Help your teen choose a theme for her birthday party.

The Best Birthday Parties for Teens

by Jaimie Zinski

It's a tricky subject trying to choose a theme, decorations or food for your picky teenager's birthday party. Your teen wants to choose a theme that is modern, trendy and has nothing to do with princesses, pirates or anything childish. Instead of bickering about the specifics, help your teen plan a party you will both enjoy.

1. No Parents Allowed

Plan a party with your teen that provides freedom, but also allows you to stay near and monitor the activities. Host a party at your home and invite your teenager's friends and their parents. Create a “Parent Free Zone” in the home by blocking off the backyard with rows of streamers, or place a sign on the door of the basement that reads “No Parents Allowed.” In a separate area of the home, host a party for the teenager's parents or guardians. Check up on the teenagers periodically to see if they're low on ice or want to order pizza. Otherwise, allow them to relax and enjoy a parent-free party.

2. Hand Over Control

Instead of controlling every decision concerning your teen's party, hand over the responsibility to your young adult. Provide your teenager with a budget and a few ground rules, such as a list of approved venues. Otherwise, allow your teenager and her friends to completely plan the affair, from the decorations and food to the band and the cake. Keep yourself available to answer any questions and approve your teen's choices, bu otherwise, let her have complete control. Allowing your teen to plan her own party not only provides her with a sense of independence, it also teaches her a lesson about planning and budgeting.

3. Sweet 16 Themes

A teenager's sweet 16 party is a momentous rite of passage, so help your anxious young adult plan an unforgettable affair by choosing a classic or unique theme. A black and white party is a more sophisticated option for a teen interested in fashion. During a black and white affair, the guests are instructed to come dressed in either of these two colors, or a combination of both. A traditional dance party complete with colorful invitations and decorations, punch and loud music is another option. A tropical or Caribbean theme complete with beach towels, bathing suits and hula skirts is a classic choice if your teenager enjoys the water or beach.

4. Hobby Party

Create a party theme for your teen's birthday party based on her favorite hobby, extra-curricular activity or pastime. If your teenager plays volleyball, turn your backyard into a miniature sports arena, complete with stands, a net, volleyballs and cheering section. If your teenager enjoys the outdoors, host a camping party. Set up tents in the backyard and provide your teen and her friends with everything required to have a proper camping experience, including hot dogs, marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers. Once the sun goes down, set a fire and encourage the teens to tell scary ghost stories before going to bed.

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