A Parents Guide to
Teenage Parties

About this parents guide

The parents guide comes from the following recommendations for monitoring your teen's involvement in parties are adapted from the pamphlet "It takes a whole community to raise a child," developed by the McFarland Partners in Prevention.


Wilmes, D. (1988). Parenting for prevention. Minneapolis: Johnson Institute.

Editor and Publisher: Mark Ehrlich, mehrlich@madison.k12.wi.usWebmaster: webmaster@madison.k12.wi.us


Call the parent of the host/hostess to:

  • Verify the occasion.
  • Be sure that an adult will be present.
  • Be certain that there will be no alcohol or other drugs permitted.
  • Offer assistance.

Know where your teen will be.

  • Have the address and phone number of the house with the party.
  • Know how your teen will get to and from the party.
  • Assure your teen that you or a specified neighbor or friend can be called is he/she needs a ride home.
  • Discuss with your teen the possible problem situations which might necessitate such a phone call.
  • If you are not going to be home, let your teen know where you can be reached.
  • Be sure your teen understands when he/she is to be home.
  • Be awake or have your teen awaken you when he/she arrives home.
  • This can be a good way to check the time as well as a way to talk about the evening.

If your teen is staying overnight with a friend following a party, check with the parents of the friend beforehand to verify that:

  • This is acceptable to them.
  • They will be home.
  • You both agree on curfew hours.


There are a few rules that the parents guide lays out as far as hosting a party to ensure that all goes well. 

An adult should be present throughout the party.

  • As a parent, you can bring in snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, etc. Not only will your visibility help keep the party running smoothly, but it will also give you an opportunity to meet your teen's friends.
  • When possible, do not have a party in a separate part of the house. When it is in the main flow of the home, your presence will seem more natural and non-obtrusive.
  • You many want to ask another responsible adult to help chaperone the party.
  • Alcohol or other drugs should not be served or available.
  • Explain to your teen that you (the parent) are legally responsible for anything that happens to a minor who has consumed alcohol or drugs in your home.
  • Uninvited guests or those bringing in alcohol or another drug should be asked to leave. Be ready to notify the parents to ensure their safe transportation home.
  • Be alert to the signs of alcohol or drug use.

Encourage Small Parties

  • Keep parties small (10-15 teens per adult). Go over party plans with your teen prior to the event.
  • Avoid open-house parties. This type of party limits the control of both parent and teen over the party.
  • Keep a guest list.
  • Encourage your teen to plan organized group activities or games.
  • Set time limits which will enable teens to be home before their curfew.

Set Ground Rules with Your Teen Beforehand.

  • This will give you both a good opportunity to express feelings and concerns.
  • Let your teen know your expectations of him/her.
  • Help your teen understand your philosophy of non-alcohol and non-drug parties.

Plan to have plenty of food and non-alcoholic drinks available.

Teen favorites are pizza and chips but preparing foods can also be an important part of the fun! Making popcorn, toasting marshmallows, making pizzas or subs and don't forget the smores!


Homes where parents are absent are frequently party sites!

  • If it is imperative that you be out of town, have a friend or relative live in while you are away, or have your teen stay with a friend's family.
  • Tell neighbors about your plans, and if they notice anything suspicious to call the police.
  • Encourage your teen not to tell his/her friends that you are out of town.
  • Ask friends and neighbors to monitor your house.

Parties should be fun for everyone but they also need to be safe! So use the tips here to make sure your teen has a rockin-teen-party!



Wilmes, D. (1988). Parenting for prevention. Minneapolis: Johnson Institute.

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