Establish and enforce a rule that your adolescent is to obtain your permission before holding a party or gathering in the family home or elsewhere. When hosting an adolescent party, consider advice provided by reputable “partysafe” websites such as those produced by state police. Make sure the party is adequately supervised by one or more adults. You should know strategies for de-escalating potential violence (see box on Strategies for de-escalating aggression). You should also consider how you will prevent or manage gatecrashers. Plan age-appropriate activities together with your adolescent to take the focus off drinking at the party.
Never allow alcohol consumption at parties for adolescents under the age of 15. Before hosting a party for older adolescents, it is important to make a clear decision about whether or not to allow alcohol. When making this decision, be aware of the legal responsibilities of hosting an adolescent party where alcohol is consumed (in some parts of Australia it is illegal to provide alcohol to a person under 18; for more information see www.theothertalk.org.au/advice/know-the-law/). If you have decided not to allow alcohol at the party, explain to your adolescent the reasons why.
If you have decided to allow alcohol at a party for older adolescents, implement strategies to prevent alcohol misuse by guests (see reputable "partysafe" websites, as mentioned above). Discuss the rules regarding alcohol with your adolescent before inviting people to the party. Make sure that parents of guests are informed that there will be alcohol at the party, as well as the rules you will have in place to prevent alcohol misuse. Be prepared to confiscate alcohol if necessary, at least for the duration of the party (you may need to return the alcohol after the party in order to avoid an accusation of theft). Make it clear to your adolescent and guests that drunkenness will not be tolerated and have a strategy prepared for if someone drinks too much. Make sure a responsible adult who knows first aid is present at the party. You should also limit your own alcohol consumption.
Make sure that guests have a safe ride to and from the party with a responsible adult. Do not allow guests who have been drinking to drive home from the party.
Strategies for de-escalating aggression
If a person becomes aggressive, assess the risk of harm to yourself, the person and others. Ensure your own safety at all times so that you can continue to be an effective helper. If you feel unsafe, seek help from others. Do not stay if your safety is at risk. Remain as calm as possible and try to de-escalate the situation with the following techniques:
- Talk in a calm, non-confrontational manner
- Speak slowly and confidently with a gentle, caring tone of voice
- Try not to provoke the person; refrain from speaking in a hostile or threatening manner and avoid arguing with them
- Use positive words (such as “stay calm”) instead of negative words (such as “don’t fight”) which may cause the person to overreact
- Consider taking a break from the conversation to allow the person a chance to calm down
- If inside, try to keep the exits clear so that the person does not feel penned in and you and others can get away easily if needed
If violence has occurred, seek appropriate emergency assistance.