By December 27, 2010 Read More →

Teens And Alcohol

Right now, I am in in very frightening position of having three teenagers. My son is 19, driving on his own , going to college and has a job. My daughter is 16 and driving under a permit, and my youngest is 13.

Since they were little, I have always talked to them about drugs and alcohol. My position was not “if you drink” but “when you drink.” I am not naive. I was a teenager once and I know they will. I may not want to think about it, but the facts are the facts.

I was reading an article on NPR about a study of parenting styles and drinking. I think it hits the nail right on the head and if it is to work, when there are co-parenting situations, it is integral that both parents need to be on the same page. I cannot imagine the conflict a child would face, looking down the barrel of peer pressure and then couple it with happy go lucky dad who is an enabler and drinking all the time and the overprotective mom who cringes at the mere thought that her children are no longer 100% dependent on her for their survival.

Some points from the article:

  • The teens who were being raised by so-called indulgent parents who tend to give their children lots of praise and warmth — but offer little in the way of consequences or monitoring of bad behavior — were among the biggest abusers of alcohol. They were about three times more likely to participate in heavy drinking.
  • The same was true for kids whose parents were so strict that no decision was left to the teenager’s own judgment. Kids in that environment tend not to internalize the values and understand why they shouldn’t drink. They were more than twice as likely to binge drink.

This really highlights the need to strike a balance in the discipline of your kids. Be very aware, yet give them a little room to make the mistakes that we all make. Those mistakes are indeed what makes us into adults.

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3 Comments on "Teens And Alcohol"

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  1. Kim says:

    I have a 24 hour safe ride home signed agreement with my son. Basically we have said that if he drinks or his ride home drinks:
    1) He calls home from anywhere at anytime in any situation
    2) I pick him up anywhere at anytime in any situation
    3) We make sure he is okay, and go to bed
    4) There is no discussion for 24 hours from the time he called me to pick him up
    5) He will still be punished but only after he is home safe and we are able to talk calmly and I can give an appropriate punishment, not one screamed out in fear and anger.

    Kids are going to drink. He knows how I feel about it, he knows all the reasons it is wrong and unsafe. But at some point it is going to happen. I would rather have him know that I value his safety more than anything so that he makes that call. Being righteous and unbending is not worth my son’s life.

    My experience is not different than others I am sure, who have lost a friend to drunk driving. I remember my friends parents saying “never drink or else, don’t hang out with kids who are drinking, don’t even think about drinking, don’t ever come home to my house with alcohol on your breath”. So when she did drink, and was afraid to call,she drove and she crashed and she died. Her parents kept saying “Why didn’t she call, didn’t she know she could call”.

    So my son will always know I don’t approve of underage drinking and he will have consequences, we have been very open and honest about it. But he will also know that he ALWAYS can call, will ALWAYS have a ride. I hope he never needs to make the call but if he does, I will thank every star in the sky that he will home in bed safely that night, pick him up, hug him fiercely, and the rest will be dealt with in 24 hours.

  2. John says:

    I have expressed that sentiment to my kids for a LONG time, yet I do not have a signed agreement. Maybe that is something to consider.

    I had a discussion with a friend that relates to this topic and will be positing shortly.

    John