Safe Party Tips
There are many pressures on our youth to use alcohol and drugs, the greatest coming from their peers. Adults can add to the confusion about acceptability of drinking if they do not monitor teen gatherings.
This information is designed to help parents guide their teens when hosting or attending parties.
Each family should use this information to establish consistent standards in light of their own values and attitudes.
Remember, these are guidelines. Some may be too restrictive or too permissive for some families.
We recommend parents come together to discuss mutual challenges of parenting and offer support of one another. Parents should not feel isolated in their efforts. By supporting one another, consistent standards can be established that will help all of us in our community. Remember, parents can be held liable for a minor’s behavior in their home.
Your Teen Hosting A Party
Set basic ground rules and expectations with your teen before the party.
Make the party by “Invitation Only”
Confirm the guest list with your teen in advance. Do not allow an “open party.” It is too difficult for parents and teen host to keep control.
On the Invitation: Pass out or send invitations-include your phone number and welcome calls from parents. Don’t text or email invitations. They can be forwarded to many people very quickly!
Set a definite start and end time, enabling teens to be home before the legal curfew.
Establish rules ahead of time. No alcohol, tobacco or other drug use. Once a guest leaves, he/she cannot return. This prevents teens from leaving to drink or use drugs, then return to the party.
A parent must be home during the party.
Help your teen plan activities that don’t involve drinking.
Remember: Backpacks, water bottles, other beverages, jackets, etc. must be left at the door. Only allow beverages that you provide to them.
Sleepovers are not recommended
Limit the party to a certain area of your home. Pick where guests will be most comfortable and where you can maintain adequate supervision. Check the area before the party for hidden alcohol (unfinished basement areas, window wells, etc.). Leave the lights on.
Make regular visits to the party area with sensitivity to teens’ needs for privacy and independence. Bring food! Stay aware of what is happening during the party. Be sure all teens are accounted for.
Tip: Serve snacks in small bowls so chaperones have a good excuse to be popping in to refill them!
Call parents of any teen who arrives in possession of alcohol or under the influence. Be sure they are transported home safely by a responsible adult. This is important to be in compliance with our communities social hosting ordinance.
Stress that the responsibility for hosting a party belongs to both you and your teen. Both of you need to know the law and consequences of serving alcohol or other drugs. You may be legally responsible for anything that happens to a minor who has been served alcohol or drugs in your home.
DON’T ALLOW ANYONE TO DRIVE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL OR DRUGS. Remember, it takes HOURS for a youth who has been drinking to become sober, no matter what time of day or night!
Help your teen clean up after the party. If they insist on doing it alone, you should do some checking of your own.
If, despite your precautions, things get out of hand, do not hesitate to call the police for help.
When You Are Not Home or Out of Town:
Set and communicate rules to be followed during your absence.
Do not allow your children to have unsupervised parties or gatherings.
Have a relative or responsible adult stay at your home during your absence, have your teen stay with a responsible adult, or ask a neighbor to watch your house and stop in while you are away.
If you are concerned your teen will have a party anyway, call the local police and ask them to drive by. Tell your teen you have asked the police to do this.
Visit Speakupcoalition.org, Primary Focus Areas, Underage Drinking for more information on teen alcohol use, social host laws, etc.
Your Teen Attending a Party
Know where your teen will be. Obtain the name and address of the party giver and call the parent to verify the party will be chaperoned and no alcohol will be tolerated. Offer assistance or food.
Let your teen know you expect a call if the location of the party is changed.
Be sure your teen knows when he/she is expected to be home and have them check in with you when they return home. Teens are less likely to get into trouble if they know they have to say goodnight to you.
Know how your teen is getting to and from the party. Reinforce the message that they should never allow someone who has been drinking or using other drugs to drive them anywhere.
Assure your teen that he/she can call you to be picked up whenever needed. If you are unavailable, have a specific adult that can be called and be sure your teen has their phone number.
Agree on a “code word” with your teen that they can use to ask you to pick them up immediately from a location that they are uncomfortable with.
If your teen stays with a friend overnight, verify with the friend’s parents that they will be home and you both agree on curfew hours and other house rules. If possible, don’t allow “spontaneous” sleepovers. Establish that the teens will be staying there (not going to another home or party.)
Thank the party host’s parents the next day.
This gives you an opportunity to check the party’s outcome, and reinforce the informal parent network.
Listen to what your teen has to say about the kinds of pressures he/she is facing, and help him/her to think of ways to resist these pressures.
Encourage your child to use you as the “heavy” when being pressured to do something unhealthy or illegal. For example: “Sorry, I’d better go home now. My mom will ground me if I stay out past curfew.”
Other Information You Should Know
Hotel rooms are often rented for all-night parties, especially after dances and special events. Be sure to inquire whether this is the case and discuss with your teen the issues surrounding hotel rooms, etc.
Students party at parks, beaches, and at summer homes. Cottages may be used without parents’ knowledge or permission. Keep tabs on any second home you might have.
Many students feel that in order to enjoy attending dances, concerts, sporting events, etc., they must “party” beforehand, so stay alert.
College students often allow younger siblings to drink heavily during campus visits. Discuss this with the older brother or sister, and insist that they protect their siblings.
Some teens have fake IDs and/or know how to get them. Make sure your teen is aware of the severe penalties in Illinois for possession of a fake ID.
Teens often help themselves to substances in the home. Secure your inventory of alcohol and prescription drugs to discourage temptation for your teen and their friends.
Want more information about underage drinking? Need help getting the conversation going?
What to do if your son/daughter comes home drunk or stoned:
IF HE/SHE IS INCOHERENT, CALL 911.
Alcohol poisoning or overdose may be occurring, risking his/her life.
Try to remain calm.
Attempt to find out what substances he/she has taken and under what circumstances.
Indicate that you will talk to him/her about this the next day.
Send your child to bed and check on him/her frequently during the night.
The Next Day
Have a talk with your child immediately, letting him/her know you will be monitoring activities more closely in the future.
Discuss consequences for your child’s actions, making sure both parents are on the same page. Make the consequence realistic (“grounding for life” doesn’t work!).
Establish guidelines for behavior with your child as well as curfews for going out with friends.
Closely monitor compliance.
Don’t have the discussion with your child if you are too angry to talk about it without losing your temper. Wait until you can discuss it calmly. Don’t try to hide the incident from other family members.
Want to get involved?
Join the Speak Up! Prevention Coalition
Just email us at [email protected] or
call Speak Up! 847.295.9075.