O.k. We all remember being a teenager and the quest for independence. But NOW we are on the other side of the coin. WE are the parents… (Deep breath… in & out). Now I can so relate to my own parents and what they went through! I chuckle in retrospect…
So YOUR teen wants to go to a party. “No”, “uh-uh”, “Never”! I am keeping my teens under MY watchful eye until they are full grown! …(As I shake my head from my moment of delusional daydreaming.) But seriously, I know too much! I work in public health and I know about THE TEEN BRAIN. The rational part of the brain is the last to develop… teens are often lead by their emotional thrill seeking brain. Oh boy! Help me!
So what to do when your teen asks to go to a party?
1. Monitor. Yes, teens still need parental involvement and monitoring. It changes but is still very important and shows you care.
Ask questions about the party.
Who’s party? Who will you be with? Where is it? (Get the phone number). Will an adult be there? What time will you be home? How will you get home?
2. Discuss ground rules. Some rules are non-negotiable when it comes to safety such as: “Do not get in a car with someone who has been drinking or doing drugs.”
Tell your teen what you expect. Tell them you do not want them smoking, drinking nor doing drugs. Also be sure to let them know you are there for them and they should call if they need a ride or need help.
Talk about curfew.
3. Plan ahead & help your teen prepare for peer pressures.
- Talk about possible scenarios and how they would handle it.
- What if they get to the party and there is alcohol there?
- What if they are offered alcohol? What would they do? How would they say no?
Help teens learn to say NO to peer pressure without loosing face. Hint… Hint… One possible answer is that they can use parents as excuse; i.e. “Sorry, I can’t my mom checks on me when I get home”.
4. Include your values & comfort levels.
Every family is different. It’s hard, but try not to get caught up with what other kids or families do.
If your teen has not demonstrated responsibility, give them a chance. Start small by having them check in when over at a friend’s house.
It’s scary, but being prepared will help you and most of all your teen be prepared and safe while having a good time with their friends.
We would love to hear how you’ve dealt with your teen going to parties.
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For parenting information or to speak with a public health nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.