Party Safe | Teen Edition
With so much at stake, keeping your teen safe when they attend a party is one of a parents’ many important roles.
There are many challenges facing teenagers, as well as parents who have a teenager in the family.
Partying is pretty much a rite of passage that most teens and young adults experience at some time in their life, which include an equal amount of pleasures and pitfalls. Knowing your teen is heading off to a party can add a lot of stress to some already trying times, but following some of these suggested tips may help you both enjoy what should be a fun and exciting phase of life.
Consider these basic guidelines to help your teen experience a safe and enjoyable time at a party.
- Communication is key. Developing and maintaining open and honest dialogue with teens can be trying, but critical for safety.
- Discuss basic rules of behaviour. Lay out some guidelines and discuss the reasoning with your teen well ahead of time. Teens who well know the rules, and why those rules are there, are less likely to stray from them.
- Know your teens’ friends. Let’s face it, if you know who your child hangs out with and can understand the dynamics, you’re better able to understand the potential issues they may encounter.
- Know the details of the party. Ask if the party is an invite only event. Parties which are invite only are less likely to have major issues than open house style, since there are better controls for who’s in attendance. Invite only events tend to involve a smaller circle of friends.
- Find out if there will be adult supervision. Will the teenage hosts’ parents be present and, if so, are you able to have contact information and speak to them directly.
- Assume there will be alcohol and drugs at the party. Even if your teen is not of age, or doesn’t drink or use drugs, others who do may be attending. Ignorance is not bliss! Discuss things like peer pressure and experimentation so your teen is thinking of consequences ahead of time.
- Discuss safe consumption strategies. Believe it or not, and like it or not, your teen may be engaging in drinking or taking drugs. Personal safety means knowing what’s in your drink or where a substance came from, as well as how to moderate consumption and maintain control.
- Ensure your teen has a buddy. Just like any situation where there may be issues, using the buddy system means someone has your back and vice versa. Make sure the buddy has your contact info and that your teen has the same for their buddy’s parents.
- Have emergency plans. Your teen should know what to do if things get out of control, like if there are party-crashers, fights, and other potentially dangerous scenarios. They should also know what to do if they suspect they or their friends have been drugged or are having an overdose.
- Offer a ride to and from the party. Or offer to pay for an uber ride. Whatever the case, your teen should know that drinking and driving is dangerous and totally unacceptable, and that getting into a vehicle with someone who is impaired is just as bad.
Having open dialogue with your teen about making safe lifestyle choices may not always be easy or simple, but it will pay off in the long run. Education and information are also key tools that help teens navigate this tricky and complex stage of life.