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?