View printable versions of our literature: Parent-Teen Guidelines for Parties and Social Events and Know The Law Fact Card

Planning a Party

  • A discussion of party plans should take place between parent and teen before the party.
  • Planning should include a discussion of activities, the size of the party, guest list, food and hours.
  • Other parents have found it a good idea to include some planned activities and the materials needed such as movies, music and games.

Ground rules for parties:

  • No drugs or alcohol.
  • No smoking.
  • No leaving the party and then returning.
  • Lights on.
  • One person in the bathroom at a time.
  • Parents should keep watch on purses, backpacks, coats and exits.

Parent responsibilities

Parent of host:

  • Set fair guidelines and keep to them.
  • Be in attendance at all parties, although not necessarily always in the same room.
  • Serving refreshments is a good way for inconspicuous supervision. Parents should greets guests and be there when they leave.
  • Set limits regarding the number of guests.
  • Encourage small parties.
  • You may want to ask other parents to help with the chaperoning (there is strength in numbers for parents, too.)
  • Parents are responsible for the safety and welfare of the guests. You are liable for anything that may happen to guests as a result of their having had alcohol/drugs in your home even if you did not provide them with the alcohol/drugs.

Parent of guest:

  • Check party plans beforehand. Know where, when and with whom your teen is going.
  • Feel free to call host parents to see if there will be parental supervision and whether guidelines will be followed.
  • Pre-arrange transportation home and pick up promptly at agreed time.
  • Parent (or another responsible adult) should be available if a teen wants to leave the party early for any reason.

*If parents plan to be away overnight and are leaving teens at home, it is a good idea to ask a friend or neighbor to check your house for unauthorized gatherings.

Teen Responsibilities

Teen host:

  • Provide list of guests for the parents.
  • Inform guests as to when the party will begin and end.
  • Do not readmit guests once they leave the party (some may go out to drink and/or smoke).
  • Plan a full range of activities.

Teen guest:

  • Respect hosts and their home.
  • Prearrange transportation home.
  • Arrange to leave the party if you do not feel 100% comfortable.
  • When going to a party, inform your parents of the details, time, place, phone number, hours, etc.
  • Call home if you are a going to be late for any reason.

Alternative activities:

Parties are in no way an obligatory part of growing up. There are many other activities such as going out to eat, bowling, exercising, going to movies or local concerts, working on a service project, etc., which may be more appropriate.