The two places where teenagers drink away from home are at house parties and in public places. If planning to host a party for teenagers, or when you face your child going off to their first house party, we’ve put together some tips learnt from experiences shared at our talk to kids about alcohol sessions held in schools.
Holding a house party
Think carefully before you say yes. Especially if the kids are under 15. Suggest alternatives such as going out for a pizza, bowling, the cinema, paint balling or a shopping trip with best friends… Agree the list of invites with your teenager. If anyone has a ‘reputation’ for bringing booze or getting drunk then explain why you’d prefer them not to be invited. This can include you being personally responsible if something goes wrong or if anyone’s hurt. Warn your teen about how they invite their friends – no open invitations on Facebook or chat on twitter, or you may end up with unwelcome guests.
Going to parties
Out of sight out of mind? Set the ground rules as carefully as you can to ensure your child stays safe at other people’s parties… Speak to the host parents, even if you don’t know them. Tell your child you’re not prepared to let them go otherwise. Check an adult will be present and their policy on alcohol. If you can, drop your teenager off and pick them up, or share lifts with parents you trust. If sleeping over after a party at another friend’s house, check plans are genuine and again speak to the parents. Ask your child to ring or text you when they’re safely at their friend’s house. Make sure your teenager has had a good meal before they go out, such as pasta.
Check they have a fully charged mobile that they must keep on, and that you have planned how and what time they are getting home. Be prepared to say no if you’re unhappy about a party or if your child doesn’t want you to speak to the host… there’ll be rows, but it’s because you care, not because you’re being a killjoy. Don’t feel pressured by younger teens to provide them with alcohol to take with them to parties. They may tell you everyone else’s parents do this, but that’s just not true.. or threaten you that they’ll ask their mates to buy it for them instead (explain they risk their friend being fined or charged). If your teen breaks your agreement, such as what time to be home, then make sure you carry through your threats, such as grounding them or stopping their spending money for a month. If you have any questions regarding information on this site, please do contact firstname.lastname@example.org