easy child, older friends, drinking. Does this worrying ever end?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by SuZir, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    easy child has had some major changes this fall. He started High School and changed school from our smallish, semi-rural, everyone knows everyone middle school to bigger High school in the centre of nearby big city. Most of his middle school friends continued in local High school or went to other schools. He has only one old class mate in same school with him. He does however have few new classmates he knew beforehand. Still, almost all class mates are new. He did also change a sport club, so team mates are also new (he did know many beforehand though.) He is busy so he has very limited time for old friends and it is likely he will have less and less in common with his old neighbourhood friends (different schools etc. tend to do that.) So it is challenging time socially for easy child.

    In his sport he is in middle ground between two junior teams and will likely play in both. Which one will be his main team will be seen. Other one is mainly for kids who are 16- or 17-year-olds, I think they have maybe few who are only 15. Other one is mainly for 18- and 19-year-olds and there are few over agers who are twenty, few under agers who are 17 and easy child is the youngest. Especially those 18 to 20-teams are known for hazing rookies, especially under agers. easy child's team luckily doesn't have as bad hazing tradition difficult child former team (the one which he was kicked out from) has, and easy child is much more adept to handle hazing than difficult child ever was, but I do worry some. Especially if he will end up spending most of his time with older kids team, the peer pressure will be high. There is also certain kind of 'cool jock' atmosphere around the sport and these older junior teams I'm not too fond with. Maybe one fourth of these kids end up pros or semi-pros for at least for some time, but they all tend to think they are very hot stuff (and unfortunately many girls tend to agree.) Some of the kids also begun to understand, that they will not be in that group that will make it (and it is dream for all of them) and there is always some jealousy going on when it comes to those who look like they may end up being in that one fourth (stars of the team and under agers.) That doesn't make very wholesome atmosphere.

    There are other worries with all these changes, but alcohol is a big one. Legal drinking age around here is 18. Most kids start much earlier (more than half of our 15-16-year-old kids drink monthly according the studies.) 'The cool kids' tend to drink more. Kids of our minority tend to drink more than majority kids. Kids in easy child's sport are known of drinking more than many others. Our easy child has been caught drinking few times. He has likely drank quite a few times more. Last night he had permission to be out till 11 p.m. husband picked him up then and could smell he had been drinking. He confessed he had drank two beers (12 ounces.) Double or triple that and it may be close to truth I think (he wasn't really drunk, but he is a big kid.) He had been in the party of an older team mate (19-year-old, lives on his own.) easy child is currently grounded and will stay so next two weeks and even after that his curfew will be earlier for some time in weekends.

    husband seems to think it is more about boys being boys, but I do worry about easy child hanging out with older boys. He is mature for his age (polar opposite to difficult child), but he is still only 16. And I really don't want him to get caught up on being so cool, he forgets his goals. When his season really starts, most of his weekends will be filled with games and tournaments and if he plans to be serious with his sport (as he says is his plan) all kind of drinking, staying up late etc. will be out of the question. But there probably will be kids in his team (which ever it will be), who are more serious about being cool and having fun than their sport and who will be able to sneak around coaches etc. I do worry easy child will get some pressure to join in. :sigh:

    I never thought that I would miss the times difficult child was in this position and was never invited and was so totally ostracised by his team mates (even before he started to steal from them)...
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2012
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    You have my understanding. Maybe...only maybe...somewhere in this world we share there are young jocks who adhere to the basic tenets of their families and are not tempted. I know that is not true in rural Florida. Truthfully I don't know which caused more worry. The girls (I do not mean the "sorry" girls) were almost driven to have sexual interaction with the "stars". Really nice girls from really nice families. The boys were vastly impressed by the alcohol intake of the "stars". Sadly in our area the next step was pot and the unsuccessful young men seemed to take pride in hooking up with the "stars".

    Yes, I realize that my paragraph reads inappropriately. I know for a fact that parents of "normal" boys would deny the truth in that paragraph. Your locale is structured differently than our small town sports structure for sure. on the other hand I sadly believe you have reason to worry and as a recognized outstanding caring grounded parent with decades of experience...I completely know that peer pressure can out flank parental stability and family support.

    Your two boys are cut from different cloth. Knowing you as a CD family member I am not sure which son of yours is more vulnerable. I have my fingers crossed for both of them and wish you the best of parenting results. Hugs DDD
  3. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Well - I think we've discussed this hear before and I was NOT (repeat NOT) in the cool parent category........because ......

    I denied that Dude was out drinking for a long time. My DF scoffed and THAT I think made me even more mad than if I had caught Dude drinking. Which by the way I never did. I will probably never get over things regarding drugs and alcohol because of the abuse we suffered from the fall out due to the abuse of the drugs and booze. So imagine my HORROR when Df suggested that the boys "may be drinking" - I flipped.

