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.