Party Safe for Parents

Parents are often faced with tough decisions about teenage parties. Parties are part of growing up, yet no parent wants their teenager to be unsafe.

Your Teenager's Party

Parents often need to face questions such as:

  • What do I do when my teenager wants to have a party?
  • Should I supervise the party?
  • Should I allow alcohol to be available?
  • What are my responsibilities and obligations to the guests and other parents?

Before saying yes to allowing a party, give yourself time to think about it:

  • It's okay not to respond to the request immediately.
  • Clarify how involved in the party your teenager wants you to be.
  • Decide on the bottom line conditions you would agree to; and
  • Discuss your proposal and concerns with your teenager.

Put forward your proposal to your teenager:

Adequate supervision of teenage parties is essential - even though your teenagers may not want you present or involved in the party - a responsible adult is lawfully required at a party for children under 18 years of age that is held in your home. Remember, you will be held responsible and liable for the outcome, so advise your teenager about this as it helps to demonstrate that you are not attempting to "spy" or be "over controlling".

If your teenager has a negative reaction to your proposal, you could negotiate with them over certain conditions. For example; restrict your presence in the party area in exchange for an agreement to have an alcohol free or low alcohol party, or, you may be prepared to allow up to 40 guests if your teenager agrees to use formal invitations or wristbands for identification. Remember, that more guests means more supervision required. And if you do allow alcohol at the party, you'll need to take measures to control it's consumption.

Managing the Party

  • No pass-outs! Make it clear that any teenager leaving the party will not be allowed to return. This reduces the chance that teenagers will leave the party to consume alcohol or drugs and later cause trouble at the party.
  • Supply all the drinks, including non-alcoholic drinks, this helps to prevent the smuggling of alcohol into the venue.

Read our Party Safe Checklist for more advice about managing parties

Inform other parents about the party. Some ways to do this include:

  • Phone or visit the parents' of teenage guests
  • Send out any party invitations via the parents
  • See if your teenager can organize other parents to contact you
  • Ensure invitations require an RSVP from parents, and encourage parents to call you for more information; and
  • Write separate letters to parents informing them about the party.

It's a good idea for you to inform other parents about the location, and start and finish times of the party. You may even invite them to help in supervising the party.

Your Teenager at Other's Parties

Decisions about your teenager attending a party can be difficult, here are some points to look out for:

  • Does your teenager have an official invitation?
  • If alcohol is to be offered, how will it be controlled and supervised?
  • Can you speak with the host or the host's parents about the party?
  • Will the police be notified about the party, or registered with them?
  • Will there be adequate supervision at the party?

Other things you can do:

  • Make plans for your teenager to travel to and from the party safely.
  • Speak with your teenager about having a good time without coming to harm.
  • Arrange backup plans for your teenager in the event that things 'go wrong'. This could include emergency transport and an exit strategy.

Prevent Gate Crashers

Gate Crashers a very real problem but there are a number of measures you can take to reduce the risk of unwanted guests. These include;

  • Limit the number of guests at the party to a manageable size
  • Inform invitees about the above limits, and do now allow friends to invite other friends.
  • Send official invitations to guests
  • Supply wristbands at the door, or with your invitations.
  • Be sure to write the name of the guest(s) on the invitation.
  • Include and require an RSVP.
  • Require guests to bring their invitation to the party
  • Hold the party away from publicly accessible areas such as front yards.
  • Organise transport for guests to arrive at the party
  • Only inform guests of the location of the party at the last moment. But do give them the date and party time earlier.
  • Organise for responsible people to check invitations at the door.
  • Minimise the entry and exit points to the party.
  • Monitor the number of guests and ensure it matches your planned numbers.
  • Organise for people such as as parents, or hired security personnel to be responsible for security.
  • Ensure you have a backup plan in place, this may include calling the police or their parents.

Read our Party Safe Checklist for more advice about managing parties

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References:
Party Safe Guide - WA Police www.nhw.wa.gov.au