A few weeks ago, my son Tsoof had a birthday party. As a 13-year-old, a day party was not cool enough anymore, so he asked to have an evening party – a dancing party.
Gal and I thought it would be lovely to have an evening party. Where we came from, evening parties were part of life. I remember that from Grade 4(!), everyone who celebrated a birthday would invite the whole class to a dancing party on Friday evening. We would dance, play games, eat snacks, have cake and sing happy birthday songs.
With 30 kids in each class, we had 30 parties every year. Some kids were also allowed to have other parties besides their birthday. We all envied those cool kids. Everyone was invited to the party, the teacher would write the notice on the blackboard (we had blackboards then), everyone copied it into their homework diary and there was no need to RSVP – we just came and had a good time!
In high school, it was a bit different. Kids handed individual invitations only to their friends and their friends’ friends, but still had many kids at every party.
Based on this wonderful childhood experience, we were very happy for Tsoof to have his evening dancing party. Eden, our events management graduate, led the planning and suggested a night club theme, and the preparations started.
Tsoof handed invitation to about 30 teens, Gal bought a strobe light on eBay, Eden organized a fancy mocktail menu, Eden and I went shopping, the kids selected dance music and made a compilation disk and there was lots of excitement the week before the party.
Here are the things parents were concerned about:
- Will there be adult supervision?
- Will the kids be served with alcohol? I have to say that I did not know what a “mocktail” was at first, so I could understand this concern.
- Will the kids be exposed to anything parents would not want them to be exposed to?
- Will the kids be respectful to the hosts?
Naturally, when your kids do not go to evening parties often, you do not have the answers to these questions and you may feel uncomfortable. Eventually, some kids did not come because their parents were so uncomfortable they did not even call to find out. One of my clients said she wants to talk the hosting parents before her son goes to their house, but he thinks she is a pain, which explains why some parents may not call.
I wish they had asked, because teens love parties, they love dancing and they love being together and if we do not give them opportunities to experience fun in a safe place, we will end up worrying during their teen years every time they are out of our sight.
In the end, there were about 25 teens in our living room. Eden arranged the corner of the room like a bar, with plastic cocktail glasses and strange-looking drinks made of juices and cordials, with real strawberries and orange slices on top of the glass – it was so beautiful. Gal and Noff dressed up as bouncers, with black clothes, sunglasses and the mobile phone’s earpiece. The strobe light was flickering, the music was pumping and the kids danced, drank and played some nice games.
When it was time to go home, parents came to pick their kids up, but they did not want to leave. I think it was a great party to show them they can have fun and enjoyment without drinking or doing silly things – they were just wonderful!
The kids’ parents said we were brave to host a bunch of teens in our house and told us about their concerns. Most of them talked about McDonalds parties, skating or bowling parties, as long as they did not have to host at home.
We have three kids, who celebrate their birthdays every year of their life with many friends and always at home. We host friends in our house even when it is not their birthday. We have had many parties so far. We have had pool parties, morning parties, afternoon parties and evening parties and we have never ever had a problem with kids’ behavior. They have never done seriously stupid thing, they were respectful, they had fun, they laughed a lot and we have never regretted choosing to have a party, which makes me wonder:
Why do people think kids are trouble at parties if they never have parties at their own house?
If you have an answer to this, please write it in the comment box below.
Until next time, party on!