Teen drinking?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Nancy, Oct 26, 2007.

  1. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    How do you handle drinking with your teens and their friends? Is it as prevalent in your area as it seems to be in mine? Do your teens drink when they go to parties?

    It seems like so many of the kids in my difficult child's high school drink on the weekend at parties. This happened when my easy child was in the high school too but because she was never interested in those kids it wasn't an issue.

    There are those kids who drink and use drugs, usually at bonfires on the weekend. These are the kids living on the edge, the ones my difficult child hung with in freshmen year, the kids who don't have a lot going for them, and will probably be in trouble all their pives or at least live on the edge.

    Then there are those who appear to come from good homes, get good grades, have future goals, don't use drugs. They drink in basements of nice houses presumeably with the parents upstairs. The kids usually all sleepover I assume so they won't be driving while drinking.

    Do your teens go to these parties and do you know if they drink? How do you handle it. I'm not here to judge, I really need to check my feelings about this.


  2. Drinking was everywhere even when I was a kid.

    I don't think anyone will prevent teens from drinking or experimenting with some illegal substance. It is a fact of life I have no choice but to accept.

    I've only caught my oldest come home drunk once although I'm sure there were other times he's come in buzzed but covered it well.

    The first and only time he came stumbling into the house looking all disheveled with some snow and leaves on his shoulders. At first I thought he got clocked until he made it to the banister and started giggling then dropped.

    I got him up to his room, stripped him down to his boxers and opened his bedroom windows a bit. I figured when he could pull the blankets on him, I wouldn't have to worry about him puking and aspirating. Yeah, he was that drunk. Over the next 4 hours I entertained myself at his expense.

    Hot pink nail polish on his finger nails and toe nails. Two coats plus a clear coat. Have to do it right ya know. :wink: Needing something else to do I grabbed my fine and thick tip multi-color packs of Sharpie markers and proceeded to tattoo his butt.

    First thing in the morning I called his wrestling coach to let him know what happened and to work him til he puked. The coach happily complied.

    The boy has not come home in that state again.

    Was that the best way to handle the situation? In this case yes. This was a lot more effective that popping a blood vessel from yelling at him. He'd tune out anything I'd have to say anyway. Plus everytime he showered after wrestling, his buddies didn't let him forget what happened.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I like the way stressed handled it. I am against it, completely. In my area it seems really out of control. I remember the cops bringing my bro home drunk at 16. He wasn't driving but he WAS supposed to be helping me paint my room. My folks grounded him, but nothing changed. They decided he drank because he was depressed. But they didn't drag him to counselling.

    Not sure what all I will do when faced with this, but ignoring it won't happen.


  4. Star*

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


    -Gotta say I love the visual of the sharpie markers Stressed, but pink? Ohhhhh notsomuch.

    My own difficult child (thank you GOD) does not drink or do drugs. He's had many occasions to do so.

    But I did say at one point to difficult child if he ever drank or came home drunk I would (fill in the blank) and DF said "You are very wrong about this - may I?" I said sure and DF sat down and told difficult child that he may or may not drink sometime in the future. IF he did and he didn't feel safe, or was sick that all he had to do was call him and DF would go get him, no questions asked EVER, and bring him home. I thought that was wrong, but I don't any more.

    Recently a young man was headed home from a party, got in his car to drive, struck a tree and died. It's a huge problem here with teens.

    There is a government web site that has free brochures you can order on how to talk to your kids about drinking and drugs and I ordered and read a lot. DF was right. Although the brochure did say to talk to the kids the day after the day after and try to set some limits.

    Hope this helps
  5. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Mine did drink a time or two but she was over 18 when she did it. I didn't like it and we did talk about it, especially her risk factors for becoming an alcoholic. I also told her that if she ever needed it, I would happily come and get her rather than have her in a car with someone who had been drinking. She did call me once to come get her. She wasn't falling down drunk, but she certainly wasn't sober. I got her, bit my tongue, waited 2 days and told her she was grounded for 2 weeks. Ultimately, those friends dumped her (she had and has a problem keeping friends -- too clingy), so the drinking became a non-issue after that.

