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Thursday, March 10, 2011

The After Party - Dealing with My Teen

My last post was about my teen's party while I was out of town, and I thought I'd follow-up with the final result.

My ex-husband borrowed my daughter's house keys and walked in right in the middle of the party, finding about 30 kids - both boys and girls inside. He didn't see drugs or alcohol in use or signs that a real party was planned - no snack food, soda, etc., which was a plus. My son asked if his father would wait in a different room while he cleared everyone out and then they talked about what he'd done and he brought him back to his house.

When I got home the next night there was a case of beer in the bathroom with two cans missing, our art and breakables were hidden in closed off rooms, and the house was spotless. My son had insisted on cleaning up the house before he left.

So how did I handle the first party? After 24 hours of thinking about what I should do, what consequences should be delivered, etc. I  decided to just let my teen tell me his story. He said that he had invited a few friends over, word got out and over 100 kids showed up at the door. He turned most of them away, but did let in the senior who showed up with the beer although he told him that parents knew about the party and he should leave and take it with him. He also let friends in who had been dropped off so that they could wait inside while they called their parents. A lot of the kids who showed up, he didn't let in at all.

Do I believe him? Yes. I had a party in high school once where the exact same thing happened - I invited a few kids and the entire high school came which resulted in trashing the house and our family car (yes it was really bad). The police came too, but it was the 1970s and they just made sure everything was OK, and that no one was driving, and left. I asked about the art and other valuables that were locked away and my son said as more kids showed up he started hiding things. He apologized and said that he wasn't going to do it again.

I decided to let it go with a serious talk and a warning that if it ever happened again there would be major consequences. The combination of getting caught, his mortification from his father walking in and clearing the house, and the fact that he saw just how uncontrollable these things are and will learn from it, was enough.

Did I do the right thing? I hope so. One thing I do know is I'm going to keep a much closer watch on where he goes and what he does in the future. High school is a time where we experiment and learn - if you go crazy the first time something happens, I really believe it will just make them more rebellious.

His grades are good, he's on the It's Academic team and he's basically a good kid. We'll see where it goes from here.

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