Teen party terrors
'What kind of party should I have?' asks Jen’s teen daughter. Mom shudders.
It happens every year, my daughter Hannah, 14, gets a weird gleam in her eye and starts to plan her birthday party. She attacks it with fanatical glee and conferences are held in her bedroom and on her cellphone about what form it should take.

This year I thought I was ahead of the game, 'Fourteen is not a year for a party,' I said, 'wait until you are 21.' You can just imagine how that went down.

Before I had had time to exercise my mind or any parental authority I heard that we were expecting in the region of 70 teens to descend on the house (please note the house is a cottage).

I was assured I really didn’t need to do anything and that her brother Alex, 16, and a few of his Grade 10 mates would be acting as DJs and bouncers. Also I was told that it wasn’t necessary to provide much food, just some chips and Coke and stuff.

As it was during the ridiculous second April holiday period I had high hopes that everyone had gone away and I was lucky, I suppose, that at least 20 were not available as we only had 50 on the night.

Teen party trauma

It may be that my horror of parties stems from the first one I had when boys were invited and where my father insisted that Play Misty for Me was too scary and got General Paton instead. Ah, those days of 35mm films flickering on sheets. Those days when all the girls stood outside and the boys hung out with my dad in the living room.

My neuroses aside I have to say this one was a success or so I gather. One father, who I really respect, phoned to check that there would be adequate supervision he asked in a sensible and concerned way a few days before and I promised to keep his daughter safe.

Another couple of parents phoned just before the party to ask the same question at which point I was so harried that I said, 'No, I am planning to go out and let them get on with it.' Of course I recanted swiftly and promised to be on patrol.

In the event it wasn’t necessary to bring out any whips. The girls arrived looking beautiful. The boys arrived looking bashful. They talked, they laughed, they giggled, oh dear heavens did they giggle.

I patrolled regularly and refrained from taking drugs or strong drink to get me through the night. For some of it I hid in the out of bounds bedroom area soothing a wild basset who wanted to join in the fun. When it sounded too loud I texted Hannah to tell her to keep it down.

It was well controlled and a success in that there were no arterial blood spurts on the wall. No one hit on anyone else and generally speaking the only problem was that I was deafened by the noise. But it ended at a reasonable hour and the neighbours have not complained. In fact the only person whining was me and that was when a Justin Bieber song hit the sound system big time. At that point I have to admit I thought of phoning the police myself to complain.

So, was this the last party for a few years? Somehow I doubt it, with the advent of globalisation no doubt there is a sweet 16 already being dreamed up. Although I have suggested that Hannah might like to do me a favour and elope before her 21st...

What’s your experience of teen parties then and now?

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