.” Leave a number where you can be reached. Inform your preteen or teenager of your preparations.
The week after school ends, thousands of students, many unchaperoned, gather at local resorts. For many students, this is a time to relax and have fun with friends after exams or graduation. For far too many, it is a time of near non-stop drunkenness and sexual promiscuity. Many parents who look upon these occasions as innocent “rites of passage” for high school students regret their mistake. If you are thinking of allowing your son or daughter to take part in large group celebrations, consider the following:
Provide responsible chaperoning: You are the best chaperones of your children. However, other parents whose judgment you trust and whose values you share are a reasonable alternative.
- Don’t ask young adults, including relatives, to chaperone. They are a poor choice, as they often buy alcohol for minors under their care.
- Offer an alternative: Father/son or mother/daughter outings, special privileges … etc.