Family

So Your Teen Wants to Attend a Concert

For your peace of mind (and your kid's safety and well-being), here's how to navigate this rite of passage

When MTV starts taking the place of Spongebob in your household and Justin Bieber posters start filling the walls, it probably won’t be long before your teen starts asking to go to his or her first concert — without you. As the father of two teenagers, I know that navigating this time can be exciting and a little daunting as well.

During the first concert I took my daughter to — Bieber, of course! — I sat next to her and her friends. For the next concert we attended together, I bought seats a few rows away so I could keep an eye on her but still let her have her freedom. Slowly but surely, I started letting her go to concerts alone.

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By taking the time to figure out the logistics of this milestone event, you can help your teen have a memorable experience. Here are three questions to help you get started.

1.) Who’s playing? Choosing the right event is key, and it all has to do with the performers. Thrash metal or gangster rap, for instance, is likely to draw a more mature crowd — and with that comes more instances of misbehavior that you may not want your kids exposed to just yet (or at all). Alcohol use — or worse — is likely to be prevalent at more “adult” shows. It’s better to avoid that altogether by choosing a show that appeals to a younger audience.

Pop and Top-40 acts are generally a safe bet. Not sure? A quick Google search should give you a general idea of the type of crowd the performer in question tends to attract.

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2.) What is the venue? Another key point for parents is how far away the venue is from your home — or from your ability to pick up your kids when they need to leave. There’s no telling if your teen may get sick of the show after an hour and want to leave, so being just 15 to 20 minutes away is much more manageable than being an hour out.

Most major cities have concert venues right in the center, so dropping off your teen and then, say, going out to a nice dinner or trying out a chic bar is a great option for parents who want to stick a bit closer. Of course, some artists set up special “lounges” and waiting areas specifically for parents. For instance, parents who attended the One Direction show (myself included) had a dedicated waiting area while the kids had fun at the concert.

Related: How Can a Parent Trust a 15-Year-Old Daughter?

Even Vans’ Warped Tour had a “reverse day care” for parents to relax. Just make a plan before heading out to ensure you’re close by while still giving your teen enough space.

3.) What’s the game plan? It’s important to discuss some ground rules and expectations before the event, probably even before you purchase the tickets. I generally instruct my kids to check in with me by text every half hour or so. (go to page 2 to continue reading) [lz_pagination]

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