    HE however being an alcoholic was Really REALLY the voice of reason. HE took our son outside and had a man to man talk about drinking, responsible drinking, probably mixed in there - WHAT NVER EVER TELL YOUR MOTHER." and then they came back in and Dude looked me right in the eye and said "Mom, I'm 17......and a lot of my friends party. I don't smoke, but I have tried drinking, and I'm not telling you this to make you angry...but now and then if it's around? I may drink a beer or have a shot." (I think at this point my head was going to explode and I was thinking GOSH STAR you are so cool for sitting here being all one with yourself and your candor of calm) He continued "HOWEVER......I made Dad a promise that I will make you and since I'm trying to be mature here and not lie (for the first time in my life) and he actually said that....I promise you that if I'm ever too drunk or realy drunk I will call Dad - and he said NO MATTER WHAT TIME IT IS.......he will come get me, and our deal is - NO WORDS......just comes, gets me, and I come home, go to bed....and that's it. Then we'll talk about it the next day, okay? Can you live with that?"

    ANd as I'm looking over at DF - he's nodding slowing......and I exhaled because I think while he was talking I forgot to breathe........and I said "I do." And he freaked out and said "REALLY" and looked at DF and said "WOW you were right" and got up and left.

    DF said - if he hides it? He may take chances in a car, with someone too drunk to drive......if he wants to come home....and thinks there will be a huge battle? He won't - because that's how he was with his folks and he started drinking in fourth grade.....so.....he knew what he was talking about. Get them home alive......is the most important thing. SOoooo. That was our agreement.......and for the times that he called and told DF he was too drunk (I think three) They talked and agreed he stay put. And he's alive......most important thing. BECAUSE DF also told me if Dude is going to be an alcoholic or dry out like him - it's got to be on his own volition. Whether he's 17 or 50....and as it works out - so far so good and he's 22 - (well yeah he's in jail ------sheesh picky picky picky -------but you get my drift - he's not drunk) lol. (ahhhhhhh the places you find your accolades with your difficult child children......(snort)

    Hugs & Love
    Youre doing great Mom!!!!
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

  5. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Drinking is something we have been talking with our kids long time. As I said, teenage drinking is very common around here. I noticed in M.A.D.D link that in USA 20 % of 10 graders and 33 % of 12 graders had been drinking during the last 30 days. Here percentage are 50 % and 80 %. Less than 20 % of 16-year-olds and less than 10 % of 18-year-olds are sober. To be honest I don't think it would be too realistic to think my kids would be the sober ones. Especially when those are numbers for all kids in the country, in the minority we are part of, kids tend to drink more. Then again, pot use is much less common around here. Only 15 % of High School age kids have ever tried pot and less than 3 % uses monthly or more often. With easy child team mates (especially older ones) anti-doping tests are also a big threat. Everyone knows that pot shows long time and getting caught in anti-doping test is automatic 2 year ban from all sports and lots of public shame. That is not something they risk even though younger ones (like easy child) are not that likely end up tested. easy child has not yet been tested once and in the older junior team probably only around the half of the kids will be tested even once. Testing starts to get common only when they play or train with men's team, for example difficult child was randomly tested 4 or 5 times during last season. Still the scare factor is there. So I'm not too worried about pot use with easy child.

    Our worst fear with drinking is of course that something really bad would happen. I'm not that worried about drunk driving, it's just much less common around here. If I understood correctly around 3 % drivers in any given time are estimated to be under influence in US. Here the percentage is 0,2 %. Our limit is also lower, driving after drinking is much less socially acceptable, no one for example goes to bar with car, but use a cab instead. It is also the only crime our judicial system is harsher than USA's. It is also very difficult to drive drunk especially in risky times (weekend nights) and not get caught. There are lots of random breath tests done especially in risky times, but also in very random times and places. Every time police patrol doesn't have anything pressing to do, they put up a random breath test checkpoint. For example I have been tested at least 10 times during last half a year even though I have driven very little and almost none in risky times. And of course if any car (that is not a cab) leaves from in front of the bar or have a driver that looks even remotely suspicious someone is likely to call police to check. Our kids know this and drunk driving is not something I would be too worried with my kids. Especially when easy child isn't even allowed to drive in two more years.

    The biggest fear with drinking is excess drinking and what can come with it. Because of our harsh climate, the worst fear is passing out outdoors and freezing to death. That can happen over very short time and unfortunately every winter some teens die because they are too scared to go home because they are drunk or because they have drank too much and their friends are too afraid to call help and just leave them there. That is why also our emphasise in talking with our kids about drinking has always been about how they can always come home or call us to get them. That if they have drunk too much, we will not be too angry. There may be some consequences, but we have promised not to go overboard. And we like to pick up easy child in weekend evenings rather than let him find his own way home.

