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Teenage parties and tips for parents

This page is designed to assist parents/caregivers in planning and hosting responsible parties with teenagers under 18 years of age. It provides tips about communicating with teenagers and factors you might consider before allowing your teenager to host or attend a party.

Alcohol can increase the risk of injury, social and mental health problems, and cause permanent damage to young people’s developing brain. For these reasons, the national guidelines for alcohol consumption, states for people under 18 years of age not drinking alcohol is the safest option.

It is not the norm to provide alcohol to teens to attend parties. Very few (2.6%) parents reported that they had allowed their child to take alcohol to social events at 15 years or younger, and 65% still did not permit it when their child was 17-18 years of age.1

Every party has the potential to get out-of-hand. It is important that you talk to your teenager about alcohol and take steps to plan a safe party. It is also necessary for you as a host to understand your legal responsibilities.

Tips for parents with teens attending parties

1. Know where your child is and who they're with - take them to where they're going and pick them up. Don't leave it to someone else.

2. Always call the host parents - speak to them and find out about supervision and whether alcohol will be provided or tolerated – you can then make an informed decision.

3. Create rules around parties early - preferably before they start to get invited.

4. Make consequences of breaking rules clear and stick to them - ensure they know rules are made because you love them and want them to be safe.

5. If they don't like the rules, they're most probably perfect! Reward good behaviour and modify rules as they get older – rules should be age appropriate. 2

Tips to help parents talk to teenagers about parties

Communication with your teenager is vital particularly because they can be exposed to alcohol through friends, peers and the media. Below are some tips to help you communicate with your teenager about alcohol before they attend, or you host, a party:

Be patient Some teenagers have difficulty expressing themselves and often say things they do not mean. Try not to take what they say personally and avoid engaging in conflict or arguments.

ListenTry and listen without interrupting. Help them to express themselves by showing a genuine interest.

Be a good role model Be aware of your behaviour and your own attitude towards alcohol as this can have an impact on the way teenagers address their own alcohol use.

Discussing drugs and alcoholIt is important that you do not glorify your own behaviour and be careful of sounding hypocritical. Help your teenager develop strategies that will help them deal with situations where they will be offered alcohol and other drugs or put in difficult situations.

Work in collaborationExpress the reasons why you came to a particular decision. Allow your teenager the opportunity to talk about the family’s rules and how they affect them. 3


 
References

1Hayes, L., Smart, S., Toumbourou, J. W., & Sanson, A. (2004). Parenting influences on adolescent alcohol use. Retrieved from https://aifs.gov.au/publications/parenting-influences-adolescent-alcohol-use

2DARTA (2017). Teens, Parties and Alcohol. Retrieved from: http://darta.net.au/wordpress-content/uploads/2017/02/TEENS-PARTIES-AND-ALCOHOL-2017_reduced.pdf

3 DARTA (2017). Teens, Parties and Alcohol. Retrieved from: http://darta.net.au/wordpress-content/uploads/2017/02/TEENS-PARTIES-AND-ALCOHOL-2017_reduced.pdf