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Teens and alcohol?

Discussion in 'Family Life' started by DaisyJane, May 17, 2018.

  1. DaisyJane

    DaisyJane I probably should be working.

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    So here's the thing. My late high school teen is interested in having a small group of friends over to our home. He has asked about our tolerance for alcohol at the gathering. Full disclosure - we know he has been to parties with beer/spiked punch/coolers. He and his friends are underage, are drinking at times, but generally not to excess. As a rule these are good kids who are fairly open with their liberal parents. Our rule, to date, has been that we value honesty and safety above all. We have said that he is more likely to get in trouble for lying than for being honest and talking about strategies.

    For example a few months ago he told us he had been invited to a party, the parents would be out (we knew the family), and there would be beer or fruity coolers. Our deal was that he could go and we understood he might experiment with some beer or a cooler but a) we asked him not to drink to excess, b) to call if either he or his friends seem to be getting into trouble/too drunk and needed help, and c) under NO circumstances get in a car with ANYONE who had been at the party even if he thought they hadn't been drinking. We shared that we appreciated his honesty about the situation and he could go the party. We figured if we didn't allow it he might lie/avoid talking about it next time. He went, had a cooler, was honest to the best of our knowledge, and we picked him up after midnight.

    So he has asked to have a few friends over around the end of school and noted that they would likely bring some alcohol - usually fruity coolers. Our answer has been that while we aren't thrilled about the idea, we return to our policy of safety and honesty. It's gonna happen and we'd much rather keep the teens safe and have adults available to keep some boundaries on things. Our suggested boundaries have been a) a small group of close and trusted friends- no crazy, large parties b) no driving AT ALL - everyone stays over or is picked up by a parent, c) NO use of the pool or hot tub under any circumstances if alcohol is being consumed, d) we must be onsite to help if an adult is needed, and generally reinforce boundaries, though we will make ourselves scarce. My son feels that these are fair rules and is happy to live by them.


    This is the first of our children where we've had to deal with this. Specialson obviously doesn't drink, and our eldest didn't/couldn't drink until he was well into legal-age because of some possible medical/drug combinations. With our eldest we knew his friends were drinking underage and we talked a lot about safety and our comfort with being called if ANYONE needed us, but we didn't have to deal with him drinking. These days he and his friend (all early 20s) enjoy craft beer and will often enjoy one with the dads - which I think is cool.

    So what would you do with my youngest son's request?
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
  2. Mendalla

    Mendalla A Node in the Interdependent Web

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    I'd probably say a flat out "no" and be around to supervise to be honest, but the rules you lay out sound reasonable. Not really part of my experience, though. Mine didn't start drinking until he went to university (he's at U of Ottawa so could legally drink and buy booze in Quebec when he was 18, now is 19 so can on this side of the river as well) but after an initial bit of experimentation, seems to be settling down to an occasional beer.
     
  3. DaisyJane

    DaisyJane I probably should be working.

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    I don't disagree. Personally I would love to just say a flat-out NO. But I am aware that doing so will likely just drive things underground which is what I don't want. I would much rather keep the dialogue out on the open and honest. My feeling is that this is probably the best way to keep the teens safe and to reinforce some boundaries that acknowledge experimentation is inevitable but hopefully keeps things from getting out of control.

    I worry. I am aware that teens, even good teens, can be stupid and alcohol can make them more stupid. This is an attempt to mitigate the stupid.

    His birthday is such that he would be legal in Quebec fairly soon.
     
  4. Tabitha

    Tabitha journeying

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    My answer would be no. My offspring are now 22-28. Their underage drinking at home consisted of small glasses of wine on special occasions ie thanksgiving, easter, christmas. I offered the same to my hockey billets, if they desired.

    All 3 do drink some now as adults but reasonable amounts ie not stinking drunk.

    I'd be especially leery about having other underage drinkers at home. You have some legal liability for this.
    Are they driving home after? It's a sure way to lose their "N" as we call it here. The rule for new drivers (G1 in ON) I think is not alcohol at all.

    As for being legal in Quebec-that is not where the party is.
     
  5. Mendalla

    Mendalla A Node in the Interdependent Web

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    Yep. Actually, G1 and G2 are both 0 tolerance. And our provincial traffic act now has penalties for blowing .05 even for G drivers.
     
  6. DaisyJane

    DaisyJane I probably should be working.

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    That was one of my conditions - no driving under any circumstances.
     
  7. DaisyJane

    DaisyJane I probably should be working.

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    As for being legal in Quebec-that is not where the party is.

    I know. I was only trying to give a sense of his age.
     
  8. DaisyJane

    DaisyJane I probably should be working.

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    So my question.

    You would say no knowing that there is a good chance it would simply drive things under the radar? I don't think for a minute it will mean that the kids won't experiment with alcohol, only that they will do so in a less supervised and controlled environment. I would rather have the kids safe with access to responsible adults, than to have them get hammered at some empty house or field with few to no safeguards in place.

    And the deal is that a small group of trusted friends can have a cooler, not that he can have a all-out rager of a party.
     
  9. chansen

    chansen Pleasant Enough

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    I don't see the problem, other than possible liability if something happens after a teen leaves your house drunk.

    Parents should know which kids they could trust with this and which kids they could not. If it was Claire, absolutely. If it was Zach, quite possibly. If it was Carter, hell no.
     
