How do you or­gan­ise a party for your 18-year-old any­way?

South Wales Echo - - YOURS -

AS A par­ent of teenagers you are ex­pected to be an ex­pert on ev­ery­thing while at the same time be­ing con­sid­ered the stu­pid­est per­son in the house.

On some mat­ters you are the be­lieved to be the Or­a­cle. On oth­ers your knowl­edge barely scrapes the bot­tom of the sea floor.

When­ever a dead­line looms you are ex­pected to pro­vide in­stant an­swers to a con­stant stream of queries, some mys­ti­fy­ing, oth­ers down­right ir­ri­tat­ing.

This morn­ing’s ques­tions ranged from “Where are my foot­ball boots?” (prob­a­bly ly­ing wet where you left them un­der the stairs which is why the en­tire house smells of rot­ting body parts) to “who wrote Utopia?” (not sure, but wish I was there. Hang on, it was Thomas More).

No teenager will ever ask you how any item of tech­nol­ogy works, although they may ask you to pay or find a charger for it.

They won’t want to know what time they need to be home on a Satur­day night, but they will ask whether they can bor­row a ten­ner (no), where their keys are (where you left them) or if they can bor­row yours (no again).

And although you are clearly too dim to un­der­stand how the world works your savvy is ex­pected to ex­tend to know­ing how to lo­cate, within a nanosec­ond, a vi­tal item of cloth­ing lost in the messy broth of the laun­dry sys­tem they de­vised one af­ter­noon when you told them they had to wash their own clothes from now on.

Some teenagers will even imag­ine you know the an­swers to such tricky teasers as “Who ate the last choco­late bis­cuit?” Or “Do we own a spare phone charger?”

No house in­hab­ited by any­one aged 13 to 19 has a spare sup­ply of ei­ther item un­less the adults or younger res­i­dents hide them un­der lock and key.

So now, after years of hav­ing ques­tions volleyed at me – many of which I can­not or am un­will­ing to an­swer – I have a few of my own.

Apart from the usual mun­dane posers such as – why don’t you ever put the bins out? How can you see your bed un­der all this rub­ble and how much money did you say that T-shirt cost?, I have a few more press­ing in­quiries.

The mid­dle teenager wants to hold her 18th birth­day party in the house.

When I ask why, when she could hold it in the large rugby club down the road which is used to peo­ple drink­ing in­dus­trial quan­ti­ties of al­co­hol in a sea of mud and singing, she in­di­cates this would pre­vent younger friends from join­ing the toast with any­thing stronger than le­mon­ade. Ap­par­ently this is bad form, but I am too stupid to un­der­stand the cur­rent eti­quette on 18th birth­day cel­e­bra­tions.

Then there is the tricky is­sue of “plus ones”. When I ask how this works it seems that you in­vite 25 peo­ple and can ex­pect 50 be­cause ev­ery­one will bring a “plus one”. On the other hand, if the host­ess doesn’t ap­prove the “plus one” she can, ap­par­ently bar them.

When I sug­gest this could lead to so­cially awk­ward sit­u­a­tions on the doorstep my wor­ries are brushed aside.

No teenager would dream of ap­pear­ing at a party with­out dis­cussing it ad nau­seam on mul­ti­ple so­cial me­dia plat­forms.

The an­cient tra­di­tion of gate crash­ing ap­pears to have van­ished then, I sug­gest hope­fully.

But no, it seems I am sim­ply too thick to com­pre­hend the com­plex­i­ties and so­phis­ti­cated strands of party in­vi­ta­tions.

There may, it seems, be “plus ones” who are ad­mit­ted en­trance, “plus ones” who are turned away and gate crash­ers who may, or may not, be al­lowed in, de­pend­ing on gen­eral crowd con­trol is­sues at any given time. “The rugby club is a lovely venue,” I ven­ture again. Even the 19-year-old thinks a home 18th party is a bad idea (does she know some­thing I don’t?) and has in­di­cated she may not be able to get home from uni­ver­sity to join the throng, although of course she’d love to and will join us all via FaceTime. On the other hand the 15-year-old thinks it is a su­per idea and wants to know whether he is al­lowed to in­vite some friends and drink beer (yet another ques­tion to look up the cor­rect an­swer to in the par­ent­ing man­u­als). To my mind there are only four ques­tions – none of which have so far re­ceived an ac­cept­able an­swer.

They are: How many peo­ple have you in­vited? What time is ev­ery­one leav­ing? Who is clear­ing up at the end and how much is this all cost­ing any­way?

There is also the mat­ter of whether I, her fa­ther and the cat should lie low in a room up­stairs dur­ing the fun or leave the coun­try un­til ev­ery­one has gone home.

I dig out my old Sheila Kitzinger man­u­als.

She was a great help on how to get ba­bies to sleep (cud­dle and love them, as I re­call), but what I want to know now is how I can get some sleep my­self now those ba­bies are young adults plan­ning par­ties?

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