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Partying safely - tips for parents

Summary

Young people who are well informed on the possible dangers of risky behaviour are less likely to put themselves and their friends in harm's way. Talk about the potential hazards of partying with your teenager.

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Teenagers who are well informed about the possible dangers of risky behaviour are less likely to put themselves and their friends in harm’s way. Talk to the young people in your life about the potential hazards of partying, such as drink driving, unsafe sex, drug overdose and assault.

Negotiate partying rules


Parties are likely to go much more smoothly if you negotiate the rules beforehand. Tips include:
  • Establish reasonable and clear-cut rules together: for example, curfew times and the acceptable number of alcoholic drinks.
  • Make sure your child has input into the decision making.
  • Give rewards for sticking to the rules, for example, extra pre-paid time on their mobile phone.
  • Punish your child for breaking the rules, for example, confiscation of their mobile phone for a designated time. You need to set boundaries and enforce them.

Going out – general safety issues


Young people need to have some freedom so they can learn to become independent, but discussing your concerns is important. Tips include:
  • Know where your child is going, who they are going with, what time they plan to come home and their travel arrangements.
  • Tell your children that if things don’t work out with their transport arrangements, they can always call you for help at any time and you will pick them up (or arrange for someone else to, if possible). Don’t punish them if things go wrong as they may not ask for help again.
  • Make sure they have money, a working mobile phone and other appropriate safety requirements such as a designated driver.
  • Have the mobile phone numbers of your child’s friends and their parents in case of emergencies.
  • Make sure your child has something to eat beforehand. A full stomach slows alcohol absorption.
  • Encourage your child to stick with their friends and look out for each other.
  • Arrange a ‘code word’ for your child to use over the phone if they secretly wish to be picked up, but don’t want their friends to know.

Party at a friend’s house


A party at a friend’s house can sometimes cause problems. Don’t assume everyone shares your values. Tips include:
  • Call the host’s parents and discuss issues such as whether or not alcohol will be served or if smoking will be permitted.
  • Ask whether there will be adults around to supervise.
  • Arrange to collect your child at an agreed time.

Party at home


With a few simple plans in place, a good time can be had by all – even the parents. Tips include:
  • Register the party with police at least one week in advance.
  • Have adults on hand to monitor the party and act as ‘bouncers’.
  • Insist that the party is invitation only. Your child should ask their invited friends not to SMS the details to anyone else.
  • Serve plenty of food, water and soft drinks.
  • Don’t serve home-mixed alcoholic drinks or put alcoholic drinks in large containers such as punch bowls, as guests will find it hard to keep track of their drinking. Standard drinks served in standard-sized glasses or bottles are easier to monitor.
  • Be aware of the laws about serving alcohol to minors. In Victoria, it is an offence to provide alcohol to minors on private property without parental consent.
  • Avoid self-service of alcohol. Nominate one adult as ‘bar person’.
  • Consider a party with a focus (such as a theme or live band), as they tend to distract guests from continuous drinking.
  • Have a plan of action if a guest becomes drunk, abusive or ill. Always call 000 in an emergency.
  • Make sure that each guest has a safe way to get home. Call their parents if necessary.

Where to get help

  • Your doctor
  • Police Tel. 000
  • Ambulance Tel. 000
  • DirectLine Tel. 1800 888 236 – for 24-hour confidential drug and alcohol telephone counselling, information and referral
  • Parentline, 8 am to midnight 7 days a week Tel. 13 22 89
  • Victoria Police Party Safe program – call your local police station
  • Youthsafe Tel. (02) 9817 7847

Things to remember

  • Young people who are well informed on the possible hazards of risky behaviour are less likely to put themselves and their friends at risk.
  • Know where your child is going, who they are going with, what time they plan to come home and their travel arrangements.

You might also be interested in:

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This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by:

Reach Out

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Reach Out

Last reviewed: June 2014

Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residents and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that, over time, currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.


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Young people who are well informed on the possible dangers of risky behaviour are less likely to put themselves and their friends in harm's way. Talk about the potential hazards of partying with your teenager.



Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your qualified health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residence and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a qualified health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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