Boom, Boom, Boom… the Inevitable Headache of Teen Parties
Read more from Eva-Maria here.
At one point or another, as a parent or even relative, you’re likely to stumble across the inevitable question, issue, or perhaps joy of teenage parties. I hope this can give you a bit of a run down around what happens, what you as a parent or relative can do, and how to avoid the broken windows at your house.
The reason I’m writing about this is that over the last two months, I have come across two parties where a main window has been smashed, and apart from the problem of a bleeding teenager, or in the case of one circumstance; teenagers, the glazier bills have been ones parents have had to pick up after the ‘smashing night’.
Teen, or youth parties is a subject I take very seriously, especially because on both occasions, the young people partying happened to be some of my closest friends – I wouldn’t classify them as the reckless types, or even the irresponsible ones, so the aftermath that happened went to show that even some young people can get out of control at times. Here, I’d like to pin point two scenarios – when you are away, and when you are at home, as well as some common problems, and ways to avoid them at all costs so that you, and your loved young one stay safe.
1. Leaving Them To It
As we are taught to believe through mainstream cinema, parents going away and leaving their entire house under the responsibility of one, or a number of teenagers is THE reason for them to have a party for their friends. What you need to realize is although sometimes there are situations where you cannot avoid this situation (e.g. they are too old for a baby sitter, the trip was an unexpected one where you can’t take the young person with you, etc.), you can definitely minimize the risks. Firstly, sit down and talk to the young person about the situation, and reasons for why you’re going away. Let them realize that leaving the house under their supervision is an honour and responsibility is a bargain they need to uphold at their end. Make it well heard whether you are OK with them having friends around or not. If you voice that they are allowed to have friends over, any damages – legal and physical that happen is down to them and their financial status. This minimizes the risks of you coming back to a half-broken home that they are not prepare to pay for or own up to. Although it may seem selfish, it turns into a responsibility that they are likely to take more seriously because come on, what 16, 18 or even 20 year old living at home will want a $1000 (or more) fine to their name? If you forbid them from having friends over, explain the reasons behind it. This does not guarantee they won’t have friends over, but it means that if something does go amiss, they knew from the get-go that they are responsible for anything that happens. When my parents used to go away, I took the responsibility very seriously – they would explain we have important documents in the house, and I have a little brother and having a party is not something he will be thanking me for if he’s trying to get to sleep. I must say, although my parents have hardly ever left the house to me for a few days, whenever they did, I just wouldn’t tell my friends – apart from everything else, I did not want my parents to be disappointed in me, I didn’t want to run the risk of my brother ratting me out, and I didn’t want the peer pressure (if it had come to that) from my friends telling me to throw a party. Make your decisions and reasons heard, and don’t leave anything in the blue – they will find loopholes if they can. Just speaking from experience and observation here.
2. Party While You’re There
If you volunteer to host a party in your home because of an occasion – a birthday, or something similar, make sure you are supporting your young person from the start until the end. Make the rules clear about numbers, alcohol, smoking, and anything else that comes to your and their mind. Don’t be afraid to leave it to them, but as long as you and they have the rules set out, your job on the day is to be the law-enforcer (so your young person doesn’t look lame in front of their friends for enforcing rules THEY agreed to. i.e. they are happy with the rules if you’ve come up with them together, but everyone knows parents are the evil ones, so don’t be afraid to use your authority – your young person is more likely to thank you), and a back-up if anything goes wrong.
What has been your experience with teen parties? (Comment below)