How to Survive: Your Teen Going Out

Prepare your teen and stay sane in the process

by Nicole Chia | Wed, May 24, 2017

You've dreaded this day for a while – the day when your teen asks if they can go out on the town for the first time with friends. Okay, let’s be honest, they didn’t so much ask you as you stumbled upon multiple texts revealing what a great time they’re going to have when going out. But either way, it’s time to deal with the situation and to see if all the years of nagging have paid off. Here is how to survive your teen going out:

Lay down the ground rules early on 

Include and agree upon a curfew (before 7pm obviously), rules on alcohol consumption (mocktails only), a list of who will be there (no stranger danger), and the address where they will go (in English and Chinese). You will likely face a lot of resistance on all of these points, but don’t back down! Prepare to haggle as hard as you would in any fake market and agree to a half-way point that will likely include curfew at 10pm, confirmation of at least one responsible accompanying friend, and the address in Chinese so that at least your driver knows where your child is going.

Prepare your teenager-spying outfit.

This can consist of a long trench coat, fedora hat, and dark sunglasses – because everyone loves the classic private investigator look. Pop that coat collar and set yourself up in a booth just within earshot of your teen. If you feel this look is too obvious, you can try to blend in by wearing tight jeans and a crop-top. However if you’re the dad, maybe opt for something a little less mid-drift bearing. If your teen happens to notice you, feign ignorance and say something like “Oh, this is where you came tonight? Imagine that! I’m just meeting my friends here any moment now...” Then make your way to the bathroom and duck behind a plant at the last minute to resume spying.

Make sure your teen knows about basic going-out etiquette.

Encourage having fun while maintaining some sense of decorum. Let them know the dos and don’ts such as: do watch your drink closely and never leave it unattended but don’t dance on the table like Paris Hilton (take an additional 15 minutes to explain to them who Paris Hilton is). do take photos with your friends having a good time but don’t take photos you wouldn’t want Grandma to see on social media.

Most parents will have to face their teens going out socially. The best thing that you can do is keep communication open and make sure your teen has all the ammunition they need to avoid peer pressure and make good choices while having fun. And when you’re worried, there is always the trench coat. Because nothing says freedom to your teen like having you skulk just a few meters away looking like Dick Tracy.