    Now he got himself grounded, but to be honest, that doesn't matter much to him. For example today he left for morning practise 6.30 a.m, after that he went to school, from school to evening practise and will be home around 7 p.m and after eating and doing his homework he will watch tv and go to bed. If not grounded he would likely do exactly the same. Next weekend he will have two games in different cities, so he wouldn't be going anywhere else even if not grounded. Grounding probably doesn't change his plans for this two weeks much at all. Mostly he is grounded just in principle to show we are not happy with him drinking. We don't really believe we could make him not to drink, whatever we do, we just hope that he would drink less at time so he could avoid getting caught.

    To be honest, if he had had those beers with some of his old friends from this neighbourhood, who are same age as he is etc. I wouldn't be worried at all. I would scold him, he would be grounded but I wouldn't worry much but just think that it is, what kids do. What worries me, are the older kids he spends time with. Getting caught up with being so cool, he forgets to do the work both for school and sport. These 'cool jocks' tend to attract people they would better not hang out with and some do slip to lifestyles that are not productive. My easy child, while really a good kid, is a people pleaser to some degree. And with older team mates this will probably show. I just hope he friends with the driven kids in the team, not the cool ones. While also difficult child is vulnerable to stupid stunts to please others and fit in, those are very sporadic (and never work out like he hopes) and in the end he is just too driven to really care what others think. If he has to choose between being cool and his sport, he will constantly choose the sport. With easy child I worry that being cool and popular may be too important and even with all the smarts and social skills he has, that does make him vulnerable.
  6. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I had a good talk with easy child about choosing friends, peer pressure and staying levelheaded. He seems to somewhat understand our worries though he of course thinks he would never do anything too stupid or go overboard on trying to be a cool kid. I tried to encourage him to find new friends from school and spend time with class mates and also stay in touch with old friends from neighbourhood. Talked with him how 'small' his world could become if he only socialises with people from his sport. That especially if he becomes pro athlete some day, it will be very important to have that balance that only old friends who are not related to the sport can give him.

    husband also talked with him about how much getting caught by trying to be cool could cost him sport wise. There are few recent, very good warning cases in his sport with kids easy child even knows somewhat personally. There was one very 'good' example in adult level of the organization easy child was part of last year. And that case easy child saw from close and even knows a kid (who is a friend of difficult child's). Very talented, very hyped kid, bought his own hype for the short time and crashed. And got really harsh treatment from his coaches and from media for it. Seems to have turned it around again, which of course is an awesome thing, he is a good kid. Also a very good lesson for easy child to see if he would just adhere it.

    I also got an offer of help from more unexpected direction. I joked with difficult child's positional coach (who called about difficult child's school worries) about having a lousy parenting day and please not to tell me more bad news about difficult child. easy child will be in difficult child's city to play later this month and difficult child's coach offered to ask one of difficult child's team mates to have a talk with easy child. He was 15 years ago in the position there he was considered an exceptional talent and having a very bright future. Unfortunately he was more concerned on being a coolest kid in the town and less about doing his work. He ended up having a much more modest career than was expected. Apparently he is a smart guy who accepts his own errors and how his career end up to be and is cool with it now. But it has been harsh road for him and has taught him a lot. Part of the reason they did hire him to the team (he is nowadays a marginal player, who could easily be replaced by younger and cheaper player) was to mentor their many youngish players and maybe continue as a coach in the organization after his career. I do hope he has time to have a talk with easy child. It could be an eye-opener for him.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't like alcohol for minors (and for some adults...teehee). Only one of my kids drank early and she ended up taking drugs too. I think it is worthwhile to drive home the point that alcohol is a drug. You certainly can't stop your kids from being around alcohol, especially if it is culturally acceptable for teens to drink, but you can usually get a level-headed teen to listen to you, even when he/she is pretending NOT to listen. If you have any alcohol abuse on your or husband's family tree...that is a good place to start. I have told my youngest two adopted kids that they have substance abuse in their genetic families and would be more likely to become alcohol dependent than kids who do not. My Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son has no interest in drinking. Just the idea scares him. Jumper is a normal typical teen, but she "gets it" and really has no interest in partying in a wild way or drinking...yet. In her school, the jocks (and she is one) tend to party and drink less than the other kids who are more floating out there without much going on. You can be thrown off the team if you break the law and Jumper's life is her sports, which she wants to continue when she goes to college. I guess we're lucky that way.

    All you can do is try the common sense approach and cross your fingers :) My two adult children do drink socially.
  8. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I'm afraid it is unlikely to get easy child to totally abstain totally from drinking. Whatever we say, I think that peer pressure is stronger. When everyone you know is doing something, you often have to have a darn good reason not to do the same. And parents talking about dangers of an activity just doesn't cut it. Especially when he is 16. Understanding concepts of danger, longterm consequences etc. are just not something kids, especially boys, his age tend to be good at. It is very possible that easy child doesn't have even one friend who wouldn't drink. It is just that common around here.

