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Be a Parent Not a Friend – House Parties

May 8th, 2012

Spring has sprung and the weather is nice, school is winding down, prom and graduation season is here and summer is right around the corner. Teenage house parties are also a big part of this time of year. Unfortunately, some parents feel that it is okay to host a teenage party and serve or let teens drink alcohol in their homes.  They will say things like “I drank when I was young and I turned out alright” or ” they can go to war at 18 so why can’t they drink alcohol?” or “It’s a rite of passage into adulthood”.

None of these arguments are very persuasive especially in light of the fact that providing alcohol to teens or letting them drink in your home is against the law.  We as parents should instill in our children to be law abiding citizens.  Moreover, too often than not, parents don’t think about or see the collateral damage that underage drinking can cause. The date rapes, the assaults, destruction of property an of course drunk driving fatalities. Nor can it be ignored that the recent brain research shows that underage drinking can substantially affect the development of the teen brain.

Simply put, underage drinking can ruin all those things a parent wants for their child – Health, Happiness, Safety & Success. So here are a few tips  for you when your teen goes to a party or you host a party:

IF YOUR TEEN IS GOING TO A PARTY:

■Know where your teen will be and for how long he/she will be there.

■Contact the parent of the party-giver. Confirm that a parent/adult will be home and supervising the party. Make certain that no alcohol will be served. Offer assistance.

■Know how your teen will be getting to and from the party.

■Discuss how your teen would handle a situation where alcohol was available at a party.

■Make sure your teen knows what time he/she is expected home.

■If your teen is staying overnight at a friend’s house after the party, verify with the friend’s parents that your child will be staying over and that they will be home.

IF YOU ARE HOSTING A PARTY:        

■Set ground rules before the party. Tell your teen your expectations and why you are setting rules.

■You and your teen should understand local laws about alcohol and other drugs.

■Decide what part of the house will be used for the party. Choose an area where you can maintain supervision.

■Limit party attendance and times.

■Make it very clear that party crashing will not be permitted.

■Have plenty of food and non-alcoholic drinks available.

■Make sure at least one and preferably several parents-adults are present for the entire party.

■Do not allow party guests to come and go. This will discourage teens from leaving the party to drink.

■Avoid easy access to alcohol in your home. If necessary, lock up your liquor.

■Be prepared to ask guests to leave if they try to bring alcohol and refuse to cooperate with your rules.

■Notify the parent of any teen who arrives drunk.

■Do not allow anyone under the influence of alcohol to drive. If necessary, take away their car keys and call their parent/guardian.

Parent accountability is the key to the fight against underage drinking. Teens whose parents talk to them regularly about drugs & alcohol are 42% less likely to use those substances than those students whose parents don’t!!!

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