Parties provide ideal opportunities for your pre-teen to build her social skills and interact with her best buddies outside of school. If not properly planned and supervised, however, these events can also provide the opportunity for pre-teens to engage in inappropriate or even dangerous behaviors. Instead of allowing your pre-teen’s party to transform from fun and carefree to overly mature and potentially dangerous, play an active role in the party planning process, setting and enforcing clear limits.
Select a theme. Pre-teens tend to get into more trouble when left up to their own devices. Instead of giving your pre-teen and his party guests the freedom necessary to stir up some trouble, guide the party through the selection of a party theme. Pick a theme that reflects you pre-teen’s interest and involve him in the planning process to increase his feeling of ownership over the event, advises North State Parent.
Help your pre-teen prepare the guest list. Set a maximum number of people that your pre-teen can invite and stick to this limit. As your teen adds names to the guest list, inquire as to how she knows these people. Keep a copy of the finished guest list for your records, recommends the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, as it’ll be useful if something goes wrong at the event.
Call invited guests’ parents. Give them basic information about the event and explain your rules. Give them your number so they can call you before, during or after the party if they have questions or concerns.
Explain the rules to your pre-teen. Tell her where the party guests may and may not go in your home. Explain that there will be no alcohol or drug use, reminding your pre-teen of the consequences she will face if she breaks this vital rule, recommends the Suburban Ramsey Family Collaborative, a non-profit collaborative based in Minnesota. As you explain the rules, have your pre-teen echo them back to improve the likelihood that she retains the information.
Supervise the event. Don’t listen to the stories your precocious pre-teen tells you about her friends’ cool parents who leave the house come party time. Stick to your guns and supervise the party to ensure that your pre-teen follows the rules. If something does go wrong, you being there is vital as parental intervention could prevent a minor issue from becoming a major one.
- Make your space pre-teen safe by securing all alcohol and prescription drugs prior to guests’ arrival.
- Watch for any suspicious behavior, such as going to the restroom immediately after getting a drink, as this could be a sign of covert alcohol consumption, suggests the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
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