    We have surprisingly few substance abusers in our immediate family. While my mother smoked pot and dabbled with other drugs through out her life, she was not an addict. My dad has had periods when his substance abuse has been out of control, but even he isn't exactly alcoholic according the standards. My granddad used a lot of amphetamine during the war, but had an easy time to quit after that. And in that time he was expected to use it. And while my family tree is full of difficult child's and mental illness, substance abuse has always been more a secondary issue to them. My husband's family in the other hand is surprisingly light in substance abuse in any kind. So we don't really have good 'warning examples' in our family. Our difficult child of course has addiction issue, but even he doesn't seem too drawn to substance abuse, but had an easy time to getting rid of nasty snus habit and gets so easily sick from alcohol that is not at all likely to develop drinking problem. And difficult child's gambling addiction can not be used as a warning for easy child because he is so sick of being compared to difficult child and his problems.

    easy child's teams have rules about alcohol (not drinking before games or during tournaments etc.) but of course especially in the older boys team most of the kids are legal age to drink. They are not going to forbid them from drinking on their free nights. And even if they did, kids wouldn't obey. And because these 'parent teams' have vested interest in these kids in their junior teams already in this level, they don't like to kick them out (and give them to other teams for free) if they absolutely don't have to. Being kicked out is very uncommon. What I know about, in the teams in the highest league of the oldest juniors only two players have been kicked out of their teams for behavioural reasons in the last three or four years. Other was my difficult child other was a kid who got a DUI (same kid had problems with police earlier when he assaulted someone, but that didn't get him kicked out, but DUIs are taken very seriously here as I said.) It's nice to hear that in your area jocks drink less. Hope it would be like that also here, but it isn't so. Even studies show that kids in team sports drink even more than average kids around here. And what I have heard it also changes for your kids when they go to college? At least few local kids I know, who went to US colleges in athletic scholarships told that drinking (especially among team athletes) was even much worse than anything they did back at home. Of course that could depend from sport, those kids are mainly basketball, hockey or volleyball players.

    And yeah, crossing my fingers is probably the only thing I really can do.
  9. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911


    I just recently learned..about DUde and his 2 "I have a headace" episodes....I knew about one heavy drinking incident......and he does not drive. or daughter not at the time. He drag Goldschlager to see if the gold would come out in the "end" and drank so much he got alcohol poisoning. Sad to admit it.....but at one brief period in my life - when dude was 10 and went off to live in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC)? I drank myself into poisoning, Three days I laid on the bathroom floor....I( literally) thought I was dying and due to depression didn't care if i did or not...(skewed thinking/)

    Due called and told us he couldn't stop throwing up.....described it as a migraine/////never asked to talk to his dad......just said WHAT DO I DO???? We called hum back and said - GET TO THE ER NOW......he never told us for months he had drank himself to alcohol poisoning....They kept him there three days. THAT was bad. Later .....maybe 2 months later he drank I don't know how much but he's not a drinker....(sounds redundant to say that but better put he's not an alcoholic) .....When he did not recover from the night before he got up and took himself to the hospital (room mate drove) and that time he called, and that time he admitted he was not going to drink again when he was d epressed......and the only thing I kept thinking in all of it was......I had been honest about myself getting out of control, depressed over him and drinking - so he realized this time - it's not worth it. . DF said I did the right thing -----I've never admitted I was anything less than ....a great roll model and I'm not proud of that night - I never drank as a kid, or a married woman...but when they took my son to Residential Treatment Center (RTC)? I lost it.....progressively....and alcohol did not help. Since that night? Almost 13 years ago? I haven't had anything to drink. Trust me - it took 10 years not to have my mouth water up thinking about tequila....or even saying it. (not kidding)

    I don't know what statistics show but I do know that having a straight up - "girlfriend" talk with my son on the phone that day - may have saved his life and his future. YOU CAN NOT prevent any of this from happening...and if they are going to be alcoholics? I believe that is probably genetic. The fact that I never drank, don't enjoy it -----but his Fathers side of the family is rife with alcoholism? Worried me to no end....but worrying never fixed anything....

    Present the facts to him.....give him options......and try and find some peace.

    Hugs & Love
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Suz, I just meant in our school. College is a whole different story. Lots of drinking there. My daughter is only sixteen and has no interest in drinking so far, nor do her friends. But of course there are kids who drink and drink a lot. So far, daughter just avoids them, and they are not on her teams. She also is not a party person. Although she is very social, she doesn't go to your typical teenage parties nor does anyone in her group.