Teen Parties - Jim Fay
"Dad, you’re so clueless! There’s no way you can be at my party. Why can’t you just go somewhere else so I can have a real party? You’re going to ruin my social life. Nobody’s going to come with parents spying on us. This is so like last century."
How many parents do you know who give in to this kind of teenage logic and allow unsupervised parties? Some parents give in because they are desperate for their teens to be popular. Others give in out of fear of alienating their kids. We’ve all heard the horror stories about unsupervised parties that got out of hand with disastrous outcomes.
Setting limits is difficult for the best of us, but take heart. New and powerful skills are available, and they are easy to learn.
Let’s look at a common conversation:
“Geez, Dad. My party is going to be ruined if you and Mom are here. Why can’t you guys just go somewhere else? You’re going to ruin my social life! You just don’t get it!”
“You don’t need an unsupervised party, David. Your friends will understand.”
“No they won’t. None of the other parents spy on their kids at their parties.”
“Don’t give me that! No responsible parent allows unsupervised parties.”
“Oh, sure, when you were kids, but now is now. All the other kids have parties without their parents treating them like babies. I’ll be the laughingstock of the whole school!”
Kids argue with a different set of rules that don’t always include reason, accuracy, and common sense. Their rule is: “Win at all cost.” Listening to a reasoning parent doesn’t seem to be in their DNA.
Let’s listen in as a parent handles the same problem using the Love and Logic approach demonstrating caring by listening and trying to understand. This wise parent offers some limit-setting choices.
Love and Logic Tip: Delay your response, and then offer choices that fit your value system.
“David, we’ve been thinking about your request for an unsupervised party. And we’ve also been thinking about our legal responsibilities. We’ve thought of three choices. You can decide.”
The first choice is to have the party with us in the house and we’ll try to stay out of the way.”
“No way, Dad! I already told you that’s no good!”
“The second choice is that you hire a professional chaperone. You can call the police department and they might give you some referrals. Or, you may know some adults who would meet our approval.”
“Oh, fine! That’s even worse!”
The third choice is that you can wait and have an unsupervised party at your own house after you go out on your own.”
“This is so lame! It’s like last century. You just don’t get it! I can’t wait until I move out!"
“Well, David. We love you too much to argue. Let us know what you decide."
These wise parents, when confronted with a problem they weren’t expecting, bought some time to think it over. They then relied on the two rules of Love and Logic. These parents took care of themselves by avoiding the arguing. They also gave the problem back to their teenager in the form of limit-setting choices.