What to ask parents who are hosting a party

Navigating the world of teenagers and parties is one of the more difficult tasks parents face. You may have different expectations and family rules to other parents, and what your teenager wants to do may be quite different to what you are comfortable with.

Drug and alcohol educator Paul Dillon says all parents will face this scenario at some point, and in deciding whether or not to allow their teen to attend a party – or ‘gathering’ – they will need to draw on a range of information that can be extremely difficult to collect.

DISCUSSION: Do you call the parents whose teen is hosting a party?

He recommends parents contact the parents holding the party, even though you can be assured your teenager will not want you to. He suggests you compare it with sending your child on a school trip.

“If there were any potential risks involved in the trip, you would want to know as much as possible about the activity they were taking part in,” says Paul. “The school would hopefully provide a whole pile of information on where the students were going and let you know what precautions they were taking to make the trip as safe as possible. If you felt that they trip was too risky, you would refuse permission for your child to take part. That is your right as a parent. It should be exactly the same for a teenage gathering.”

Paul offers the following guidelines for how you might want to approach the call:

  • My son has just started going to parties and I’m still trying to negotiate my way through setting some ground rules. I’m just calling to find out how you’re dealing with the alcohol issue.
  • Thank you so much for inviting my daughter to the party. We have some basic rules around parties and alcohol that we have developed and we just want to find out some information about what will be happening on the night.
  • I know it can be very difficult to host a party and I really do appreciate that you are offering your home to the young people. We’re considering holding an event in the future, can you let me know what you’re doing about adult supervision and alcohol use?

RELATED: Birthday party ideas for teenagers

He also recommends writing a list of questions you may want answers to, such as:

  • Will there be adult supervision? Does this mean actual supervision or will there just be adults in the house?
  • Who are the adults?
  • Will you be providing alcohol?
  • What will you be doing about underage drinking?
  • How will you deal with uninvited guests?
  • Have you registered your party with the local police?

In his latest blog post, Paul offers further advice on how to talk with other parents about this issue and how to handle things if they are offended by your question or if they have a different viewpoint. He also shares his advice on how to protect your child while they are at a party. Read more.




  1. These are great tips, especially the conversation starters. I am not quite at this stage in parenting yet, but it is just around the corner. Arggg!
    Rhianna recently posted..Things I know about being disorganised and power outagesMy Profile

    • I can get tongue tied in tricky conversations like this so I always appreciate some ‘script’ suggestions too.

  2. Some of these would be great questions to ask your teen’s boy/girl friend’s parents. Don’t just assume they have the same standards as you; chances are they won’t. When Miss 16 was asked to her new boyfriend’s house for dinner, we phoned first. Would the parents be home? Would there be parental supervision whenever she was invited over, because we make sure of that in our home. etc … we learned through bitter experience ….
    Janet @ Redland City Living recently posted..5 Reasons why Google is a WomanMy Profile

    • Good point Janet. It may mean some push back from the teen about contacting the parents, as they tend to find this devastatingly embarrassing.

  3. Thanks for some great tips, I’m bookmarking this for future reference, As a recovering alcoholic/addict, I’m acutely aware that the way I approach these issues with my children is critical to their chances of avoiding our terrible family history.
    Emma Fahy Davis recently posted..Two months – plus a giveaway!My Profile

    • I’ve seen a few examples where the teenager is actually more cautious about drinking or drugs, because of what they’ve experienced in their own family. I hope that’s the case for you too Emma. Thanks for reading.

  4. These are great tips – and definitely important to consider. I think parents of teens might hope for the best rather than prepare for the best a lot of the time. This is good planning advice.
    Mamagoingsolo recently posted..An Expat’s Child – Part IIMy Profile

  5. Great post. It really is about how you approach it with other parents. I can see how it would be easy to offend other parents when all you want to do is make sure your child is going to be safe. Tricky. Very tricky.
    Grace recently posted..FYBF – Spring MakeoverMy Profile

  6. Good advice. I haven’t had to have these conversations yet but just wonder what you would say if the parent you were phoning, wasn’t responsive or negative about your enquiries…..where do you take the conversation from there? That could be a very tricky conversation as well.
    Annie recently posted..Taking your cat camping: 6 things you need to think aboutMy Profile

  7. Great points to look out for and great questions to ask. We haven’t dealt with too many Teenager Party’s YET but I am sure going to keep this blog post in mind 🙂
    Lisa Wood recently posted..Camp 6 BookMy Profile



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