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What To Do To Stay Connected To The Teenagers In Your Life

What It Takes To Raise Kids Who Will Make Good Decisions

Parenting Teens With Love And Logic:Preparing Adolescents For Responsible Adulthood

The Myth Of Maturity: What Teenagers Need From Parents To Become Adults





(adapted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Parenting a Teenager, by Kate Kelly)

There are lots of advantages to having teenagers come to your house. When your kids are at home, you know where they are. It's also nice for young people to feel that you welcome their friends and a good way to get to know them better. And in many communities teens just don't have a lot of options for wholesome places to get together.

If your teenager's friends are coming to your house for a party, here are some suggestions from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Parenting a Teenager, by Kate Kelly (Alpha). Don't be put off by the title; this is a really good book.  

  • Keep the party small. 20 to 30 kids are probably best. Have your teen make a list of the young people who are being invited.
  • Make a clear rule that crashers are not welcome. There will always be a few kids who bring an uninvited friend, but tell your teenager that if too many kids show up, you'll have to close down.
  • Decide together the hours of the party, especially when it will be officially over. This will help you answer other parents questions as well as provide some added control.
  • Remind your teen that drugs or alcohol are unacceptable and if anyone shows up with either one, he or she will be asked to leave.
  • Make it a rule that kids who come to the party should stay. Young people who leave and return may have had a drink some place else or be bringing back an illegal substance.
  • Be a presence not a monitor.  Float in and out to fill the potato chip bowl or bring more soda every once in a while.
  • Invite another parent or couple to keep you company and help with chores. They may also know kids you don't know.
  • If the party is going to be fairly big, you should probably notify your neighbors and tell them what to expect. Say you'll keep the noise level as low as possible.
  • Be aware of the law against delivering, selling or giving liquor to a minor. You are responsible for illegal behavior whether or not the individual has been under the influence of alcohol.

Calling people you don't know to ask about their party plans can be awkward. Kate Kelly suggests calling with an offer to help or to provide some food for the party. If the parents didn't know about a party, they'll know now. If they did, they will appreciate your offer and you will have established a new relationship. Kelley also suggests that you:

  • Call a parent who knows the party giver to find out what the scene  is likely to be or to ask if he or she might be willing to make a call for you about the specific arrangements.
  • Clarify time and transportation details. How will your teen get to and from the party? Is your help needed? Make it clear that if your child leaves the party to go somewhere else, for any reason, he/she is to call you. A call is also mandatory if your teen wants to arrive home after curfew.
  • Remind your teenager never to ride with someone who has been drinking. Emphasize that he or she can call you or another adult you agree on at any time if he or she wants to leave the party and there will be no questions asked.
  • Try to be awake or awakened when your child comes home. Note: if you get constant requests to sleep over at a friend's house after a party, be alert to some potential trouble.

(adapted from Work & Family Life newsletter, edited by Susan Ginsberg)








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