    Pot was the big thing at her high school. Fortunately, her friends at that time thought any dope was stupid. That, plus the fact they were all pretty much watched by their parents made drinking difficult.

    I've never understood allowing middle and high schoolers to attend non-supervised events and that includes bonfires, beach parties and the like. The temptations are just too high. If my daughter was going to a party, I would call the parents and find out how often they checked on the kids, would there be easy access to alcohol, etc. If I wasn't comfortable, she didn't go no matter how much she screamed, threatened, begged, etc. My responsibility was not to see she had fun but to see she grew up.
  6. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    easy child says that there is a lot of drinking in high school. I don't know how they get away with it. I know easy child's friends drank in hs but
    easy child stayed away.
  7. ck1

    ck1 New Member

    Where we used to live (eastern Long Island), drugs and alcohol were at every party and there were parties every weekend. difficult child was only a freshman, but he was always invited. At that time, he was still too afraid to take part in it, but he did like to go to the parties for a little while when he had the opportunity.

    Where we live now, I don't think drugs and drinking are huge, but I know it happens, unfortunately, it's everywhere. My difficult child hasn't gone to our public school since February 2006, but he may be returning soon (I'm very nervous) but I will not tolerate drinking or drugs. I am very strict about teaching difficult child that the laws apply to everyone and not just when it's convenient.

    I think in some ways, it depends on the kid. For my difficult child, if you let him do it once, it sets a precedent and will start the slippery slope, I'm afraid. For others, if they're responsible in other areas, I may not complain too much. Can't say for sure though since I don't have a kid like that!
  8. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Teen drinking is a huge problem no matter where you live. I hear about parties from kids at my school (usually when they think I am not listening) and I have found out years later that my difficult child went to lots of parties.

    Of course, I didn't know about them at the time. Teens lie and say that they are staying at each other's houses or going to the movies, etc. I tried to be careful and call the other parents' houses but kids can be quite creative. My difficult child would tell the parents where she was supposed to be staying (after I had called and verified that they would be home) that she was "sick" and was going home and then go off to another house where there was a party going on. Once they are driving it is very hard to be sure of where they are.

    She also snuck out of the house to go to parties where there were drugs and alcohol. At the time, we thought that she was sound asleep in her bed.

    husband and I missed all of this even though we thought we were being vigilant parents ~ and most parents don't even try to check up on their kids. Some even provide the alcohol claiming that it is safer to have kids drinking in a home where there is parental supervision since they are "going to do it anyway."


    Short of locking your teenager up from about 15 - 18, I'm not sure how you can totally stop it.

  9. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    my difficult child also sneaked out--didn't know about it til much later when she told me about it. I think she started partying at about age 13 and was the "cool" one in the group who would do anything. Now at the ripe old age of 19 I think she has settled down quite a bit--I am sure she drinks and smokes pot but I think it is in moderation. (When she was 15 she was found drunk as a skunk in the school bathroom and when she was 17 she was found passed out from drinking by the police twice in one week--went to rehab as consequence but it didn't "take.")

    Anyway, I do know even the "good" kids who were good students, going on to college, etc., were pretty much partying every weekend.

    When I was 17 and a senior in high school my best friend's mom would buy wine for us on the weekends and we would go drinking and to parties, often driving while drunk. We also smoked pot frequently. We also were "good" kids--I was a easy child.

    My difficult child 2 is a junior in high school but doesn't drink or smoke anything--is adamantly against all that (after seeing everything her sister did) so I am getting a break in that respect with her so far.

    I don't know what, if anything, can be done, it is just so prevalent among young people. I sure don't think changing the drinking age from 18 to 21 did anything helpful, just made it illegal.

  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I don't think there is anyway to control what your teen is exposed to once they reach driving age. Parents often "think"
    that they know who the "good" and "bad" teens are and try to
    direct their teen to hang out with the "good" ones. on the other hand the
    "good" kids are often just good at presenting themselves as
    aok in front of parents. Some of the kids that seem like bad
    news are in fact truly grounded in good values. You can't tell.

