In this lesson we are going to explore teenagers partying. In it you will learn:
Think back to when you used to party as a teenager (if you did). What could your parents have said to you that would have reached you? How would you have liked your parents to treat you in this circumstance? What type of relationship would you like your teenager to have with partying? What would you like to teach them about this phase of their life? What is your goal and how do you plan to teach them this?
Ah, what parent doesn’t like to see their kids go out all night, get hammered, act stupid, dress absurdly, and cause all kinds of trouble that keeps you up all night? Good times! Ok, in case you cannot tell I was being facetious. The truth is that almost all kids from the ages of 14 – 32 are going to be in a phase where their entire life is structured around partying. Unless your child is an introvert academic, chances are your child will spend the next ten or more years devoting their life to going out with their friends and causing all sorts of trouble. So what’s the solution?
You just need to accept the fact that your teenager wants to go out and have a good time with their friends. When people are at this stage their entire identity revolves around it. The “weekend” is where teenagers feel that they can finally “release” some of the tension and pressures of their week from school or work. The danger of you not accepting this part of their life is rebellion. If you try to keep them locked up in their room or impose some extreme curfew on them, they will rebel because they will feel boxed in and their energy will eventually build up until it explodes. So you need to come to terms with the fact that they will be partying.
Most parents who try to shelter their kids from partying do so because of their fears. Whether they fear their child getting too drunk, hurt, lost, or causing some form of harm, all resistance to parents not allowing their kids to go party stems from some form of fear. On the one hand, these fears are understandable. You see horror stories on the news or “Daddy’s little girl” on Girls Gone Wild. Any parent would dread to see their kid end up like this.
However, the truth is that what most parents see as being damaging is such a small percentage. Your teenager has a bigger chance of getting into a car accident than something really bad happening at a party. The real issue parents must face is the fact that they’re not arming their children with good skills and preparedness so that when they do go out, they can do so in a safe way. And since most parents deep down know they have been inadequate with teaching their child how to party responsibly, this is their real fear.
Because you do need to accept the fact that your teenager is going to party (once they are 18 you can’t stop them), your best bet is to embrace this fact and teach them good morals and balanced skills so that they are empowered to make good choices.
Step 1 – Have A Good Relationship
When teenagers have a poor relationship with their parents where they feel bitter towards you, this is where most kids get into trouble at parties. Because they’re hurt or angry with their parents, they will act out in ways at these events and that is where the trouble happens. If you want to help keep your kids safe at parties, have a great relationship with them so they wont use it as an opportunity to act out.
Step 2 – Drinking Responsibly
While it’s a nice idea to think that your kids are not going to drink until they are 21, that’s not going to happen. Alcohol is easy to get and all parties have them. In fact, no party is actually defined as a “party” unless it has alcohol at the very least. So just accept the fact that when your teenager tells you, “I’m going to a party”, what they are really saying is, “I’m going to hang out with a bunch of people where there is loud music and alcohol”.
Your safest bet is to teach them how to drink responsibly and here are the most important factors:
Acting Out Of Control
Seeing kids act stupid and out of control is the worse thing to watch at a party. But the truth is that this person is acting this way because this is how they already feel regardless of the party or alcohol. It’s just that the party environment is more conducive for them to “let it out”. If you have ever seen someone act belligerent at a party, you will see that they almost change as a person. Once again, it’s because the party environment makes that person feel more comfortable to let it out. So why do people behave this way?
If you do not want your teenager to act out in this way then it’s important that you have a good relationship and instilled some good values in them so that they don’t feel the need to rebel or act out in this way. If your child has a good head on their shoulders then no matter how much alcohol they drink they will not act this way. Sure, they could get sick but they won’t act like an ass.
That being said, for the sake of discussion lets play devils advocate and assume for a moment that you and your child have a great relationship and have a solid head on their shoulders; and still act out in this way. Then use this as an opportunity for them to learn and grow from it. Don’t judge or punish them. If you use this experience for them to “look at it” so they can learn and grow from it, you stand a better chance of them not repeating it again later.
What most parents do is see their child act like this, freak out, and then try and lock them up in their room. What will happen when they are 18 and you can’t stop them? Then what? Personally speaking I have seen people in very high stature jobs that work for very well known fortune 500 companies and act like an ass when they’re drunk. It’s as if they never grew up. Here they are in their late thirties early forties and they are acting like a child. It’s because his or her parents never taught them how to create balance in their life that these types of situations occur, and because they have some deep-rooted emotional issues they have not dealt with. Basically, they do not have a strong sense of self.
Of course at parties, people are going to let loose and have fun and that is the whole point. But there is a difference and fine line between having fun and acting like an ass and you need to teach your child that line so they know how not to cross it. Once you instill this in them and help them explore healthy choices while still being able to enjoy themselves, then you can let go and not worry so much.
At some point or another, drugs will be available at a party. I have created an entire section on drugs and you can read up on this subject here. That being said, the short answer is the same: Have a good relationship with your kids and they won’t get into too much trouble. Please notice I’m NOT saying they won’t do drugs. What I am saying is that if you have a positive relationship with them they won’t abuse them in a way to rebel or suppress their emotions. Whether you agree with this or not, there are people in the world who can take drugs, enjoy themselves, and be healthy and balanced people.
