Dear Dr. Bill,
Our kids are 15 and 16, and recently we have been fighting over the issue of going to parties. Their friends from school area always inviting them to attend, but we’ve only let them go twice. And the last time we picked them up, the dancing we saw going on was disgusting. We’ve tried to teach our kids godly values and want them to live moral lives. Am I overreacting by not letting them go to teen parties?
You are right to be concerned about the type of parties you let your children attend. Unfortunately, today many parents of teens allow their kids to hold unsupervised parties in their homes. Depending on the values of those kids, there can often be drugs and alcohol at these parties, as well as teens involved in sexual activity.
As long as your kids live under your roof, you have the authority to make decisions about what is good for them and what isn’t. But it’s critical that you exercise your authority in the context of a loving relationship.
Author Josh McDowell points this out when he says “Rules without relationship leads to rebellion.” Your kids need to know that you love them, accept them, and their biggest cheerleader. With a 15 and 16 year old, it’s important to explain the REASONS for the rules they are expected to follow.
Instead of simply saying “you can’t go to those parties because there is disgusting dancing going on,” try saying something like this: “Honey, you know how much I love you and want the best for you. I don’t want anything bad to happen to you, or for you to make bad decisions that will affect you for the rest of your life. That’s why I’m not letting you attend those parties. How about if we go to a fun movie that night instead?”
If you explain the reasons for your rules, you may find that your kids respond more favorably, even though they may still complain that you are being unfair.
Thanks for writing, Bobbi. I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.