Teens often don't anticipate how quickly a party can get out of control.

The Risks of Unsupervised Teen Parties

by Freddie Silver

Responsible parents rarely give permission for their teenagers to have an unsupervised party. Nevertheless, these parties do happen, usually when unsuspecting parents are away from home. These parties frequently attract uninvited teens who learn about the event from mutual friends or from social networking sites. A large crowd of impulsive adolescents can often result in a situation that soon spirals out of control with disastrous consequences that the party organizers never imagined. (ref 7)

Substance Abuse

A national survey conducted by Columbia University found that teens report easy access to alcohol, drugs and cigarettes, making them standard fare at teen parties and dances. According to the Virginia Department of Alcohol Beverage Control, some youngsters start drinking as young as 12 years of age, and the Public Health Unit in Grey Bruce County, Ontario, notes that it's not unusual to find teens rendered unconscious and requiring hospitalization from alcohol poisoning. Driving while drunk is an added concern that arises when impaired teens need to get home from the party.

Sexual Activity

When teens are under the influence of drugs or alcohol they are more likely to engage in sexual activity -- consensual or otherwise -- and removing any sort of supervision from the picture makes engaging in risky behaviors such as unprotected sex that much more likely, Planned Parenthood suggests. In addition, it's not uncommon for sexual assaults at parties to be photographed and posted on the Internet, The Royal Canadian Mounted Police report, resulting in humiliation for the victims and serious criminal charges for the perpetrators.


The National Youth Violence Commission claims that more than one in three teens report being in a physical fight within the last two years and that the most violence occurs in the late teens and early 20s. That teenage aggression is exacerbated by alcohol and drugs. The impulsiveness and high emotions of the teen years often lead to violent behavior. Fights often erupt at parties over romantic jealousies. Assaults with knives or guns might occur when trespassers are confronted, and it's not uncommon for deaths to occur at out-of-control teen parties.


Property damage at unsupervised teen parties ranges from relatively minor problems such as garbage strewn about and stains on carpets to slashed furniture, broken windows and fire damage. Even when the damage is not deliberate, the financial loss is often in the hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Thefts and wanton destruction can quickly become commonplace with a large, unruly group of teens. Neighbors disturbed by excessive noise might call the police and some teens will be arrested.

About the Author

Freddie Silver started writing newsletters for the Toronto District School Board in 1997. Her areas of expertise include staff management and professional development. She holds a master's degree in psychology from the University of Toronto and is currently pursuing her PhD at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, focusing on emotions and professional relationships.

Photo Credits

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