safe teen holiday partiesIt’s that time of year. You’ve probably been planning to attend a few holiday parties. Maybe you’ve downed some egg nog at a gathering or two already.

But guess what? Your teens are partying too. And while they like to party hard, they’re not the most careful planners around, particularly when it comes to matters of alcohol, safety and good sense. So as the parent, it’s up to you to be the brains of the outfit.

If you are hosting any teen holiday parties, here are some suggestions for what to do:

  • Set a rule: no alcohol. While underage alcohol consumption is not illegal in all states, it’s a bad idea developmentally, and there are still many legal complications. You have the right to forbid alcohol at a teen party in your home. You should really consider doing so.
  • Acquaint your teens with the law. Make your teen understand that you are legally liable for any harm that results from alcohol that’s consumed at your party.
  • Watch for smuggled alcohol. This has been tried once or twice at teen parties – we’ve heard about it.
  • Limit the guests to an approved list. The more friends-of-friends that appear, the less respect they’ll have for your rules.
  • Lock up any alcohol that’s in the house.
  • Limit the party to a set number of rooms. Guests will tend to wander into deserted rooms for nefarious purposes. Really.

If your teens are going to someone else’s party:

  • Get the facts. Find out where the party is and who is giving it. Double check (we hate to say it, but don’t rely on the word of your teen alone. There has been at least one instance of a teenager falsifying information in the past).
  • Get the plan. Make sure your teen has a plan for getting home, and knows what time he or she is expected home. If your teen is staying at a friend’s, verify with the parents (not just the friend) that the stayover is happening).
  • Have the talk. Ask your teen how he or she would handle things if alcohol turned up at the party (and assume that it could).

Have a safe holiday – and safe teen holiday parties.

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