Graduation, prom and end of year celebrations are under way. Flowers are purchased, restaurant reservations made, and for many people living outside of a city, house parties are planned. For some families a child’s life is integrated and celebrated by extended family and friends. Adults gather and toast the graduate while bestowing generous gifts (which may very well be the point of the party.) For other households prom, graduation and end of year parties are populated by the child and his/her friends and acquaintances. These parties can be seen as a gift or reward for a job well done. Some parents simply prefer to know where their kid is and therefore allow/create a party. Whatever the motivation, there will be authorized house parties across this great land now and throughout the summer.
House parties can go well and be civilized, but that rarely happens by accident. In olden days perhaps the greatest concern a parent might have is that of destruction. We can all probably conjure a bit of household destruction that we witnessed/caused in our own youth. A broken coffee table or a car driving through the living room wall is nothing compared to incarceration however. Parents can and will be arrested for children drinking on the property. Whether you’ve got a great lawyer or bail bondsman the truth of the matter is that the cops are always a buzzkill. So before the first foot-long is even ordered create your party sanity strategy.
These are simply (though perhaps not easy) ways to ensure that no one will end up in jail
• Size Matters
Invitation only is key (this was the case before social media as well)
You and your child determine the size of the party
Your child understands that when the party exceeds the limits the party is over
• Only As Far As The Eye Can See
Determine what area of the house/property guests are allowed to use
This controls household damage & allows for adults to manage surveillance
• Employ Chuck-E-Cheese Tactics
Adults accompany their children to birthday parties
Guess Who’s Coming To The Party? If you can not get every child’s parent there employ friends
Adults will periodically make rounds, mingle, smell breath & check bedrooms
There are teenagers who will balk at these guidelines and claim that he/she is not a child. The fact of the matter is that legally, yes they are children. And parents are legally (and morally and ethically) expected to protect the child, often from him/herself. A child who wants to be treated like an adult (and hosting a party is an adult endeavor) is expected to behave like an adult. Adults do not destroy each other’s property (outside of reality television shows) nor do they engage in behaviors that are verboten in a host’s home. A teenager who’s interested in having their friends get together and celebrate will not balk at these guidelines. A teen who was looking to make party history and get wasted will have some issues.
Teens break rules; it’s actually their job. They will push limits in order to learn their own limits. Our job as parents is to give them something to rebel against. A child without limits and whose parents are his/her best friend will have to go to some extreme lengths to test limits. That’s never a good thing. Coffee tables break, mistakes are made, none of it matters as long as the kids are all right.