What to do about parties:
1. Clearly establish ground rules and expectations with your children before a party takes place or before they go out for any social event.
• Let your children know your expectations; they want and need guidelines, no matter what they may tell you.
• Responsible limits are a powerful and convincing expression of your love.
• Give your children options, and establish clear guidelines. Remind them that they are accountable for for their decisions and that there are definite consequences for their behavior.
2. When hosting a party:
• Always develop a guest list.
• Do not admit uninvited guests.
• Require a specific starting and ending time for any party (see CURFEW information below).
• Do not allow guests to leave the party then return (experience has shown that often their intent is to drink or use drugs while away).
• Plan your party with a variety of appropriate activities and plenty pf food and non-alcoholic drinks.
• Put backpacks/coats in a room that is unavailable during the party. Lock up medicine and alcohol as a precaution.
• Actively supervise the party. Walk through all the rooms and outside areas several times during the party.
• If the party is a large one, notify the authorities in advance.
• Be aware that the area nearby the party can attract problem crowds, such as in parked cars or neighbors' yards.
• Decide in advance how you will handle certain behaviors that could occur (smoking, too loud, making out, etc.).
• If any problems occur, do not hesitate to call the authorities.
• Let your neighbors know when you are hosting a party, and ask them to call you if they become aware of any problems.
3. Because parents have a legal responsibility to see that parties are conducted in an appropriate manner, a responsible adult must always be present. In Missouri, parents and other adults are subject to criminal charges and civil lawsuits which can result in the assessment of damages against any adult on whose property alcohol and drugs have been provided and used, even if the property owner/tenant is not home or were unaware of the party. Municipalities may also take action through codes such as Webster Groves' Liability for Failure to Supervise Minors (Sec. 42.081).
• Any person who sells or furnishes alcoholic beverages to someone under the age of 21 could be subject to a fine up to $1000 and/or imprisonment for up to one year. These penalties apply if a property owner allows minors to consume alcohol or other drugs on or in his/her property.
• It is unlawful to have an open container of alcohol in an automobile.
4. Be aware of, and alert to, signs that alcohol or other drugs have been used at a party. Do not allow anyone who may have been using alcohol or other drugs to leave the party unattended. Call their parents for safe transportation home or call 911 if necessary.
5. Make arrangements for reliable supervision of your house. Empty homes invite unauthorized and unsupervised parties. Make clear there will be consequences for unauthorized parties.
Talking with other parents:
1. When a party or other social gathering is planned, contact the parents of the host (do not allow your child to talk you out of this):
• Offer assistance, such as sending along food.
• Be sure that parents will be present and supervising the event.
• Discuss with other parents their expectations and curfew.
• Verify the starting and ending times.
2. Verify overnight arrangements, whether planned or spontaneous. The popular practice of sleepovers among older young people is often used for purposes of circumventing parental rules.
3. Work together with other parents whenever possible to support each other in setting and maintaining standards and expectations.
Talking with your child:
1. Communicate clearly your support, feelings, concerns, and clear-cut policies to your children and their friends. Discuss with them the possible situations which can arise: such as peer pressure to drink, dangerous drivers, and violence. Help your child think of ways to resist peer pressure.
• Let them know where you can be reached when you are not home.
• Agree on an acceptable curfew and upon the consequence if the curfew is broken.
• Assure your child and their friends it is always ok to call you for help in any emergency.
2. Interact with you children when they arrive home; be aware of signs and symptoms of possible alcohol or other drug use.
3. Take a clear stand on the use of alcohol and other drugs, and make sure your children and their friends fully understand you position.
Talking with school:
Hixson is available as a resource to help and assist you.
Please be aware of and reinforce the school's efforts related to alcohol and other drug abuse prevention.
Curfews set community boundaries for the supervision of children. According to the curfew ordinance of St. Louis County (Section 700, Paragraph 705.010), children under 17 may not be outside the company of their parents Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., and on Friday and Saturday from midnight to 6:00 a.m. We strongly encourage you, as parents, to abide by this law. We also encourage you to set curfews for your children.