This article explores a scenario in which a teen throws a party when his parents have left him home alone, that quickly becomes larger than he had anticipated. You can use the discussion questions in this article to have a conversation about partying with your mentee. Also includes facts about house parties, social host ordinances, and more.
Partying, Drugs, and Alcohol
Parties are an important part of social life for preteens and teens. However, they can also be a source of alcohol and other drugs. The temptation to fit in and be popular in these situations can cause teens who might not otherwise use to succumb to peer pressure.
Research shows that the most common source of alcohol for teens is from adults, often at house parties. In a national poll, two out of three teens, aged 13-18, said it is easy to get alcohol from their homes without parents knowing about it. One third responded that it is easy to obtain alcohol from their own parents knowingly, which increases to 40 percent when it is from a friend’s parent. And one in four teens have attended a party where minors were drinking in front of parents.1
Parents have the misconception that it is safer if their kids drink at home, but they don't realize how easily house parties can spin out of control, or the fact that they are giving their kids the wrong message about underage drinking. Injuries and car accidents after such parent-hosted parties remind us that no parent can completely control the actions of intoxicated youth, during or after a party.
Aside from the risks of accidents caused by drunken driving, youth at house parties put themselves at risk of unwanted sexual advances, fights, and other risky behaviors. Even more dangerous are "pharm parties" where alcohol is often mixed with unkown prescription drugs with unpredicatable, and sometimes fatal, consequences.
As a mentor, we encourage you to educate yourself about this issue. You can help your mentee have a plan for attending parties safely, and role play responses that they feel comfortable using to avoid peer pressure to drink or use drugs. For more information on substance abuse prevention see Drug and Alcohol Use.