11 tips for a successful teen party

Teenage drinking

You may have noticed that I have not mentioned the elephant in the room – underage drinking. Before you undertake any form of party for teenagers, especially for kids in senior years, you need to make an informed decision about where you stand on teenage drinking.

Adults who supply alcohol to underage teens may be exposing themselves to severe fines. However, in my experience, being underage is no real impediment for most teens. They bring their own alcohol to parties. Some of them openly buy it from bottle shops (no doubt because they have false ID or know which bottle shops are lax with ID) while others bring it from home.

Don’t fool yourself. Your teenager, by the time they have reached 16, is almost certain to have consumed alcohol. I have heard so many parents say “But my Johnny doesn’t drink at all and he is appalled at how many do.” Well, reality check – Johnny does drink, but goes to a sleepover at a friend’s house the night of a party so you have no idea. (I should mention that I confiscated a bottle of Absinthe from this Johnny the last time he stayed at my house…)

In our house there are rules:

  • If my teens go to a party their dad drops them off and picks them up – from the same address.
  • They must be able to have a coherent conversation on the way home. If they can’t have a conversation and are intoxicated (this has happened only once) there are repercussions.
  • As parents, we do not buy alcohol or provide money for purchasing alcohol. We do not provide alcohol at parties. However, we accept that teens (including ours) will acquire their own alcohol and take it to parties.
  • We monitor those who attend our parties and actively discourage excessive drinking, and are especially tough on ‘sculling’ or drinking straight spirits in any form. Our teens are very aware of the damage that alcohol can cause to developing brains. Although we openly discourage our children from consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, we recognise that to impose a blanket ban would likely cause our children to rebel.

I strongly urge all parents to have an honest discussion with their teens about alcohol without passing judgment. [Read 10 ways to encourage your kids to talk about drugs if you need help with this.] It is far better to know something and disagree with it than to not know anything. If your teen is honest with you, you are likely to be shocked by what you are told.

* Names have been changed

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  1. this is a terrific article! we now have a rule about no sleepovers and we pick up from the party !

    • The Kids Are All Right says:

      I thought these tips were excellent too. Everyone knows their own kids and for some it may not be necessary, but I think this is a good middle ground where your kid can go off and have a good time without going too crazy.

  2. These are excellent tips. Another tip I would add to this list is using wristbands to identify a) who is allowed at the party (applying them to guests as they arrive) and b) who is permitted to drink at this party (assuming you are permitting alcohol i.e. for an 18th birthday party where the guests may be 17-19 years old, and keeping in mind the need for moderation). Party wristbands provide an easy ongoing identification method for parents as the party goes on, especially if you choose a fluro colour such as yellow or neon lime. it is the same strategy used by festivals and other events – I am sure you have all been to a party/event and had to wear a wristband that identifies to security that you are allowed to be there. Why not apply this to your teenagers party also. Party wristbands are cost effective, but make sure you order wristbands with a single use clip – these cannot be removed by the guests (or transferred to others) except with scissors. Plus, if you add some content or imagery to the wristband, it is something the kids might like wearing also.

  3. Thank you for a great article and sharing your experience. I think one of the challenges for many parents is for both mum and dad to be on the same page and stand firm in the rules together. This article sets out very clearly how to manage some potentially very tricky situations.

    • Thanks for the feedback Skeeta. This continues to be a very popular article – it’s great being able to learn from other people isn’t it?

  4. People might fight during your party. If they do, say very politely, “Hey guys, you’re wrecking my party. Please stop it.” If that doesn’t work, tell your parents. lol



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