Teenagers and parties go hand in hand. Teens are naturally social creatures and have parties as a way to let loose and have a good time with their friends. When parents help their teen host a party, usually things go well, and the party is innocent fun. When parents don’t supervise, however, dangerous things can happen. The facts about what happens at unsupervised teen parties will help you start a dialogue with your teen about what you expect from him, as well as educate him about potential dangers that exist at unsupervised teen parties.
Alcohol and Drug Use
According to HealthyChildren.org, many teens expect to have alcohol and certain drugs when friends invite them to a party. Most teens don't expect to stay at a party overnight, but if they are at a party drinking and using drugs, then they are still inviting trouble. When teens have had enough of the party, they might drive home drunk or drive drunk to another party. It is also dangerous to use drugs and then drive a car, and it is much more likely that teens will use drugs at an unsupervised rather than a supervised party. In many states, parents are liable for anything that happens if they provided alcohol or drugs or if these were used in their home, according to the University of Minnesota Extension.
Unsupervised teens are more likely to engage in sexual behavior than teens who attend parties where parents are around. Combined with alcohol or drug use, teens are more likely to lower their inhibitions and engage in sexual behavior, possibly with people they don't even know well. At an unsupervised party, teens don't worry about an adult discovering them having sex, so they're much more likely to sneak off to a bedroom or bathroom during the get-together.
When teens are drinking or using drugs, they're more likely to get into criminal mischief. Even teens who aren't using drugs or alcohol can become caught up in the moment and engage in criminal behavior that they normally would not do if an adult were present. Teens who are unsupervised might break things inside the home, and might resort to more extensive forms of crime, such as breaking windows or spray-painting homes and cars. The risks of date rape, drunk driving, and assault can increase at unsupervised teen parties, as well, especially when drugs and alcohol are involved.
Don't let your teen go to parties without making sure that a responsible adult will be present. If you can't determine whether a party will be supervised, don't allow your teen to attend. Speak to your teen about what to do if drugs or alcohol are available at a party, even a supervised one. You might also consider having parties at your home so you know where your teen is and what he is doing. Ask your teen to come up with a guest list and allow only those on the list to come inside. HealthyChildren.org recommends inviting only 10 to 15 teens for every adult. Provide plenty of snacks and non-alcoholic drinks, and walk through the party frequently to check on your teen and his guests. You don't have to stick around, but perhaps you could refill the snack bowls so you can give the party a quick check. This also lets your teen know that you'll be popping in from time to time, which will reduce the risk that your teen will be drinking or using drugs.
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