Let's be honest, your role as a parent is largely to embarrass your child. From the age of around 10 or 11 you will become the biggest source of cringe worthy embarrassment on the family, and this will pretty much continue to be the case up until they are into their twenties. You'll still be on duty occasionally, but the real fun begins again once you hit the sort of age where incontinence moves from being a fabulous Scrabble score and becomes a daily fact of life. But when it comes to your child's 18th birthday party you'll want to make a special effort.
Not to be embarrassing, but to do something special. The problem is that as a parent almost anything you think of doing special for their 18th birthday party will inevitably be embarrassing. So here are a few hints and tips on what to do, and what not to do, when it comes to throwing an 18th party for your child. First of all, remember that they are taking their first tentative steps into adulthood.
They will want to feel grown up, even though you may well still be picking their dirty laundry up from their bedroom floor, cooking their meals and paying for their car insurance. It’s important that you recognise this, and take a step back. Give them a little bit of space to explore their new found place in the world. Depending upon what your child is like, balloons and streamers may be out. Of course, some will love it, and others will hate it. If you’re not sure, then it may be best to grab a few decorations and have them at home, but be prepared to transfer them to a restaurant or other venue if you are all going out for a party somewhere. Obviously you won’t be booking a bouncy castle and a magician, but you might think about taking them out to a restaurant. If you want to do something extra special, then perhaps you could look at hiring a limousine for the occasion. Treat them like a movie star and you can't go too far wrong!
Something which you might try is to approach one or two of their friends, and ask them for advice and suggestions. If you know their friends, and believe that they can keep a secret, and help provide genuine, realistic (and legal) ideas for an 18th birthday party then this may well help you to stay on the right side of cringe worthy. What you may think about doing is to split the evening, with a fancy meal out to begin with, with family and a few friends, then afterwards they can be given time to head off to a club or pub with their friends to meet up with more friends for a second round of partying, while you toddle off for a quiet night. Cakes, candles, banners, streamers and balloons can all be great fun for an 18th birthday party, but it’s important to do it with a slight tongue in cheek. Celebrate the day, and make it special by all means, but don’t treat it in the same way as their 11th! Many parents have split the event into two, with one party for their friends, and another for family.
Despite being 18 many children will still secretly enjoy the whole party at home with cake and balloons, but they won’t want this being revealed to their friends. For this reason it’s probably best to make sure that everyone is agreed on whether photos can go on Facebook or not! Are you in the process of planning your child's 18th birthday party? Have you recently been through this experience? If so, please share any tips, warnings or hilarious stories with us by adding a comment below!