I always hated it when my teenagers emphatically insisted that I not call other parents to check on a weekend party that they were planning to attend.
When they were young teens off to a bar/bat mizvah, it was pretty safe. A cute and festive invitation arrived to our home and was promptly posted on the bulletin board; I knew where the party would be held, the hours of the event and that the parents would be attending. If I had any questions about sending my young teen, it was an easy call to the hosting parent for clarification or comfort.
BUT now my young teenage daughter has finished the Bar Mitzvah season and is moving towards a social life with the scary and unknown teen parties at houses with parents I do not know! I am preparing for another round of battle and the mortified Teenage Mutant Ninja shrieks, “No other parents call!” “You are completely embarrassing me!” “You do not trust me?” “I hate you. You are ruining my life.” as I move into defensive party mode and call the host teens’ parents to introduce myself & to – (1) see if they know their teen is having a party (YES – I did make calls back when my older kids went to parties and found parents who did not know they were hosting a party.) (2) confirm that the parents will be home (YES – I did hear a few times, that the parents would be out and a housekeeper or older sibling would be on the premises) & (3) check who else is invited (YES – I know that the invitations that used to be made verbally on the school campus are now made on Facebook and other viral media across the city and country to include every breathing teenager with internet access)
And without having to ask the Host Parents, I knew and know to take into account that there will be older kids and drugs & alcohol there and that my younger teen will not be prepared for this.
No teens want you to make ‘The Call’. When my son was 14/15 years old, he was particularly sneaky and equivocal, because he did not want me to make ‘The Call’!
I also learned from ‘The Call’ – (1) Many other parents also called the host family and most host parents appreciated ‘The Call’. (2) Even if I ‘trusted’ my child, I did not ‘trust’ other kids (many who were 2, 3 and 4 years older). (3) My teens did not hate me for long and I did not ruin their lives after these traumatizing experiences; they became successful and thriving individuals with no battle wounds from this humiliation! (4) It is very good for teens to know their parents are watching and that they are not running free without supervision.
Amateur Advice – If YOU have any questions or are insecure about letting your teenagers attend a party, DO NOT let them talk you out of making ‘The Call’. Or just don’t let them go to the party.