Turning 16 is a major milestone in a girl's life, one that parents often celebrate with a party. However, when the girl's idea of a great party conflicts with what Mom and Dad have in mind, disagreements can escalate into tearful blow-ups and family dissension.

Some parents view their daughter's Sweet Sixteen birthday as a coming-of-age celebration that they expect she'll want to share with a group of her closest girlfriends. They may be surprised to learn that she sees the perfect Sweet Sixteen as an invite-everyone, urban-club-style bash.

Fortunately, parents can avoid the Sweet Sixteen bithday party planning minefield by setting a few ground rules up front, says Susan Bartell, a Port Washington, New York psychologist who specializes in teen girls and their behavior.

Here's a rundown of strategies to help minimize the most predictable conflicts, plus important subjects you'll want to cover in a sit-down talk with your daughter before her Big Day:

 

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INVOLVE HER IN THE PLANNING

Often, the party budget helps to determine the type of party, where it will be held, how many guests will be invited, the type of food, and level of entertainment.

Give your daughter the chance to participate in the decision-making. If there is a budget, let her know what it is. Encourage her to think about how she would like the money to be allocated.

If a Saturday night Sweet 16th party is the celebration of choice, make it clear that you will be there to supervise the event. Too often, kids think their parents will take care of all party arrangements and then disappear, says Bartell. "Let her know that you and other adults will be there," she counsels.