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Advice for Parents

.::: If Your Teen Hosts a Party

Teens throwing parties usually assume “nothing bad’s gonna happen.”

Most of the time they’re right, but sometimes things get out of control.

No one wants a party to end in tragedy or lead to a lawsuit.

Knowing about legal issues and taking steps to avoid problems can help reduce the risk of damage or injury.

Legal issues

Know the legal issues

  • As a parent, you are liable for any alcohol your teen and their friends drink in your home or on your property.

  • It is illegal to give alcohol to anyone under the age of 19. The only exception is in a private setting when the parent is present.
  • So if you’re the parent supervising, it’s illegal to give alcohol to any teen other than your own unless their parent is present and providing the alcohol.
  • If guests get drunk and hurt themselves or someone else, you may be sued for injury or damage
  • Your insurance may be null and void if injuries or damages result from illegally serving alcohol to people who are underage.
  • You are legally responsible for what happens on your property even if:
    • You’re not there.
    • You don’t know guests are drinking.
    • Guests bring their own alcohol.

Planning the party

Stick to this checklist as you help your teen plan:

  • Before the party starts, tell everyone that there is a “no alcohol” rule.
  • Hide or lock up your bottles of alcohol and medication to keep them out of reach.
  • Establish clear rules and limits.
  • Set a maximum number of guests.
  • Set an age limit.
  • Be clear that the party is invitation-only no “crashers.”
  • Set start and finish times.
  • Keep a list of emergency numbers close-at-hand.

During the party

As the party gets underway:

  • Stay home to supervise.
  • If you can’t stay home, have another adult supervise who will follow your rules. An older sibling is often not the best choice.
  • Don’t serve alcohol to anyone under 19.
  • Don’t let anyone under 19 drink alcohol.
  • Don’t let guests leave the party and come back again.
  • Handle uninvited guests. Be prepared to ask them to leave immediately and call the police if necessary.
  • Take action if guests drink or start to cause problems. Call their parents, don’t let them drive and if necessary, call the police.

After the party

If friends can’t find a safe way home, let them sleep over.


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Revised: April 22, 2016


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