Parties Are Opportunities
Imagine that your child gets invited to a birthday celebration. As a parent you decide to find out about the guest list.
Hearing that the guest list is made up of friends and family members of yours, you decide to do something very different. You decide to help your child pick out a gift to give to each and every party guest.
In fact, you get so excited by this project that you forget one basic thing. You forget Whose birthday it is!
The Inn keeper in Bethlehem missed the opportunity to celebrate that birth. Don’t let your children miss it.
Find a way to bring the focus back to Christ and His birth this Christmas. Help your children celebrate His birthday.
The simple fact that your child has been invited to a slumber party has no barring what-so-ever on whether your child will go to that slumber party.
Do your homework. Who are the parents? Do you know them? You wouldn’t let a stranger use your car over night so why entrust your greatest treasure to a stranger?
What is the reason for the slumber party? What do they plan to do? Who will be there? Is it going to be all one gender?
Make no assumptions. Ask your questions before saying yes so you don’t kick yourself later on.
A growing number of parents think it’s cute to have a slumber party for everyone in their child’s first or second grade. Yes, everyone … boys and girls.
It just takes one precocious child to pressure everyone into showing body parts.
Ask all your questions before hand so you can say to yourself, “I’m glad I did,” rather than “I wish I had.”
Once the phone call has been made to the chaperoning parent of the party and the questions have been asked, it’s time to elevate your teen to the role of “parent-for-a-night”.
“Ashley,” the parent can begin, “I won’t be going to this party so you have to represent me by taking care of Ashley.”
The baffled teen will say, “What are you talking about, Dad?”
“Since I’m not there with you at this party, Honey, you have to be my substitute and decide if and when it is time to leave the party.
Explaining that you will be there at 10:30 to pick them up, but if at any time any of the following things on the list happens call and you will come early to get them.
- If the parents chaperoning the party disappear, call me.
- If you feel uncomfortable, call me.
- If there are any drugs or alcohol (even with just one other kid, because that means the parents aren’t really chaperoning), call me.
- Any kids making out, call me.
**Add your own things to this list.
“Honey, you are representing me tonight. I’m counting on you to treat yourself like you are worth making that call if something on our list happens. To help you I will be showing up a little early to pick you up and I will come inside the house … all the way in. If anything on the list is taking place and you didn’t call me, it will show me you aren’t ready to be my substitute. It will be thirty-days before you go anywhere. Then we’ll try again.”
This is a great opportunity to train a teen to step up to their peers and make the call. They can even blame it on their parent.
If we don’t train them how to treat themselves with respect who will? If we don’t train them how have the courage to walk out of a bad party who will? If we don’t train them how to walk out of a bad party how will they ever walk out of a bad date?
Parties give parents the opportunity to train the child to handle peer pressure.
Once you have decided that your child is mature enough to “work” a party, develop your Party Selection List.
A Party Selection List consists of questions you need answered before the party becomes a “Yes Party”. These are questions you will want to ask the parental host and you want to ask the questions with your child present. That way your child will begin to understand what a “Yes Party” looks like before he/she asks for permission to attend.
When a child asks for permission to go to a party, ask for the phone number of the host parent.
“Mom,” the child will panic, “You’re not going to call are you!”
Parent’s response: “No, I won’t call unless you want to go to this party. It’s your choice.”
The parent’s call to the parent hosting the party goes something like this: “Hi, this is Mrs. Smith. I understand your daughter is having a party this Friday night. My son has been invited. Do you mind if I ask a few questions?”
Have your questions ready. Questions like, “Are you going to be there chaperoning all evening? There won’t be any alcohol will there? Is this a party for just this age group or are older kids attending?”
Once the questions have been answered, thank the host and tell them you look forward to meeting them when you drop your child off.
You wouldn’t let a stranger use your car Friday night, therefore, why would you be any less careful with your child?
The first step in this training opportunity is to find out if this is a “Yes Party”. Make your list of questions.
Tomorrow: Give your child their training assignment.
When it comes to making a parental decision about whether your teen can go to a party or not, do you start by saying “No”? Then cave in later because your child begs and claims he is the only kid in the entire middle school whose mom won’t let them go … Only cool kid anyway.
Do you say “yes” out of exhaustion or do you stay with your training plan. One is a Debating Parent while the other is a Training Parent.
A Debating Parent makes decisions by debate. The fact that the parent really isn’t comfortable with the party is an issue, but not the deciding factor. The winner of the debate wins the prize.
The Training Parent says “No” and sticks with it when it comes to “No Parties”.
The training parent also uses the “Yes Parties” for more than entertainment. The training parent uses the party for teaching and preparation.
If your child can’t handle a party with many peers, they certainly can’t handle a date one-on-one. The “Yes Parties” are opportunities for much more than entertainment. They serve as avenues for training your child in the way they should handle themselves in potentially difficult situations in their future.
Tomorrow: The party selection process.