    All my kids have been told everything I could think of to encourage them to make good choices. They have all been told to
    telephone at any hour and they would be picked up with no questions asked. The decisions.........darn it!..........have
    to be made by the teens when faced with the choice at the moment.

    As I posted a few months ago I did have one plan that worked with
    some of the kids. I'm sure it would not work for everyone. We
    (my teens and I) had a deal that "if" they were in a situation
    that made them uncomfortable they could "blame me" by telling
    their friends with great disgust "I HAVE to call my Mom." Then,
    they would call and have a fake dialog that eventually got to
    "What?? I have to come home???" Sometimes a friend of theirs
    would insist on getting on the phone with me to explain that
    everything was fine and the parent home etc. etc. I would go
    and pick up my "angry" teen. Once we were on the way home I
    would usually hear "thanks Mom". Sometimes I didn't hear anything which made me believe something ugly was going on that
    was not meant for my ears."

    It's hard. There is no answer. Good luck. DDD
  11. bby31288

    bby31288 Active Member

    DDD, thats what my kids do too. They usually call me and say "what time do I have to be home" thats my que that they want to be picked up now out of a situation they don't want to be in. So I say....actually I was just going to call you, its time to come home now. I was going to be on my way...where are you.

    It works great. They are so thankful. As far as the drinking the same types of parties happen here. Parents are usually home, the kids all sleep over...I'm just not sure about it. I try to discourage my kids from attending. Thankfully none of my girls are sleep out ones. They like to have people here, but hate sleeping out! Sometimes I still have to pick up my 13 year old when she sleeps out. She just doesn't like it.

  12. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    Cannot agree with this. I know there are parties everywhere. Whether the upper class wealthy kids or the lower class poorer kids...there are parties.

    easy child is 24. I never ever even allowed him a "sip" of alcohol until he was of legal age. Never ever. While other parents were buying their children non alcoholic beer at social gatherings, weddings and such, we would not do so. Didn't want him to even have the taste for it.
    When he went somewhere..I did check on him. I would go to the park, to the pool to the concert. He was horrified to see me. I told him I WILL check on him and he will not know when. I will NOT allow him engage in that type of activity. If he had the car and was going to the movies or someones house..whatever, I would take the other car and drive by the house..go to the theater. He never knew when I would, or if I did. He was amazed at how I knew things. sometimes it was just his carelessness that enlightened me.

    Of course, once he left home and went to college I had no control over that. He joined a fraternity. So, now I hear that is pretty much a 24 x 7 party.

    When he was not at school, he did not touch alcohol. So..now at age 24 he is drinking every weekend. it drives me insane. I do not think he can do anything on the weekends without it revolving around a party or drinking.

    difficult child has asked to "try" a sip. Not going to happen. Not beer, not wine, nothing. He is much sneakier than easy child ever was. So, I am on my toes much more. He KNOWS I will check. He knows, I talk to his friends and sometimes the friends might slip up and say something. He KNOWS I will just hall him down for a drug/alcohol test. been there done that many times. Must add...all have come back clean. Every single one. Both urine tests and blood tests.

    I ALWAYS check on the kids. Where abouts, company that is there, time of day, activities. Always, Always.

    When I grew up there were parents who would allow the kids to drink at their house, under their supervison. Not my house.
    I do not personally know anyone who allows this now a days. Too much liability involved.
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We allow this, but only with our kids.

    I was brought up teetotal. Methodist. My Sunday School teacher was a tubthumper for Womens Temperance Union (for whom "temperance" = "abstinence"). My family, those who drank, mostly drank beer which I hated the smell of (what sort of Aussie does that make me?)

    husband was brought up to have a healthy respect for alcohol. He introduced me to the stuff and was generally always around to ensure I was being responsible and not getting taken advantage of. But I was late to it and a total innocent. For a while I tried whatever would pour. I still shudder to think of some of the ghastly vinegar masquerading as wine which I insulted my liver with. Kanga Rouge and Bondi Bleach. I've had my drink spiked a lot of times, with extra alcohol. This is now treated as assault in Australia. Lucky for me, I found I have a head for alcohol. I can SEEM to be sober even after I've been drinking. (long story - another time). But these days for a wide range of reasons including medical, I choose to not drink. Occasionally I'll have a sip of something, or even as much as half a glass of wine if it's a really good one. I have learnt to recognise a good wine but I'm happy to sit with my glass of water while others enjoy a drink around me.

