AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) —Teens and parties. Experts say that letting teens go to parties is essential to their social skills.

With that, there are some things to be aware of and ways to protect your child and yourself.

Facts about teen parties:

· Guest list: news spreads quickly via social media and these can grow too large for parents to control.

· Time/place: teen parties often start late and move house to house.

· Teens can expect alcohol and marijuana be present at parties.

o Some parents believe it is better to allow them to drink in their home so they can keep them safe, but this is a misguided belief; parents cannot keep impaired teens safe.

o When alcohol and drugs are involved teens, judgment get impaired which can result in injuries/ violence/ sexual behavior.

o Alcohol affects teens differently than adults>teens more likely to remain awake/ wander about/ drive a car while having a much higher degree of mental impairment.

· What parents need to know:

o Communication and honesty are important to keep your teen safe. Parents who talk with their kids about drugs/alcohol the kids are 42% less likely to use. Tell your teens you expect them not to use when going to a party.

o Parent networking is the best prevention to combat underage drinking. Knows your child’s friends and who their parents are. Communicate with these parents to make sure everyone is on the same page.

o Parents are legally responsible for anything that happens to a minor who has been served alcohol/drugs in their home. Can be criminally or civilly liable if

§ Alcohol is provided to a minor at a party they have organized.

§ Property is damaged.

§ Injuries

§ Someone drives a care impaired and injures someone else.

§ Someone dies.

o If anyone brings alcohol/drugs to the party be prepared to contact their parents. If someone shows up intoxicated make sure they get home safe.

· If you are hosting a party:

o Plan in advance

o Keep parties small

o Set the guest list

o Have a starting and ending time

o Have party rules/expectations

o Have plenty of food/beverages that are non-alcoholic available.

o Be there but not “square”.

· If your teen in going to a party:

o Know where your teen is going and for how long

o Call parents hosting party to discuss the event

o Talk with your teen about what your expectations are

o Make sure they have a safe way to and from the party.

§ Give them permission to come get them if things are uncomfortable/out of control for them… even if they themselves have been indulging.

o Be up to greet your teen once they arrive home.

o If staying overnight with a friend communicate with the friend’s parents about what your expectations are and permission to call you if anything is suspicious or goes awry.