Another fear most parents face is the sex issue that can come up at parties. Because I have dedicated an entire module to sex and dating I won’t go into too many details about this topic here. However, I do want to point out some significant points and I will do so from a male and female perspective:
Most boys (not all) go to parties to “get laid”. It’s in their DNA and is part of their “hunting” ritual. For most guys, if they do not “pick up” on a girl when they go out they feel like a failure. This is a very sad state of affairs for guys because they associate partying with getting laid instead of just going out to be social and have a good time. The other negative side of this is that most guys learn through this process to treat woman like a piece of meat or to view them as objects that are just there for their pleasure.
If you have a son, then start the process of teaching him that if he goes out to a party, to enjoy it as a social experience where he can meet new people, listen to great music, and have fun. Ideally you want to show him this side of partying. Otherwise by default he will just see it as a “hunt”.
On the other hand, girls love to go to parties to have a good time. They love to dress up, see their friends, hear great music, and cause some trouble. Sexually speaking, while girls this age are not necessarily looking to “hook up”, what they’re looking for can be just as detrimental; attention. If your daughter has low self-esteem then she will use parties, not to have sex, but as a way to get attention. And to be more specific, she will dress up in revealing clothes so that guys look at her. Because of this, the aggressive guys will come on very strong, be mean and rude because they’re after one thing, and whether she chooses to have sex or not, she will experience the repercussions of this emotionally and psychologically because she will have created the scenario where she believes the only way for her to get attention is to go out and have guys try and pick up on her.
If you have a daughter and dread the fact that guys could approach her in this way, first and foremost do not react with fear. Your daughter has to learn at some point that this is how most (not all) men are. But more importantly, if you have a good relationship with your daughter and you have taught her how to feel validated and loved for positive reasons, she will not seek attention or validation in this way. The only girls that tend to do this are ones that do not have any other talents or gifts going on so they rely on their default attributes; their sexuality.
Depending on your child’s age, it is a good idea to have a curfew. That being said, you also need to understand that when kids are having a good time, time is irrelevant and gets lost in the moment. So when kids are late, they’re not disrespecting you. It’s just that in the world of partying, clocks are thrown out the window and it’s VERY hard to keep track of time. All week kids are on a strict time schedule with school and work and this gives them stress. So the last thing they want to look at is a clock while they are partying.
Curfews are also a great opportunity to teach your teenager that how responsibly they behave around the house, school, and other tasks will reflect in the curfew you give them. Because you want your teenager to learn responsibility as soon as possible, and because they want their freedoms as soon as possible, this is a great opportunity for you to show your teenager that how they behave responsibly will be a direct correlation with the types of freedom they get.
It’s also important that you’re fair about this and actually give them some space and freedom when they behave responsibly. At the same time, if they fall down and mess up, you can’t react and shut the doors on their freedom because of one mistake. This is VERY hard for most parents because whatever circumstances you’re dealing with are so emotional and frightening that most tend to shut down and want to keep their kids on a short leash. This will backfire not only in how your relationship continues, but as they get older they will not have learned how to become more responsible. This is why it’s important that you learn to find your balance in allowing your child to fall down and make mistakes.
Because there is so much distance between parents and teenagers, most kids do not feel like they can call their parents for help when something does come up for fear of retribution. This is VERY dangerous because it’s during the partying phase of a kid’s life where they’re exploring boundaries. Chances are in some way, shape, or form, your kid will come up against a situation where they’re going to need to call you. But if they feel like they can’t, they’re left alone and the situation they’re in can get a whole lot worse.
If you want to keep your child safe during this phase, make sure it’s clear that they can not only call you, but they do not need to have any fear of shame or retribution. Now let me make this clear, this does not mean they will not suffer any consequences. It also does not mean that you might have to pull back a notch on their leash. But the real difference is in how you do this. You want your child to learn from the situation so it does not happen again. You want them to be able to feel like they can call you and that you can help them. So you need to find your balance in being open and supportive, while at the same time they know that they might have to take a step back in their freedom level until they have shown they are ready for more.
Another side effect of partying that you need to look for is if your teenager obsesses over them. Many kids (and adults) obsess over parties because it is their escape. Because many individuals in society do not like there “day-to-day” lives, they will use parties as a form of escape. This can all be moot if your child has a strong sense of enjoyment with what it is they’re doing in life. But if they don’t enjoy what they are doing, then it’s more probable that they can go down this path. If they’re using partying as an escape, help them create a more fulfilling life so they no longer want to escape from it.
Mistakes Will Happen
No matter how perfect you are as a parent, and no matter how good your child may be, mistakes might happen. Teenagers are still finding their footing when it comes to choices and how to decipher situations and people. When your kid says, “I’m going out”, what you really need to see is that they are exploring the world. Imagine if we were living in the jungle (which we actually are) and your kid wanted to venture out. The only thing you can do is prepare them for what may come. Once they encounter some situations, then you need to help them explore what they experienced so they can learn from it. This way each time they go out they will improve their decision making process. But in the beginning, just remember that the world is VERY new to them and they are still figuring things out.
This is especially true when they are meeting new people. Where a lot of kids get in trouble is when they are out and interacting with people they do not know. Because they lack the skills to be able to gauge whether someone is a “good person” or “bad person”, some kids can get into trouble by default because they end up with the wrong crowd. If this happens, you need to use this as an opportunity to teach your child about human behavior and why people act the way they do. It is important that they start learning now how to tell if someone is a genuine person or if they are malicious. But if you punish them and don’t allow them into the world to learn, how do you expect them to be able to gauge these things when they get older?
– Sergio Diazgranados