    So our kids were raised differently from me. While I didn't want them to be drunken sots, I didn't want them in danger from their own inexperience, either.
    So from about ten years old (I hear the gasps) we have encouraged our children to have A TASTE (as in a SIP) of a GOOD wine on those occasions when we have been having wine with a meal. We have taught them to appreciate the quality of a good wine or other alcoholic beverage. And by regularly letting them taste at home, we also got to know their likes and dislikes. This is very useful knowledge. We take them to wine tastings as soon as they are legally old enough (18, in our country). The younger ones get to taste the wine we bring home, but only a taste. We also teach them about WHY a wine is good, or not so good.

    The other aim - we used our knowledge of their tastes, to indoctrinate them into a taste for EXPENSIVE QUALITY. As a result, when away from home at a party and all around them are drinking cheap rubbish, our kids will not be able to AFFORD to over-indulge in anything they are prepared to drink. It's like acquiring a taste for the finest Belgian dark chocolate when you're on a diet - you'll never touch cheap compounded milk chocolate again.

    And the results? easy child never overindulged. She enjoys a glass of wine now and then, will occasionally have a cocktail or mixed drink, and loves the family favourite - good Tasmanian cider - but has never been a problem.
    difficult child 1 - at about 19-20 went through a short phase of drinking A LITTLE more than was good for him but was never really drunk. He tried to acquire a taste for drinks he could afford but has given up.
    easy child 2/difficult child 2 is the biggest problem - from about 18 for the next two years, she grabbed every opportunity away from home to drink too much. I do wonder if we made this worse by trying to curb her drinking TOO much at home. I think she just needed to find her own levels and it was one of those things that had to happen. It never happens now. BF2 when he first moved in would go out with his friends and ALWAYS drink too much (usually bourbon) and end up being sick everywhere - I think he's now sensitised himself to bourbon so he will now feel sick every time he touches it. And easy child 2/difficult child 2 will not drink with him past a certain point, I think she has now learned her limits for herself.

    One special mention - a lot of drinks, especially mixed drinks sold in cans, are cheap rubbish with lots of sugar aimed at the teen market (even though the various companies insist they are not directing their marketing to kids - liars). So the kids still do occasionally buy vodka and orange in tins, which is an expensive and unpalatable way to drink vodka. It's vodka with orange-flavoured soft drink.
    So (after legal drinking age) we showed the kids how to make (and enjoy) a TRUE vodka and orange - keep the vodka in the freezer (the high alcohol content means it will not freeze) and add the freshly squeezed juice of an orange, with a dash of soda water. The icy vodka chills the room temperature juice down to a lovely cold drink. The effort of squeezing your own orange means you can't down four of these in a row. Plus you need to be sober to manage the juicer.
    Another drink I taught them - make a short drink with a shot of vodka, the juice of a lime and a teaspoon of castor sugar. Mix it thoroughly and put it in the freezer. Two hours later, get it out and enjoy the slurry.
    It takes two hours to prepare this. Drink it too fast and it's another two hours until your next drink.

    But this means that the next time the kids pick up a cheap and nasty ready-mixed drink, they will remember the good stuff and not get hooked into the marketing and also the culture of drunkenness as a form of entertainment.

    Giving the kids a chance to get to know vodka has protected them from drink spiking too - they are much more skilled at tasting it in a drink that I was at their age.

    What the kids see at home is also important - double standards don't help. husband does not drink to excess, he might have one nip of scotch every other evening. Plus he drinks GOOD scotch - so he can't afford to have more than one nip every other night. The kids taste bad scotch at parties, and good scotch at home. They don't like bad scotch and can't afford their own good scotch.

