Do You Let Your Teen Have Parties at Your House?

Posted December 22, 2011 by

Photo of barbaragreenberg

Is it better to let your teen go out on Friday or Saturday night, or let them bring the party to your house?

I’ve talked to parents who say they would rather let their teenagers party at home. They say things like,  “I’ll have more control this way and know what my child is doing.” One mom said to me, “I like having parties at our house because I can take the car keys from all the kids when they arrive and not give them back until I make sure they’re sober enough to drive. If they aren’t, then they sleep at my house.” Parents with this mindset would rather have kids drink at their house than anywhere else. “They’re going to drink anyway,” they reason, “so why would I want them to do it on the street, at some stranger’s house, or in a car?”

I think parents who do this are on thin ice. First, underage kids are not legally allowed to drink. If you have the party at your house, you’re allowing your own child and other parents’ children to engage in dangerous and illegal behavior in your home. Second, I doubt that these other parents would be happy that another parent is condoning this behavior and allowing their kids to drink. It’s more likely they would stop allowing their kids to go to a home where drinking and partying was allowed by adults. And they might even report the activity to the police.

You might say “Kids will drink anyway so it might as well be under my watchful eyes.” But how do you know that they’ll drink anyway? Is this really about the safety of the teens or do you desperately want the kids to like you?”

We are our kids parents, not their friends. Be sure you’re sending the right message to your child, and don’t fool yourself — letting him party at your house with his friends is a big mistake.


Barbara is a Ph.D. clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of adolescents and their well-intentioned but exhausted parents. She is the co-author of Teenage as a Second Language-A Parents Guide to Becoming Bilingual with Jennifer Powell-Lunder PsyD and the co-creator of the website

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  1. LCK (Edit) Report

    I would like to know the ages of kids from Luendasue and honu.elaine? It’s never good to condone wrongful behavior or put your stamp of approval on it – but if you had a 16 year old girl that communicates to you that she’s engaging in sexual activity how should you respond – “don’t do that” or would you sit down and talk about being safe along with your opinion on how she’s too young?

    The article says “how do you know your kids going to drink” trust me it’s not assumption – both my teenage boys tell me that they do this recreationally with ALL of their friends – I’ve explained the trouble with it, how it’s not appropriate, how as we as parents are responsible for their actions, etc…I make sure I show them all the DUI accidents on the news and deaths – but they still do this – and I know because they tell me so.

  2. luendasue (Edit) Report

    I will not allow parties that involve drinking. When my daughter was younger, we allowed birthday parties with gifts. Now that she is almost an adult, I will allow her to have get togethers like a pool party or to just invite neighboring friends over for dinner. No alcohol needed. Some of her friends have to fend for themselves for food. Medicines are locked up, and I, the adult am present.

  3. angel (Edit) Report

    My husband allows his daughter to have parties at the house when we are out of town. He allows her to smoke weed outside in the yard and drink. This has been going on since she was 16 she is now 20.

  4. honu.elaine (Edit) Report

    I agree, we are the parents. So model that behavior and don’t put yourself in a situation. It won’t be so great if a kid get drunk or high at your house, and gets in a car accident on the way home! Just sayn!



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