If you have had problems with your teen at parties it is likely that some of the following things have happened. Your teen:

  • Drank or used drugs
  • Got sexually involved
  • Returned with a defiant attitude
  • Left the party and got into trouble, or
  • Had contact with the wrong people

In order to maximise the odds that your teen will have safe and relatively sane party experiences you need to do the following:

Be clear about expectations and consequences –  Tell your teen what behaviour you require at parties. For example you might say I want you to have fun with your friends. I know I won’t be there to see you, but I still expect you to behave responsibly whether or not I am around. Give some basic rules of conduct you expect your teen to follow

  1. No alcohol or banned substance
  2. No sexual involvement
  3. No physical aggression
  4. Not leaving the site
  5. Adult supervision required

Make sure your teen knows that there will be consequences if she violates these basic rules, and that if she chooses not to live out these values, she will lose some privileges such as phone use and computer time.

Talk to host parent  – Don’t buy the line “Jamie’s mother said its okay”.  Make it a basic rule nothing happens until I talk to the parent.. Here are some questions you might want to ask the host parent.

-Can I help (supervision or food)

-Are you going to be there the whole time and be around the kids

-Are you going to allow drinking

-Is X or Y coming

Once you have this information you may not want to let your teen attend.  If the answers reassure you , keep in mind that you now have some leverage with your teen. Tell her that a party is a privilege, not a right, and that her behaviour in the days before the party will determine whether she attends,

Have a back up plan. Have some arrangement with your teen so that he has a way to back out if he needs to. You might tell your kid to call you if he needs to leave the party early

Here are some tips for parents of teens to help their child make healthy life choices about alcohol:

  • ideally, do not supply  alcohol to anyone under 18; waiting as long as possible to start drinking alcohol is safer
  • if you are providing sips, do so under supervision, for example, at home
  • know who your teen’s friends are; if they go out make sure you know where they will be and who they will be with; if they will be home late, they should check in with a parent or caregiver. This monitoring reduces the chance of your teen being in an unsafe environment and their friends supplying them with alcohol
  • establish some alcohol-specific rules (for instance, no alcohol from friends, only allowed to drink if a parent or caregiver is there to supervise)
  • limit access to alcohol at home (for instance, keep alcohol in locked cupboards, don’t keep too many drinks in the fridge)
  • model positive alcohol behaviours (for instance, eating before and while drinking, and sticking to the recommended number of drinks per day or week)
  • understand the alcohol secondary supply laws in your state or territory. These relate to the laws about supplying alcohol for people under 18.