    My brother drinks too much. Far too much. He said once, "People only drink because of how it feels."
    "Speak for yourself," I told him. But for him, he was right. And his kids grew up watching him and were drinking far too much from far too young and it's taken them years to get sober. My brother used to challenge others, especially other men, to match him in drinking. If a bloke refused to drink as much as him he would accuse him of being a "piker", someone whose manhood was in question because he couldn't/wouldn't have a drink. And my brother would drink any old rubbish, so would his kids. I think they sobered up before he did.

  14. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    By reading the miriad of different responses here I guess you've summized that there is not one way to keep your teen away from alcohol.

    I also really believe that you have to deal with pcs differently than you do difficult children.

    I am blessed that my easy child has a good head on her shoulders and is amazed at other teen's abiltiy to look stupid while drinking. She thinks its a dumb and worthless issue. She says that she can enough fun being herself and doesn't need drinking to have a good time. But, some of that is her birth personality and some of it is my teaching.

    I think it really depends on the child. But, it is an absolute that kids are drinking at alarming rates. easy child and I read the book "Smashed" together about a year ago. I would highly recommend it to any teen girl. It is written by a young woman in her 20's who tells the story of her binge drinking on the weekends starting in middle school and continues through college. It is a honest and frightening tale about what can happen to a female when she is under the influence.

    The other piece is that I did not allow difficult child to attend parties where I didn't know the kid or the family, nor did I allow her to go home with other students unless I knew the parents were there. Now my house is the meeting place and I have kids here on many friday and saturday nights hanging out, eating, watching movies, going in the hottub, etc.

    It is just recently that she has been given the freedom to make choices about parties. She has purposly distanced herself from a good friend who has gotten into the weekend drinking thing.

    But again, I truley believe that there are so many factors involved. Your relationship with your child, the confidence of your child, your child's maturity level, your child's circle of friends, etc.

  15. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    From the sounds of it, teens experiment. How to keep from going over the line? How to stop them from making it part of their teen social life? I'm not sure we can do anything but setting the example, not tolerate drinking or drugs by under age kids and making sure your child is clear what the consequence would be.

    I fully expected my easy child to test the waters at least once in hs. I was very clear that he would lose access to his car. His life as he knew it would be very different. If he continued to break the law he would be pulled out of the very social circle he wanted to impress and put in a different environment(grandmother's house and area came to mind) LOL. Fortunately, he believed me and his medical issues caused him to not be as intensely involved with the crowd.

    I think we were lucky in that drinking just wasn't a big thing to our kids.Nor is it to us. I like an occasional drink.
    I don't want them to have a distorted view of alcohol in either direction. It isn't going to make them smarter or more popular but it isn't going to turn them into drunken bums. Somewhere moderation and responsibility have to be learned.

    The reason we don't allow alcohol before 21 in our home is that it teaches disrespect for the law. If it were allowed, they would be offered a glass of wine or a beer. It takes the allure away from it.

    Nancy, all I could think to do is hope they didn't drink and drive and to have a plan if they came home drunk. I don't know what I would do if they went to a party where alcohol was served to underage kids.
  16. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Looks like we are varied in our responses but I do think the bottom line is some kids will drink no matter what. My difficult child 1 would not recognize parental authority--that's why she was considered to have ODD. We had to send her away to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for her own safety and for our sanity as a family and we hoped she would learn how to make better decisions and also that if she had a mental illness we would figure out what it was. As you all probably know (because I have said it in so many posts by now, you are probably sick of it) she did great at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) but relapsed miserably after coming home.

    Kjs, checking up on difficult child 1 did no good at all--as I said, she did not recognize any adult's authority over her. She simply could not be embarrassed and meting out consequences did nothing--she did not care when every single privilege or possession was taken away. Or, she simply left home. One thing I can say though is that she is 19 now and is no longer interested in the partying life. My son who is 23 also partied in high school (well, I don't know that for a fact but I would bet on it) and he also got in trouble for drinking at college. But, now he is a business owner and he is "over" all that--he has grown out of it. I think your son probably just delayed that phase and is going through it now. I doubt all your vigilance when he was in high school did anything but delay his rebelling til now.

