7 Tips for teen parties

Oct 15, 2009 at 11:34 a.m. ET

It's no secret teens can be challenging to deal with. Here are some tips for planning a teen party and making it through unscathed.

Teens at birthday party

Planning a party for toddlers and young children is pretty straightforward. But when the kids get a little older like, say, in their teen years, suddenly things are a whole lot more complicated. Consider this a primer in how to get through the process unscathed.

Keep the party safe.

Obviously, adult supervision is critical and alcohol is out of the question. You don't need to be in the room at all times but you need to be within shouting distance. Put away anything that might tempt teens to bad behavior and be sure that you know everyone on the guest list.

Give your teen responsibility.

Let your teen show you he's ready for this party. Give him a budget to work with, rules he'll need to follow and see how he does. Make sure he understands that future fetes depend on this one being a success on your terms.

Offer suggestions — but take a step back.

You may think a murder mystery party is the height of coolness. And maybe it really is. You can suggest it, but if your teen rejects the idea, be ready to let her choose her own path. She's exploring her independence and it's better that she do so under your tutelage, right?

Protect them from themselves — and each other.

When kids get together with their friends, they can sometimes egg each other on and push each other to do things they might not otherwise try. Put a bunch of teens with raging hormones together and you may have a little attempted hanky panky. An adult presence close at hand will help keep things under control.

Remove anyone who can't abide by the rules.

A little loud music is one thing. But if anyone is blatantly disobeying your rules — by drinking, for example — step in immediately. Yes, your teen will be mad and embarrassed. Better that than the alternative.

Give your neighbors a heads up.

Let people know about the party, that you plan to be there and when it will end. When people know that the music will stop at 11, they're much less likely to call the cops at 10.

Know when to call it quits.

Set a firm ending time for the party and communicate it to your teen, his friends and their parents. Smile as your guests leave, and congratulate yourself on getting through the evening.

Surviving the teenage years isn't easy. And navigating the treacherous waters of teen parties can be downright terrifying. But we'll be here for you every step of the way. Share your experiences here on the boards and let us know if you've discovered any tips we need to know.