Staying involved in your teenager’s life cultivates a stronger relationship and shows your teenager that you care about her interests. Whether she is having a birthday party, graduation party or celebrating another special occasion, help her plan a successful party that is fun and appropriate for teenagers. Planning a party with your teenager also helps you keep tabs on what she is doing in her spare time and gives you an opportunity to learn more about the friends she interacts with on a regular basis.
Set ground rules for your teenager, such as a budget, the party time and the guest list. Decide if your teen’s party is co-ed. Let your child know that alcoholic beverages and other controlled substances will not be permitted. Designate clear rules and consequences if rules are broken. For example, if any teenagers are caught with alcohol, their parents will be called immediately to come and pick them up. Be clear on who is responsible for setting up and cleaning up the party. Recruit chaperones if necessary.
Choose a theme for the party with your teenager. Some theme ideas include a costume party, an 80s party, a sports-themed party or a movie-themed party. Send out themed invitations to guests to let them know the time, date, place and reason for the party. The party invitations should also include information about parental chaperones and the friends-of-friends invite policy. If you don’t want extra kids showing up, make sure you specify the party is invite-only. If your children send out the event through Facebook, ensure it has a private setting so unwanted guests can’t get the party details.
Plan the decorations, food and drinks based on the theme. For a movie-themed party, hang posters of popular movies and serve popcorn, candy and soda. When throwing a sports-themed party, use decorations based on your teen’s favorite sport or team and serve typical tailgate food, such as hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and soda.
Allow your teenager to choose the music. Create a playlist with his favorite songs or secure a dedicated DJ. Preview the songs ahead of time and decide whether or not you want to approve songs that might be offensive. If your teenager is being cooperative, you might want to use some leniency here.
Plan the activities for the party, such as a dance contest, a costume contest or movies the teens will watch. Buy prizes if you are having contests or playing games.
Make the rounds to ensure that teenagers are acting appropriately during the party. Restock any food and drinks that run out. If you suspect any inappropriate behavior, such as alcohol consumption, speak to the children in question discreetly. Implement consequences if necessary.
Ensure that each teenager is accounted for and picked up by parents or has a safe ride home at the end of the party. While you are cleaning up, use the time to talk to your teenager about the best things that happened at the party and what she would do differently next time. Use the opportunity to learn more about your teen to strengthen your bond.