End-of-year celebrations

It is important to set some guidelines for your teen if they are going to or hosting a party. Photo: Getty.
It is important to set some guidelines for your teen if they are going to or hosting a party. Photo: Getty.
We're reaching the end of the exam season and, particularly for those students in their last year of school, it can be a time to celebrate and to party, Ian Munro writes.

Ian Munro
Ian Munro

There's nothing wrong with that - celebrating the end of a significant portion of your life. But party time can mean alcohol aplenty for those over and under the age of 18.

Parents can be ambivalent about whether to allow alcohol at their teen's end-of-exams and end-of-school party. As primary host, you do have the right to have a minimal-to-no alcohol and no drugs rule.

A number of those attending might well be legally over the drinking age but there will be those who attend who are not. Either way, as we've seen so often, exuberant celebrations can easily and unexpectedly turn to tragedy.

Some thought will need to go into how you'll manage hosting such a party. How will you set things up so that you don't need to call the police in to deal with gatecrashers, face a major clean up, have to try to stop someone from driving or, worse, face the fact that one or more teenagers were killed on the way home from your place?

Some suggestions if you are hosting:

  • Have plenty of interesting non-alcoholic drinks and plenty of food that is served from the moment guests arrive.
  • Have additional adults on hand behind the scenes and perhaps some older young people you can rely on as extra guests.
  • Warn the neighbours or better still have your teen do this. It's part of the training to be a ''responsible host''.
  • Set a finish time.
  • Ruthlessly monitor sober drivers and transport home, call parents to come and pick up drunk youngsters (which won't win you a popularity contest at the time).
  • Better still, be prepared to have a number stay over.
  • If the party is elsewhere don't be afraid to make contact with the host parents.
  • Check out the circumstances, venue, and supervision.
  • Teach your teen some face-saving ways of leaving a party if they feel it's getting out of hand - a migraine coming on, perhaps.
  • Ensure their phone is fully charged and goes with them.
  • Make it a no-questions-asked, guaranteed, prompt ride home if called. That means ensuring there is a sober driver at home to do this.
  • Respond to complaints that you are embarrassing them by telling them you are doing it because you love them and want them to be safe.

-By Ian Munro

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