Parties and teenagers

Parties are a fun part of growing up. Parents are often faced with the tough decision of whether to let their child host or attend a party. You may feel uncomfortable letting your child go to a party so it’s important to consider each invitation and discuss things your teenager can do to keep themselves safe. Hipsters blowing confetti
When your child is invited to a party, it’s a good idea to contact the parent or guardian of the person hosting the party. To get an idea of what type of party is planned, find out:
  • the ages of the people invited to the party
  • who’ll be supervising the party
  • whether food and alcohol will be available
  • how the host plans to deal with gatecrashers
  • what time the party will finish.
Hosting a party
If your child wants to host a party, different things need to be considered. Supervision of a teenage party is essential. It’s a legal requirement for a responsible adult to be present at a private party for under 18s. Click here to read about your legal responsibilities in relation to the provision of alcohol to people under 18.
Things worth considering if you’re thinking of hosting a teenage party

The planning:
  • Plan ahead.
  • Discuss what kind of party your child would like to have and the number of guests they want to invite.
  • Discuss the option of holding an alcohol-free party.
  • If you decide to serve alcohol, make sure the parents of invited guests are aware alcohol will be available and gain their permission before serving their child an alcoholic drink. Remember that not all parents will have the same attitude to alcohol as you.
  • Create and enforce rules to prevent alcohol misuse.
  • Set these ground rules for the party and stick to them. It’s a good idea to have them on the invitation.
  • If you decide that alcohol will be allowed, make sure it is clear your teenager understands you will not tolerate drunkenness.
  • Outline the consequences of drunken behaviour.
  • Set an alcohol supply limit.
  • Make sure that you have parent’s contact phone numbers and know what to do if problems arise.
  • Plan for guests sleeping over if no one is able to take them home.

Tips for hosting a party:
  • Recruit some ‘helpers’ who can help you supervise your guests.
  • Ensure no one under 18 is served or given alcohol unless you have their parent’s explicit permission
  • Limit your own alcohol consumption on the night.
  • Only have one entrance where guests can enter and leave.
  • Only make alcohol available from one area and have a responsible adult serving who isn’t drinking alcohol.
  • Supply a range of non-alcoholic drinks such as soft drink, fruit juice and water.
  • If you decide to supply and serve the alcohol, ensure the drinks are low-alcohol and served for a limited time.
  • Provide plenty of food.
  • Organise activities such as dancing, karaoke, games or sports to keep your guests entertained.
  • Be prepared to confiscate alcohol if necessary.
  • Make sure all your guests have safe transport to and from the party.
  • Don’t let your guests go home alone.
  • Don’t allow guests to drive home if they’ve been drinking
  • Have police and emergency numbers on hand.

Our sources

Information in this section has been drawn from the following sources: