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TEen parties: discuss crashers and rules ahead of time

TEen-age parties can be a success, provided you follow a few simple rules at planning time. Limit the party size to whatever number is manageable in your house. Talk it over with you child and, give or take a few kids, stick to that size.

Discuss the problem of party crashers with your teen before party time. The uninvited will not feel responsible for your home or possessions. And don't be afraid to ask crashers to leave. If your child is a young teen, he may need your assistance to preserve his dignity.

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If necessary, have the courage to close a party that is out of hand. When party crashers slid through yhr shadows and joined an outdoor party, bringing firecrackers and liquor, I once sent the whole party home. By the next day my son and his friends were grateful. But stick to your guns, even if everybody is angry. It's your house and your prerogative to close a party.

Of course, you can't do any of these things if you are away on party night. Stay home if you know that a party is planned, and, if a party sneaks in while you are out, curtail all privileges for your child.

You may spend the evening with cotton in your ears, wishing the next generation wasn't ambushing your castle, but parental presence sets unmistakable limits onn behavior. And if the party is getting rowdy on soft-drink punch, consider the possibility that there may be beer stashed in the bushes.

Being more means that you care, and your child knows this, even if he tells you that nobody, but nobody's, parents stay home.

Emphasize and re-emphasize that your child and his friends are responsible for the condition of the house at the end of the party -- particularly cleaning up. Once you give him this responsibility, trust him to meet it. Don't snoop around like a mother I know, vacuuming chips and pretzels and making everybody uncomfortable.

Once you and your child have decided on the size of the party, check out the methods of transportation to and from your house. I live with one teen-ager who will promise anything to get the right girls to come. Once -- just once -- he promised me, as the 11 o'clock chauffeur, to 18. My car holds 8 with the tailpipe dragging.

Introduce yourself to your child's guests if you are both in the kitchen at the same time. It's OK to be his parent.

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There are always a few surprises at a party. That's where I learned that my son had changed his name.

"Where's Mike?" asked a pretty blonde.

"I don't know Mike. What's his last name?"

"He's your son," she answered.

Your child's party, and the memories that it evokes, can be fun.

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