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Not So Sweet 16s: To party or not to party? The question for parents….


Teens Behaving Badly

There comes a time in every parent’s life when a child comes home from school and says the following:

“Mom. Dad. Please can I have a party for my 16th birthday”

Of course, most of us, go immediately to a gut response and say, “ Er, let me give that some thought. Okay. I have thought about it. No. Absolutely not. Do you think I’m stupid? Why would I want to have my house trashed and have your friends vomit on my soft furnishings? Why would I want to alienate the neighbours’ and bring myself to the attention of the local police? No. Just no.”

But no teenager worth his salt takes no for an answer, in the face of the following – “ But Mooooom. But Daaaaaad. Everyone else’s parents let them.” And “ You’re destroying my life, ALL the popular kids have parties, I’ll be called a nerd and a loser and I’ll have no friends.” And … “ If you really loved me you’d say yes,” etc – you might just find yourself having second thoughts.


16th Birthday Parties? Yay or Nay?


The Village had some thoughts:

NO! You will be surprised how those parties turn out to be free for all. Kids these days, have open house parties where the news spread like wild fire and you end up having the entire school rock up. I had to step in many times, when parties my kids was invited to, turned into a full blown almost adult like party.”


NO! Kids will always try to push the boundaries… But, it is our job to enforce them. If you are not prepared to be ‘that’ person, then do not agree to host the party. It doesn’t mean these things dont happen but being seen as supporting this behavior will only escalate their belief that they are entitled to underage drinking, smoking weed etc. Just my opinion…”


Think divergently: “My son was still in the process of deciding how he wanted to celebrate his 16th when we organised a surprise party. He thought it was a family lunch for his Birthday, then arrived at the restaurant to find his friends there- his first thought was ‘who is having a party and hasn’t invited me’. It was an awesome day. Very memorable. We left them to it and sat at a table on the far side of the restaurant.”


Offer an alternative: “Offer him an experience or epic holiday to the same value as the party will be. My son jumped for that.”


Go daytime and outdoors” My daughter had a beach party. Snacks and cold drinks, the cricket bat and ball, frisbee, soccer ball, playing in the water. She was asked to repeat it for her 17th….and 18th which she did. Simple, easy and loads of healthy fun.”


Yes, but keep it all under control:

“We recently held a 16th birthday party for my son at the local tennis club. Great music, boerie rolls, colddrinks, fun and laughter. No shenanigans, no alcohol, not one smoker. It was awesome, the kids were awesome! And there were more than 40 of them! We locked the gate, had a security guard and controlled access. I am so grateful that my son and his friends are such a chilled, cool bunch of kids!”


But … it can go horribly wrong: “Drove my son once to a rather upmarket pad, not a parent in sight. Or on the property. The parents left them, with the burden of trust. In my opinion, it was ridiculous and immature and neglectful of them to leave a teen open to party crashers, drugs, date rape drugs, overuse of alcohol. And who really gives a toss about some larney pad. Daddy is this rich guy they have these supercars…etc yawn .. . Seriously. Who are we trying to impress by relaxing our own boundaries and values? By giving in and allowing permissive parenting.. Parents get a grip, keep your kids close, simplify, dare to love enough to put strong affirming boundaries in place.”


And .. just as bad: “ I remember back in the day, my brother requested a 16th party at home. My parents went out, my sister and I had to organize a sleep over and my ‘trusted’ 16 year old cousin was left to keep an eye….. she called my mom at 11h00. Freaked out. My brother was puking up in the garage. Everyone got completely trashed and I found an asthma pump under my pillow the next morning. (Yes, even my bedroom) My mom, to her dismay, found undies floating in the pool the next morning”


Sometimes … just “Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Nice try. No.”




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