Saying yes or no to a party

Be informed

To help decide if you’ll let your child go, you can contact the host (parent) to get an idea of what kind of party it’ll be.

Talk to the host

Try asking:

  • how old are the other children that are going
  • will a parent be supervising
  • are food and activities being provided
  • will the host allow and/or serve alcohol
  • are there plans to prevent gatecrashers
  • when will the party end.

Even if your child really wants to go, if you’re uncomfortable with the party arrangements it’s a valid choice to say no. We understand it’s not easy, but as a parent you’re using your judgement to protect them.

Family talking

Said yes? Then share some safe partying tips

Safe partying doesn’t just reduce risks, it also helps everyone have a good time. Risky drinking can lead to getting sick, passing out, and being babysat by your friends – not fun. It’s also easier to relax and enjoy yourself when you aren’t worried about how to get home at the end of the night. Giving your child a few strategies can keep them safe while making sure they have a good night too.

Make your views on alcohol and drugs clear

Research shows that a parent’s attitudes do make a difference to their child’s behaviour, so sit down with your child and tell them how you feel. This won’t just impact their behaviour at the one party either. Knowing what your views are about alcohol and other drugs can help them make the right choice whenever they’ve got to make a decision about how to act.

If alcohol will be available and you don’t want your child drinking, tell both them and the host of the party. Most states of Australia have secondary supply laws that prohibit anyone giving alcohol to your child without written or verbal permission from you.

Brainstorm ways of saying no to alcohol and drugs

Prepare a good excuse with your child for them to use, like “I’m playing in a big game tomorrow” or “I’m on antibiotics”, but make sure the excuse won’t embarrass them. Discuss strategies like just holding any alcoholic drink they’re given and putting it down later.

Help them make a plan for the night

Talk about:

  • what time the party finishes
  • decide with your child how they’ll get home to avoid being driven by someone who’s drunk, affected by drugs, or doesn’t have a licence
  • plan what to do if they and their friends get separated, like picking a meeting place
  • decide who will be called in an emergency
  • suggest keeping phone numbers on a piece of paper in case of lost or dead phones.

Talk to them about staying with their friends

Explain why it’s important to stick with their friends. If they do leave, it’s important to let their friends know where they’re going, with who, and what they’ll be doing. This could be a good time to bring up sexual assault, consent, and unsafe sex – sometimes alcohol and other drugs play a role. You could also talk about ways to diffuse a fight or argument, and what to do if someone gets aggressive or very drunk.

It’s also important to encourage them to care for a drunk friend, or just be a good Samaritan for a stranger. You can tell them what to do with a very drunk person:

  • stay with them
  • put them on their side when lying down (in case they vomit)
  • dialing triple zero (000) if they pass out or are in trouble.

Reassuring them that paramedics don’t involve police (unless there’s violence) can help them make the right decision even if they’re scared of getting in trouble.