High school homecoming has been the topic of major conversation, in my home lately. Actually it’s not the homecoming event itself that has become the center of dinner debate, but rather the after party. The whole idea of the after party has me crazy!
Let’s start with the invite….
My son changes his mind every day about whether he is going to invite a date to homecoming. Most of his friends are going alone and he wants to hang out with them and have fun. But then there is a girl he is interested in and he thinks she is fun enough that she will fit into his friend group. So, as we were having the “should I bring a date?” discussion, my son just happened to mention he had prepaid the cover fee to get into the after party and if he brings a date he will have to pay for her cover for that too.
When this little mention of the after party slipped out of his mouth, my helicopter mom instincts kicked in. “What did you just say?” I asked. And that’s when I got an answer I hadn’t quite expected.
Introducing: The new afterparty
When my older son and daughter went to homecoming the after party was in the hotel. I worried, but I knew if anything got out of hand, the hotel would kick them out. I figured in a hotel the partygoers would at least try to maintain some control.
Now, things are VERY different!
The after parties these days are in Air BnBs. One daring kid rents the house for the night and assumes the risk and then makes a gazillion dollars charging every else a fortune to come to the party. Of course, the teens all pay the cover fee because it’s the official after party, there is no supervision and their friends are all going. We all know any high school party involves alcohol so we know there is going to be unsupervised drinking. Although at least now with j Uber, the kids are much less at risk of drinking and driving.
My son is no angel. He is a good kid, a smart kid…but he likes to have fun and be the life of the party. I am TERRIFIED for him to go to the after party. Yet, the bigger deal I make about it, the more he wants to go.
Rather than telling him he can’t go, knowing he would probably find a way to get there anyway, I have decided to have a motherly chat with him about risks associated with underage drinking. I am trying to find a time, place, and way to approach “ the consequences of bad decisions “ talk so he won’t tune me out.
Now that my son is a senior, i want to give him more independence and it’s even harder trying to balance helicopter vs safety vs high school fun. I plan to let him go to the after party, give him a curfew, and wait up for him to get home.
I know I’m not the only parent who fears the afterparty.
I have a friend whose daughter is a freshman and wants to go to a homecoming afterparty where there will be mostly seniors. I completely understand my friend’s concern and probably would not have let my daughter go at that age.
When our kids are little, parenting decisions are important. But as they hit the teen years, it feels like every decision is so much bigger and consequential than the one before.
So if you have a teen who wants to go to a homecoming after party, how are you handling it? If you were me, would you let your son go?
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