As a teenager, you want to be considered popular or cool, and the fact is, some of your fellow teenagers define those terms as being fun and exciting at a party. Many people feel like it is important to fit in with others and put themselves in these situations, but remember, if you aren’t comfortable with the idea of taking the risk, there’s absolutely no need for you to do so. You can still have a great time by staying in, reading a good book, or watching a favorite movie.
If you do choose to party while underage, understand that many parties offer some negative consequences, such as alcohol or drug overdose, unwanted unprotected sex, sexual assault, drunk driving, trouble with the law, fighting, and personal injury. Parties don’t always turn sour, of course, but when they do, things go downhill very quickly. Understand that there are risks and that unlike in the movies, parties get broken up by the cops all the time, and the consequences for underage teens are quite severe. If you do decide to party as a teen, make sure to follow the tips below.
Make smart decisions
Your ability to make smart decisions can often disappear at a party, but it is vital to keep your head clear and use common sense. Always remember that if you’re uncomfortable with the idea, you do not have to drink alcohol or try drugs in order to have fun, even if everyone else is doing it. In fact, being among the few sober people at a party can actually be extremely entertaining as you watch the drunken antics around you. The following tips should help you party more safely should you choose to do so:
- If you are drinking, drink in moderation, especially if you don’t know everyone at the party or the party is large or unruly (making it more likely to get broken up by the police).
- Try not to continually top your drink off, as this could cause you to lose track of your alcohol consumption.
- Be sure to consume food before, during, and after you drink, as a full stomach will slow the absorption rate of alcohol (making it less likely that you’ll get sick).
- Keep friends that you trust close by, and be sure to keep a close eye on them as well.
- Bring condoms with you, just in case, and do not forget to use them if the opportunity arises.
- Never, ever get in the car with a driver who has been drinking. By doing so, you put your life and the lives of others in grave danger.
Plan before you go
Before you go anywhere, know as many details about the party as possible. These details include where it is, who will be there, the safety of the location, and any costs you may encounter. Decide on a drink limit, and stick to it. By avoiding drinking games and excessive shots, you will not get as intoxicated as quickly. Even if you do set a drink limit, have a “just in case” plan to get home after the party, whether that plan involves money for taxi home or a responsible, reliable designated driver.
Trust the people you are going to the party with, and know that they will not leave you in an unsafe environment or pressure you to do anything you do not want to.
Finally, know the rules of the community and whether anyone in the neighborhood would be inclined to report a loud party to the police. If you’re 18-20 years old, an arrest will go on your record permanently and could prevent you from getting a job or getting into your school of choice. If you’re under 18, getting arrested for drinking will go on your juvenile record. Although it’s true that this record is sealed once you turn 18, don’t misinterpret the situation: There are still some heavy consequences for kids under 18 who get caught at a party. For example, in many states, if you’re caught drinking while you’re under 18, your license is automatically revoked for a period of 3-12 months. What’s more, there are often heavy fines imposed (upwards of $1000 in some states), and your parents are automatically notified.
Avoid bad situations
If you end up in a bad situation, exit immediately. Use common sense, and do not be afraid of being judged by others. The old saying “Better safe than sorry” certainly applies when you’re partying underage. If you need to tell an adult authority of a problem, do it immediately- no matter the consequences. If you suspect that a classmate is overdosing, for example, you absolutely must call for help. Yes, the other people at the party could get in trouble, but if you don’t take action, your friend could die.
Always leave for somewhere safe if you have any inkling of fear or if you doubt your safety. A party can start out wonderful and then take a turn downhill; don’t be afraid to leave when things start getting sketchy. For example, if a group of certain individuals shows up unexpectedly at the party and they make you uncomfortable, it’s okay to leave. In order to be able to handle yourself in unexpected situations, though, it is important to not lose control of yourself. Stay in public areas with others around you.
Finally, understand that leaving the party with a person you just met can have a number of negative consequences. If you are interested in the person, ask for a phone number, and contact them after the party. Countless teens have had unwanted sex with someone they met at a party simply because they were drunk, so if you avoid going home with someone you just met while intoxicated, you’ll be able to figure out later on whether they’re someone you actually want to have a relationship with.
Parties as a teenager can be new and exciting experiences. In order to have a positive experience if you choose to party, be sure to follow the above tips and take the necessary precautions.