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Graduation Season, Safe Parties for Parents

Picture courtesy of http://greaterfallsconnections.org/

Picture courtesy of http://greaterfallsconnections.org/

When graduation time rolls around teens may be preparing to head off to college, but parents get to start worrying about the graduation party. The pressure is on to provide a fun, exciting celebration to wrap-up your child’s high school career. These days, there is also the added pressure of keeping your kids safe during this “party season.” Many teens see this time of celebration as an excuse to drink, which makes keeping them safe even more difficult.

During your graduation party, you are responsible for not only your teen, but for the other teens attending the party. While you can’t watch them all one hundred percent of the time, here are some ways to help throw a safe, alcohol free, yet entertaining party for your graduate.

Don’t give the option– Many parents think that since it’s in their home and they can supervise, letting their teenager have a drink or two is ok. But, the fact is, it’s still illegal. And, as much as you try, there’s no way you can watch your child and their friends all the time. If there is alcohol available things can get out of control quickly. The safest option is to not even offer the option, even for the adults. Make it known that it is a dry party, that way no one is bringing in their own alcohol that teens could get their hands on.

Give the party a theme – Do something different than your typical “stand around and chat” theme. Consider your teen’s interest and center the party around them. Are they a movie buff? Try a Hollywood theme, with a red carpet and movies of different genres playing in different rooms. Offer virgin drinks matching whatever theme you decide on. But, take into account that people will want to chat with the guest of honor, so set aside an area just for conversation to honor them and their achievements.

Provide entertainment – Try a DJ and dancing, or maybe even Karaoke. It’s a good idea to have something continuously happening that guests can participate in as they come and go (since most will only come for a few hours). Karaoke is a good option because there is always something different going on and it invites everyone to participate.

Change up the venue– If you are stressed about having it in your home, or worried you won’t be able to constantly monitor, have it somewhere else. If you throw the party at a restaurant or bowling alley those under age can’t drink, period. Someone else is then in charge of making sure there is no underage drinking and no one is sneaking in drinks (though you should always be vigilant and aware of where your child and his friends are).

Offer an “after-party” option– Many teens end up drinking or getting into trouble when they are looking for something fun to do and can’t find it. If you have the space, throw a bonfire, or have a movie night. Let teens know they are welcome and provide a fun, yet supervised, space to hang out.

In the end, it’s up to you, as a parent, to keep your kids safe. Share the dangers of drug and alcohol use and offer safe alternatives. Talk to your teen and provide an environment where alcohol isn’t even a factor. They don’t need alcohol to have fun, but they need you to set the example.

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