Should you Let your Teen Attend that New Year’s Party?
Ah, the New Year’s Party, also known as the most anticipated event among teenagers once they have properly established a group of friends for themselves and started feeling comfortable around each other. Somewhere along the way, the New Years party also turns into a teenager parent’s worst fear, for some reason. It’s easy to see why, though, especially if we’re talking about a parent’s first experience with having to take the decision of whether to let their teen attend the party or not.
Any parent’s main concern lays with the safety of their child when it comes to allowing them to go over to other people’s places. It’s normal for it to be that way, but what you should be looking out for is accidentally taking a decision based just on insecurity. The thing with teen parties is that the atmosphere of them depends entirely on the teens attending them, the environment the party takes place in and on the boundaries set by you for your child through the education you gave them.
But wait! Before you follow in the footsteps of many strict parents who give decisive answers before even considering the situation, take a look at these factors that you should take into account when the question “Can I go over to X’s for New Years?” pops up.
1) Your child’s education and personality
If you want to properly take a decision regarding allowing your teen to attend the party or not, you have to be aware of what they could react to things like. If your teen is the responsible and mature kind, whether that side shows up all the time or if you know they keep it strictly for when the real situation calls for it, then why not keep your trust in them? If you’ve raised them to be aware of any dangers that could be lurking around and you’ve educated them on how to go about drinking (because yes, beer or some form of alcohol will most likely be involved, it’s teens partying), then you shouldn’t have anything to worry about when it comes to their own self-control, self-awareness, and resistance to peer pressure. Besides, trust goes a long way, and when the possibility of not being allowed to any other party again comes up, a teen with even the slightest responsibility will try to avoid breaking their word.
However, if you don’t know your teen to be particularly responsible or mature enough to handle a party’s crowd and to behave at someone else’s house, then maybe they’re not so easily fit to attend. After all, if you can’t trust them to keep themselves out of trouble, spare yourself the stress and avoid allowing them to get into trouble in the first place.
2) The crowd
Do you know the other teens who are supposed to attend the party? Is your teenager friends with them, and if yes, are they generally good influences? If yes, then their closeness could bring a collective sense of responsibility in them, if they’re the type to care about each other. If you know some of the teens there too, then you can easily get in touch with their parents and ask for more details about the party, to ease any other worries you might have about the crowd, the place itself and the menu.
If your teen doesn’t know that many people attending the party, or are going just with one or two friends, being pulled along, then that’s a reasonable source of doubt. Trusting your child should come naturally, but trusting strangers around your teen is something you’re entitled to not do and it’s very understandable if you might not feel comfortable to let your teen attend because of the unknown crowd.
3) The host
The party’s host more often than not dictates both the atmosphere of the party and the crowd itself. You have to remember that it’s another teen just like yours who is hosting it in most cases, so another parent had to approve of it all in the first place. Nobody likes their house trashed either, so boundaries and limits for how to behave have already been set, if not directly by the host then automatically because of the sense of respect for another person’s property. Troublemakers will get in trouble as usual and there is already a form of authority there, the hosting teen’s parent, even if they won’t be attending the party during the event.
Discuss with the host’s parent if you’re able to do that, or ask about the child who throws the party from multiple sources in case you might not fully trust your own child.
Generally, parents tend to freak out when it comes to teenager parties or sleepovers or even hangouts away from home. While the worries are reasonable, it doesn’t always make them real, but in this blind attempt to shield their teen away from the rest of the world, the parent might make matters worse for their own child. Their social skills won’t be improving any time soon if they don’t get to actually socialize with other teens their age, nor will they become more responsible, more mature and nor will they accumulate any sort of life experience if they’re not allowed to leave the house.
To give a real-life example and make it all closer to home for everyone, I could speak from my own experience. The first New Years party I had gone to was when I was 17 years old, and one of my best friends at that time had hosted it. There were five of us teens, three girls, a boy, and myself, and on top of that, the hosting girl’s family was present as well. Not from lack of trust or anything, but because it was supposed to be a family event on purpose.
There was alcohol offered if we wanted to drink it, but we didn’t even touch more than just the champagne when the clock struck twelve — we had been too caught up in playing party games until then to drink or even eat. Karaoke and taking pictures were the main focus of the party, and we fell flat from tiredness after 2 AM only to wake up 8 hours later anyway. However, I specifically remember my mother being super torn about the party as well, just like many parents wondering the same thing about the New Years party attendance.
The next year’s party, at age 18, was less familiar in terms of crowds and hosts, admittedly. I only knew about 5 people out of the 23 who attended, and it was basically like attending a party with your classmates, roughly the same number of teens. Alcohol was involved, cigarettes were involved, nothing uncommon for eighteen-year-olds, and surprise! Nothing bad happened.
In the end, everyone who wants to actually enjoy the party knows they have to be responsible with drinking, otherwise they miss out on all the fun and learn to know better next time anyway, but other teens are always there to take care of anyone who needs it. When it comes to smoking, teens get tempted to try it, it’s very true, but whether they just do it once to try it out or if they want to adopt the habit is something entirely influenceable by their parent. Educate them about the ups and downs of smoking, listen to their side and their impressions of the whole ordeal and then set limits or reach an agreement to either not smoke, to tell you whenever they start doing that just so you avoid the whole sneaking around phase, or if you want to let them do whatever then you can just go that way as well. It’s all up to you how you react to things and how you nurture the relationship you have with your teenager, in order to avoid issues later on.
So in order to really figure out if you should let them attend that party or not, make an effort to learn about the environment they want to go in, the people who are attending or who your teen is attending alongside, and take into consideration your own relationship with your child before you give an answer.