Dropping teenagers to parties

Dropping teenagers to parties

Image by surlygirl/Flickr

Do you still drop your teenager at parties? And if so, do you still introduce yourself to the parents, or go and say hi if you know the parents?

I think in years 7 and 8, this should be a no brainer. Often there is a whole lot of new parents you haven’t met before, and it’s the polite thing to do and the safe thing to do.

The first time I broke this rule I ended up with egg on my face. I’d been feeling a bit surprised and confused by the number of times kids had been dropped to my place for sleepovers or a party without the parents saying hi, or even speaking with me on the phone in advance. Especially when they didn’t know me. I got a bit huffy one day picking my daughter up from a party late at night, and thought, “Well, if other parents don’t care about these things then I’m not going to bother either.” And I sat in the car outside the house and used my mobile to call my daughter inside. While I waited for her to come out, the mum of the birthday girl came out to my car and introduced herself to me. I felt so embarrassed. I wanted to say, “I don’t normally do this, I swear!! This is the first time I’ve not gone to the house to meet the parents!!”

She’s since become a good friend and I think I’ve been able to salvage my reputation.

I broke my rule on another occasion, and in this case I had been trying in vain to contact the mum of another birthday girl before her party. Her number was on the RSVP but she never returned a phone call. I did let my daughter go to the party, but I still didn’t go in to meet the parents because there were absolutely no parks nearby.

A friend of mine recently held a party for her daughter who turned 14. Her daughter goes to an all girls school so the mum had never met the parents of the boys who were at the party. She said they all parked outside on the street and rang their boys to come out when the party was over.

I know everybody has different levels of comfort about things, but I think when our kids are aged 12, 13, 14… we should be making contact with the parents. I can’t say for sure what I am going to do in the next few years – I suspect there will be fewer and fewer parties that parents actually know about and are hosting. But right now, I am still calling the parents that I don’t know well before a sleepover to make sure we are all on the same page about things and that the other parent actually knows it’s happening.

I guess I think that if the other parent knows I care, they will be more inclined to talk to me if anything goes down that should be discussed with me, rather than turning a blind eye.

I’ve made the same decision in the past. If I know you care as a parent, I will talk to you about things. If I think you don’t care, because you don’t make contact with me, then I don’t feel responsible to you.

Then of course there are the parents that you know well, they know you, and you can cover it off with a quick text.

I’m interested in what you think about contact with parents before a teenage party. If you have younger teens, do you always connect with other parents before a party or at pick-up? If you have older teens, does this practice become less necessary?





  1. What a great post. This is a big issue, as a high school teacher I hear boys planning parties when I’m on yard duty and I always wonder if parents are aware of these events. I think you are spot on, if a parent knows you care they’re more likely to communicate with you about what your child is up to.

    When my daughter is a teen I’ll be the parent ringing the door bell and sussing out the scene. Might embarrass her, but isn’t that the job of a parent?

  2. You’re giving me food for thought for the future! I know I’m a while off this, but am also aware that time will pass in the blink of an eye! My mum always called and always checked details beforehand. It drove me crazy because I was one of the few at most parties not to get up to much anyway! But I understand why she did it. And I understood then, too.

    • Yes, I guess thinking back I was like you, annoyed but I got it. As parents I guess we just have to get used to our kids being annoyed with us throughout the teen years 🙂

  3. You’ve just described what *I* do – I am ALWAYS the parent who asks to speak to the other parent regarding sleepovers or parties, especially when it’s at someone’s house that I’ve never met before. This has caused the occasional amount of friction with my 14 year old but as I say to him “It’s my job as a parent and I do it because I CARE.” He mutters and mumbles but I he knows that unless I get to talk to a parent, he won’t be going!

    It does change a little as they get older, but I’ve always gone on the case-by-case basis – sometimes you can just *tell* if something doesn’t sound right and your kids are being a little ‘fuzzy’ on the details!

  4. I think “social media” should really be called “anti-social media”…before mobile phones none of this would be happening! Parents always knew other parents – at least my mum knew other mums. And isn’t that always the way, the ONE time you think “fine, if that’s how they do it, that’s how I’ll do it”and you get caught out. That usually happens to me leaving clothes in a dressing room. I always take them and put them back and when I don’t, the sales person sees me leave them there.

    • Yes it’s interesting, social media has made it easier for teens to organise their own things – but we still get physical invitations (they still exist!) to some things with the parent’s phone number. If your child changes friends over the course of high school, there will be new parents to get to know, and that gets harder the older they get – you have to go out of your way to speak with them, let along meet with them, especially if the school doesn’t organise things for parents.

  5. I’m not as on-the-ball with this as I used to be. The kids often RSVP themselves to their mates. If I’ve never met the parents I do usually go in and say hi. Most of the time though they are going to parties with the same group of friends so I’m quite familiar with the parents. (Even if it is only a once-a-year-on-the-birthday-hello or a smile-across-the-hall-at-parent-teacher-night). We don’t seem to be up to the kids planning unsupervised parties yet and I’m glad about that!

    • I think when you know the parents it’s different. I grew up in a country town and everyone knew everyone and it was quite different. Even now there are some parents and some kids that I wouldn’t feel the need to go out of my way to make contact with; I can imagine that’s the same as your situation 🙂



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