How to Talk to Your Teenager about Parties

How to Talk to Your Teenager about Parties

As a parent, you'll learn that there's a big difference between the birthday parties you throw for your kids when they're young and the parties that your teenager wants to have. It can be a difficult experience for any parent when they reach that point in their life (especially if they've been to those same kinds of parties when they were in their teens!).

It doesn't help if your teenager feels that you're not open to the idea of hosting a cool party for them and their friends, or that you won't let them to go to one at a friend's house. You need to be able to talk to your teen openly and frankly, without too many preconceptions about what they'll do and what'll happen at such a party. To get there, just keep these ideas in mind.

1. Guests and Invitations

The most important thing to talk to your teen about is their friends and how they feel about them. Even the most well-meaning friends can still create peer pressure without realizing it, thinking that they're helping your teen because "It's what the cool kids do." It's important to find out if your teen truly enjoys their company because of who they are or if they're only hanging out with these kids because they feel too insecure to say "No."

As a parent, when you're hosting a party for teenagers, you can talk to your own teen about the kind of friends they want to invite and the type of people you'd rather not have show up. Give them some tips about screening out potential gatecrashers, especially when they're sending out invitations online and can't control who forwards the invite.

2. Entertainment

It's rare nowadays for any teen party to consist of sitting on the couch and watching movies. The bigger and more popular parties will often have a DJ and plenty of dancing. Whether you're running the show or letting your teen go to someone else's house, you can still take a few precautions. Talk to the DJ and make sure that the music is loud enough for the teens, but not so loud to cause a noise complaint. Go over the playlist and see if there are any inappropriate songs or lyrics. Make sure that your teen appreciates your concerns, even if they turn out to be baseless.

3. Issues with Drinking

Adolescence is an awkward phase for anyone, so it's only natural that teenagers would rather feel more "adult" by getting into alcohol, especially at parties. Peer pressure is also a common factor in underage drinking; no one wants to feel left out when all their friends start to get into beer.

As a parent, you're responsible for keeping your child safe from the dangers of underage drinking and the poor choices that can result from it—including trouble in school, unprotected sex, drunk driving, and an early dependence on alcohol. Ultimately, because alcohol holds such mystique for teens, you have to show them how starting to drink at an early age doesn't make them more "adult." You can set down rules about avoiding alcohol at parties and not giving into peer pressure, but there are other solutions, including a frank discussion of how both of you feel about drinking and how it affects your lives.

4. Other Safety Issues

There are other factors that could put your teen at risk, but you run the risk of pushing your teen in that direction if you only give them the face and voice of an authority figure. Peer pressure becomes much more inviting compared to the stern face of their mother. When you need to talk about these things, find some common ground. Ask your teen about what situations they'd like to avoid and see how you can advise them to do just that. If it helps, be open about your own past and any similar situations you faced when you were their age.

Finally, you'll want to make sure that your teen understands that, if anything goes wrong or they don't feel secure, they can always discreetly call or text you for a ride home.

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