A Parent’s Guide to Safe & Legal Teenage Parties

What to do if your party starts to get out of control | Tips for Parents of Teens Going to a Party
Networking | Underage DUI | MIP Law | Visit other parent resource guide pages

 The basics

check Encourage your teen to plan activities, music, videos, or games in advance of the party. Drinking and drug use are sometimes the result of boredom.
check Set the ground rules with your teen before the party.

– Let your teen know what you expect.
– Ask your teen to inform his or her friends about the rules before the party.
– Stress shared responsibility for hosting the party.

check Limit attendance by sending invitations or making personal phone calls.

– Set time limits for the party. Drop-in parties are hard to control.
– Do not allow uninvited guests to crash the party. Anyone not invited should be asked to leave.
– If you have a problem with crashers refusing to leave, call the police.

check Notify your neighbors that there will be a party.
check Be home during the party. Invite other parents to help chaperon. Plan to quietly circulate among the guests. Do not isolate yourselves.
check Agree on an area of the house where guests will be comfortable and where you can supervise adequately.
check Allow no alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. If you suspect that a guest has used drugs or alcohol, contact his or her parents immediately. Request that the child’s parents pick up their child as soon as possible.
check Immediately call the police if you suspect or find weapons. Do not attempt to handle the situation yourself.
check Check coats and backpacks at the door.
check When a guest leaves, do not allow him or her to return. This discourages guests from leaving the party to drink or to use other drugs elsewhere and then return.

If Your Party Starts Getting Out of Control

check Turn off the music.
check Announce, “This party is getting too loud and will not continue unless the music stays turned down.”  Emphasize that you, as an adult, are responsible for their actions and any disturbance that is caused.
check If a guest continues unruly or inappropriate behavior, request that he or she leave your party. (The majority of the time, the unruly guest is intoxicated.)
check If your guest continues unruly behavior, contact the police department. Be prepared to give your name, your address, the number of people at the party, if people are intoxicated, and if they are acting disorderly.

Tips for Parents of Teenagers Going to a Party

check Call the host parents to confirm the location of the party, when it will start and end, and that the parents will be present throughout the party.
check Check to make sure it is an alcohol and other drug free party.
check Volunteer to help chaperone the party.
check Make sure that your child knows that he or she should call you for a ride home if alcohol or other drugs are present.


Many parents find their teens uncommunicative. Teens are remarkable, effective
communicators with one another, however. Any adult who has observed scores of teens arrive uninvited to a party, or on the doorstep of another teen whose parents are “out of town” might conclude they have some” extrasensory capacities. That’s unlikely. They just network, use cell phones and text messaging effectively. Parents need to network, too.

 check Have you ever wondered why, at least according to your teen, you are the only parent to impose a curfew as early as you do?
checkWhy are you the only parent denying your student permission to attend a particular event, to rent a limousine to travel to a dance, to stay out later than you had originally agreed?

If you know the parents of your daughter’s or son’s friends and talk to them periodically, chances are you’ll discover your teen’s friends are operating
under guidelines very similar to your own.  Working with other parents to discuss mutual concerns and to develop alternative forms of recreation makes enormous sense.

Parents who network find they are more successful in helping their students stay alcohol-free and drug-free.

check Collect parent phone numbers.
check Look for parents of your son or daughter’s friends at school functions
check Use every opportunity to get together with other parents or call them.

Together it will be easier to find out what is happening on any occasion.

Underage Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Young drivers are less likely than adults to drive after drinking, but their crash risk is  higher when they do. This is especially true at low and moderate blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) and is thought to result from teenagers’ relative inexperience with both drinking and driving.

Even though Montana has a legal minimum alcohol purchasing age of 21 years old, in 2011, alcohol was involved in of 5.8% of all crashes for youth under 21, and in 29.2% of youth fatalities. Nationally, marijuana use is a statistically significant factor in many teen crashes.

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