  17. Penta

    Penta New Member

    I could never stop my girl from doing anything when she was a young teen. She was so defiant and outrageous that I had to take extreme measures to keep her safe. The only drinking I ever saw was when she took a bottle of wine from the fridge, locked herself in her room and drank the whole bottle, then passed out on her floor. Next to happen was her extreme aggression towards me and subsequently Residential Treatment Center (RTC).

    As she matured at Residential Treatment Center (RTC), she came to the conclusion herself about drinking and drugs. Her Mom, my daughter, died of a brain aneurysm and my girl wants to live a long, healthy life so she doesn't smoke, drink, or use drugs at all now. However, this has impacted her social life as most socializing among 18-20 year olds surrounds drinking at parties and events. She really has not found a social circle outside of school or work in our new city to "hang out" with because of this factor. She wants friends desperately, but not enough to indulge in substances.
  18. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    It is inevitable, in my opinion, that our kids will experiment with alcohol. Some will figure out their tolerance level by having awful hangovers and others will crave the 'drunk'.

    Marg's version of teaching about alcohol is pretty much the way we are at our house, perhaps not so young (10, Marg?? lol), but still. Unfortunately, it's been a bit of struggle as my H has his own alcoholism issues, but overall I think it all worked out okay with easy child. She has certain drinks she likes, only drinks quality and doesn't drink till she's sick. Ahem, I know she HAS gotten sick, once in my house (I even had to throw out a rug), but that was last New Years when she was still fairly green about alcohol). All her college buddies play beer pong, which she enjoys, but again, she will stop when she knows it's too much. We've always been pretty open about things in our house.

    difficult child is another story altogether. Although we tried to teach and enforce the same guidelines with her, as you know, you sometimes can't expect the same results with a difficult child. So, we've come to a sort of agreement....if she's at a party and has been drinking, she will either make plans to stay over, call me to get her, or get a sober person to give her a lift. Last night she went out, was supposed to come home, but called me at 11:30 to let me know she'd be staying over. On the one hand, I'm not happy about her drinking, but on the other hand at least she's not getting in a car wasted or with someone who is, Know what I mean?? We continue to talk about alcohol, drugs, unprotected sex, etc., with difficult child in particular. I don't have the same concerns with easy child. She is very driven and has goals. difficult child is still drifting, so we have to be more attentive in this regard, which is fine with me.

    I grew up on Long Island NY and I can honestly say that I didn't know one person who didn't hit a kegger on the weekends - no matter the weather, no matter the clique...everyone came together if there was a keg or party around. And it started when we were about 15 or so till about 17/18. Most of us were groomed to either go to school or work, so the few who didn't snap to attention to choose one or the other I can realize now were probably difficult child's.

    My mom would hear my friends and I up in the woods and come get us to hang in my backyard because she said then she could keep an eye on us and make sure we were at least safe. She knew we were drinking (and some smoking pot) but she'd rather have us near her than off on our own. I am not sure how I feel about that now - the laws have changed so much. I would not allow an underage friend of my girls drink alcohol in my house ever, but it's only because I don't want to end up in jail. easy child's old boyfriend once had a beer (he was 20) at her graduation party and he said he felt awkward about it.

    I don't like the idea of kids getting wasted, but I also think the more taboo you give something, the more enticing it becomes and that's when it becomes more dangerous. But that's just my opinion.
  19. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The replies are very interesting. Alcohol is usually snuck into these parties, in purses, bags, anything that can disguise it. I'm from the camp that doesn't allow it in my house, not even a sip, until you are legal. But every weekend brings another challenge. It's all these kids think about, who is having a party and will there be alcohol.

    I know if I allowed my difficult child to drink it would start the slippery slope, she has already told friends on IM that I know she drinks and have given up on her so she thinks it's OK.....WRONG!


  20. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    It's hard, Nancy. Even after decades and decades of raising teens.......the bottom line is...it's hard and I wish you the best of luck. DDD

    PS: If you are successful, remember others did their best and
    failed. If you fail, remember that you did your best! Hugs