My feelings on this subject are as follows: the words 'teen house parties' should only ever be found in sentences that also contain the words 'over my dead body'. I don't like what I've read about them, I don't like what I've heard about them and I just don't like the concept at all. So how did I end up with one in my house last summer?
Why have a teen house party at all?
It was a combination of things. Firstly, I am making a conscious effort to be slightly less uptight. Tackling anxiety by throwing a teen house party is what you would call the 'shock therapy' approach. Kill or cure time.
Secondly, teen daughter number two was turning 16 and there would inevitably be some form of celebration, with or without my blessing. Can you imagine the shame of having another family host the 'gathering' to celebrate her birthday because I was too mean to have it in my own house? Mortifying! Finally, I knew that at least I'd get a blog post out of it.
The party was scheduled, hastily unscheduled because a few key attendees were unavailable and rescheduled for, wait for it, GCSE results night! My husband predicted a self-inflicted catastrophe of immense proportions as our house became a venue for every teen in the area to celebrate/drown their sorrows.
I was hoping for the best using deep breathing relaxation techniques and positive affirmations.
The party came and went. It was a success and by that I mean no-one was arrested, no-one was hospitalised and the house escaped without major structural damage.
Best advice for teen house parties?
- Don't have one.
- Talk through boundaries with the teen host. List the things that you will be happy about. List the things that you are willing to turn a blind eye to. List the things that will make you totally freak out.
- Arrange start and finish times.
- Vet the guest list. Are you happy with both genders, kids from other schools, kids from the other side of town? What is your limit in terms of numbers? Teens have huge social circles these days. My biggest fear was a social media frenzy and hundreds of kids turning up. My daughter assured me that it would not happen. It didn't happen. I don't know why it didn't happen. You'd have to ask her. I don't understand it.
- Leave the house or at least hide yourself away. You should stay close though. We left and went to a local pub for a few hours. It was literally two minutes away.
- Make it clear that they can call you. I did make it very clear that if ANYTHING happened that she was uncomfortable with we would return immediately and sort it out calmly and without making a scene. That included medical emergencies and uninvited guests. I was saving the scene for the next day when no-one else was around.
- Prep the house. I removed TVs, curtains, lamps and precious pictures from the rooms concerned. If it's not there, it can't get damaged.
- Establish some rules. We had a rule that no-one was allowed upstairs as we have a garden, lounge, kitchen and downstairs loo that are perfectly adequate for a party. When we got back there were several people in her bedroom, three people on the landing and six (yes, six) in the upstairs bathroom so I'm not sure why I've even included this tip because it doesn't work.
- Do something about the carpets. This is where I have a success story. The only carpet that we have is on the stairs and it emerged unscathed. Every other floor surface in the house was extremely sticky. I would imagine that cream hall carpets and teen house parties do not make a good combination.
- Younger siblings will just complicate the situation. A friend of mine kindly invited our youngest for a sleep over so she was not involved in any way. The last thing you want is an 11-year-old getting ideas about teen house parties. I recruited my husband and eldest daughter as back up but they weren't needed. It turns out that all you have to do to get rid of party goers is turn the lights on! Worked like a dream.
Read more about my life with teens at After The Playground