    BetteTheRed and ChemGal like this.
  10. Mendalla

    Mendalla A Node in the Interdependent Web

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    Given that parameter, I'd say "yes" with your conditions.

    Question: How well do you know his friends? We knew Little M's core group pretty well so I didn't even worry about him being out overnight with them on prom weekend last year. Not exactly dry but hardly drunken party animals.
     
  11. revjohn

    revjohn Well-Known Member

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    There would be a very long talk about the possible consequences visited upon the host family should police ever become involved or, God forbid, some tragedy occurred.

    Then there would be a very firm "not in this house."

    And if the fear is that if they are off without adult supervision they could get into trouble that strikes me as a tacit admission that they do not have the maturity to handle alcohol.
     
  12. Lastpointe

    Lastpointe Well-Known Member

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    I am on the othe side
    When teens say they have a beer or a cooler I don’t believe them. I used that line too to my parents in the 70’s. It was more like six



    Both my kids drank underage. Occasionally I am aware to excess. It was a thing. Parties, parks.......

    We had this party issue twice with friends of my son. New Years at our farm

    The first time, we let it get out of hand, who knew that kids could somehow get a ride out into the country and we had way too many kids. They were all looking for a place to drink and ended up at our place. Too late we were out in the barn supervising

    Following year, still underage, we had a guest list of 35. We worked in the shop and checked each kid off as they went into the party. Turned back half a dozen who weren’t on list. Our barn has an apartment type room upstairs with dorm type rooms

    As the home owners you have a legal responsibility for people drinking in your property and likely for them driving away

    With kids, we confiscate keys are let them know when they arrive , they will be staying the night

    We have let them have parties, in my experience nonteen has one drink. It isn’t in their nature

    We let them know we are home, we will be out and participating in the party, meeting their friends. monitoring for those who seem too drunk

    We never give back the keys

    We insist on a group clean in the morning and that someone takes all the empties back to the beer store. It will not be me

    A thing to be concerned about it sexual assault. Same sex, opposite sex. If it’s going to happen, likely at a party it’s booze

    I think most teens experiment with alcohol. I sure did. I lied about it through my teeth. As did my kids I am sure. We had one issue in Toronto where our son was out with friends, got robbed, got lost on the subway, police involved........ that was a big eye opener for us and all our friends

    I am sure there are kids who don’t drink. I think they are a real minority

    And of course now, they all use pot too

    They can’t handle it, they make huge mistakes. But at least if you control the crowd and participate, ie sit around and visit with them, chat them up, drop in every half hour, you have some control
     
    Pinga, Carolla, Kimmio and 1 other person like this.
  13. Lastpointe

    Lastpointe Well-Known Member

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    And after reading everyone else’s reply I guess I am

    A. A bad parent

    B. Have bad kids

    But I think it is realistic

    When kids say thy have a sip or just one, they are lying
     
    BetteTheRed and Kimmio like this.
  14. Mendalla

    Mendalla A Node in the Interdependent Web

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    You're good. I lean that way mostly (see my first response), but get where DJ is going, too.
     
  15. Kimmio

    Kimmio Fun with app art

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    My friend's mom used to let her have parties when she was there, for similar reasons. We thought she was the coolest mom. Product of the 60s. My friend turned out to be ultra responsible and straight-laced. The rest of us (?)

    The other kids' parents may not think highly of your idea, though...just saying. And if other kids are sneaking out to your house and get caught they will end up taking their partying underground at some point anyhow and your son might end up going with them anyway. Tough call.

    My parents were strict with me and my step siblings. They pretended to be angry and surprised if we were caught with booze on our breath (me in grade 12). We'd be grounded. However, our much younger half brother - we were all long moved out and/ or away - had no drinking and driving well impressed upon him, always knew he could call for a ride, but as far as I know, never had a party with booze at my dad and step mom's place.
     
  16. Kimmio

    Kimmio Fun with app art

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    You don't have bad kids. Most kids try drinking in their teens. That's normal. And you are not a bad parent. Not everyone has a big property to have them stay the night on, with space to run around and be silly though. They're not in the same position to host. So a bunch of drunkish teens in a smaller house could be a real headache. Stuff could get broken, and carpet, rather than hay, could get puked on! ;) :)
     
  17. Kimmio

    Kimmio Fun with app art

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    I actually experimented at 15. My friend had older brothers in their early 20s, and one or both of them had moved back home at some point. They gave us booze. I was never explicitly caught until grade 12. I came home from sleeping over at my friend’s - must’ve had flat Baby Duck that her brother gave us (which made me sick) on my breath. It was my baby brother’s birthday and my step mom put me to work, straight away, blowing up balloons. :notworthy: I am pretty sure she knew I was hung-over. That was my unspoken punishment.
     
  18. crazyheart

    crazyheart tomorrow,tomorrow

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    If they don't ask you to have the party at your place, where are they having it?

    At some other kids house where there are no rules. Your kids trust you, DJ,

    that's why they asked.
     
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  19. Jae

    Jae Well-Known Member

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    If he was my son, I'd say no.
     
  20. chansen

    chansen Pleasant Enough

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    You'd miss the opportunity to chaperone and later complain that nobody talked to you.
     
  21. crazyheart

    crazyheart tomorrow,tomorrow

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    Did you never encounter this, @Jae ?
     

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