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Parent Resources

There's a party! Can I go?

This fact sheet is part of the Teen talk: A survival guide for parents of teenagers series.

Kids having a party at homeColleen Gengler, Extension Educator — Family Relations

Revised 2011. Reviewed April 2017 by Jodi Dworkin, Extension Specialist and Associate Professor — Department of Family Social Science.

The thought of teen parties may strike fear in the hearts of some parents. But with planning and forethought, teen parties can be a safe and fun alternative to unsupervised activities.

Parties at Your Home

When home is an inviting place to a teen’s friends, parents can get to know their teen’s friends and monitor their teen’s activities. Home can be a place to hang out, eat pizza, and watch movies. It can also be a place for a full-blown party. Here are suggestions if your teen throws a party.

The key to teen home parties is to work with your teen ahead of time so there are no surprises. Talk with other parents about how they handle parties, but stick to the things that will keep a party safe for your teen and their friends.

Parties Away from Home

Your teen will also get invited to parties away from your home. If you have a good relationship with your teen, it will be easier to talk with him or her about parties. Plan how they will get there and back, ask who will be there, what they will do, and the hours of the party. Sometimes teens leave out details, so do some checking.

Call the parents of the party-givers, even if your teen objects. Author Kate Kelly offers a clever way to do this.

Call, but call with an offer – “How nice of you to have the kids over Friday night. Could I drop off some soda ahead of time, or is there anything else I can do to help you out?” If the party was a surprise for the parents, you’ve just blown the whistle in the nicest of ways. If the call goes well, you’ve also made a new contact.

Create a network of parent contacts. Getting to know the families of your teen’s friends will come in handy. Suggestions include:

When You are Away

We’ve all seen television programs or movies about what happens when teens give a party while parents are away. Parents need to carefully consider whether or not to leave teens home alone.

Staying close to teens by being interested in their activities and friends will help keep communication lines open. When you work continuously on building trust, you will find it easier to set limits around parties at home and elsewhere, and teens will be more willing to share the details of their activities.


Califano, Jr., J. A. (2009). How to raise a drug-free kid: The straight dope for parents. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Kelly, Kate. (1996). The Complete Idiots' Guide to Parenting a Teenager. New York: Alpha Books.

Related resources

But you and Dad drink... — Learn how you can have an effective conversation with your teen about making healthy choices around alcohol. Part of the Teen talk fact sheet series.

Parenting to Prevent Childhood Alcohol AbuseNational Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism — Learn how to have parental influence on your teens through conscious and unconscious efforts, as well as when and how to talk with children about alcohol.

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