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#1
Old 02-15-2010, 01:47 PM
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How do you deal with your teenager drinking?

First off: ugh.

We were all teenagers once, some of you reading this may still be one. My SO and I both drank under 21 as well. Unfortunately, we've hit a crossroads with our 16 year old daughter who has taken a liking to alcohol. My SO and I drink maybe once a year which involves a Bailey's and cocoa at a cabin when we're alone together. We're not teetotalers, but just not interested in drinking. Our daughter's mother, however, has been in rehab twice in the last couple years, although those have been times after the divorce and our daughter lives with us full time.

My SO has been of the mind that if we make alcohol some fruta prohibida, that it would only encourage to drink and lie about it more. So, we explained that we don't want her to drink, but if she does, she can always call us for a ride home and we will do it. For some reason, she translated that in her teenage mind and the next day asked me to pick up alcohol for her friend and her for a party.

There seems to be a hazy line between condoning it and saying "if you do, we'll come and get you without any consequences". We want her to be able to call us up if she has been drinking behind our backs and get a ride home instead of getting in to some trouble (or worse). But at the same time, we don't want her drinking at all. She asked us what her punishment was if we caught her drinking and we didn't have an answer. She seems to want clear and defined boundaries but it seems like we're going to have a problem either way.

So what's the solution?
#2
Old 02-15-2010, 01:55 PM
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There probably is no easy solution, I raised 3 tenagers and have had 3 different results. Both boys took me up on the ride home once each. They both still drink, one probably once a week while bowling and the other once a month or so. The oldest still get plastered with his buds 2 or 3 times a year, but the youngest has never been drunk again. Both were very shamed the next day after the binges.
My daughter has never been drunk and has a drink once in a blue moon.
The good news is neither of them have a problem with drinking and don't have any out of control drinking issues. They are now 38, 34, and 30.

Try not to condem drinking so hard it makes it attractive, try to let the consequences of drinking speak for themselves. If you do have to pick her up from too much drinking, just take her home and put her to bed, the lecture can be low-key the next day.

Punishment? That's hard but we always tried an escallation of punishment, starting with simple grounding and working our way up to no phone, no tv, no games, no after school anything.
#3
Old 02-15-2010, 02:33 PM
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I don't think there's a way to both ensure she'll call you if she needs a ride AND punish her if she's caught. Those two things just don't go together.

That said, I'd go the education route; I'd make it very clear to her what would happen if the cops caught her, and how easy it is for a party to get busted, or all the other situations where a teenager can easily get caught drinking. Find out what your local minor in possession laws are, and make sure she knows what the consequences will be. Also talk to her about how easy it is to do stupid stuff while drinking and end up embarrassed (or worse) the next day.

Other than that... I don't know what you can realistically do. If she wants to experiment, she's going to, and I'd rather have a kid who knows they can call for a ride without facing punishment or judgment rather than one who'll risk driving home because they don't want to be grounded the next day.
#4
Old 02-15-2010, 02:53 PM
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Punishment should never be stated outright. This allows the teen to weigh risks.

You simply state, your punishment will be decided on a case by case basis.

If your child is getting alcohol I would be more concerned where she's getting it? Who's she hanging out with and such.

You also have to be realistic, since alcohol can diminish your ability to think, you need to make sure your daughter knows all about pregnancy prevention and HIV/STD prevention as well.
#5
Old 02-15-2010, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stpauler View Post
First off: ugh.

We were all teenagers once, some of you reading this may still be one. My SO and I both drank under 21 as well. Unfortunately, we've hit a crossroads with our 16 year old daughter who has taken a liking to alcohol. My SO and I drink maybe once a year which involves a Bailey's and cocoa at a cabin when we're alone together. We're not teetotalers, but just not interested in drinking. Our daughter's mother, however, has been in rehab twice in the last couple years, although those have been times after the divorce and our daughter lives with us full time.

My SO has been of the mind that if we make alcohol some fruta prohibida, that it would only encourage to drink and lie about it more. So, we explained that we don't want her to drink, but if she does, she can always call us for a ride home and we will do it. For some reason, she translated that in her teenage mind and the next day asked me to pick up alcohol for her friend and her for a party.

There seems to be a hazy line between condoning it and saying "if you do, we'll come and get you without any consequences". We want her to be able to call us up if she has been drinking behind our backs and get a ride home instead of getting in to some trouble (or worse). But at the same time, we don't want her drinking at all. She asked us what her punishment was if we caught her drinking and we didn't have an answer. She seems to want clear and defined boundaries but it seems like we're going to have a problem either way.

So what's the solution?
Been where you were at as a 21 year old and what your going through with your daughter. I am sober for 7 years and was a teenage drinker. I never called for a ride home as it was not allowed. I got into some horrible jackpots in my teen years. I tried to hide it but once I had my first drink I was off and running. It was not my parents fault. I just have a disease that runs in my family. I have non drinking parents and my sibs are not alcoholics but I was.

My son started drinking at 15 and had some bad things happen. As I was sober I let it roll and told him to drink at home. One night the police brought him home. They saw his feet sticking out of a snow bank. He passed out walking home. He could have frozen to death or been hit by a plow. I started going to Alanon meetings along with AA meetings for myself. Alanon is for the families of problem drinkers. I learned so much in Alanon that within a year my son was sober and doing well. It is a miracle but I needed to change how I handled his drinking. It wasn't a walk in the park for him or me but I followed Alanon principals.

I really think I was part of the problem before I started attending Alanon. I met some nice parents who were going through the same thing I was. You can look up local meetings online.

Good Luck!
#6
Old 02-15-2010, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stpauler View Post

My SO has been of the mind that if we make alcohol some fruta prohibida, that it would only encourage to drink and lie about it more. So, we explained that we don't want her to drink, but if she does, she can always call us for a ride home and we will do it. For some reason, she translated that in her teenage mind and the next day asked me to pick up alcohol for her friend and her for a party.
"Oh, no no no, sweetie. You have misunderstood. We would prefer if you don't drink until you are old enough - which in this country and state is 21. Its illegal at your age, it can be dangerous, it makes you do stupid things, and when you are sixteen - with the emotional roller coaster that sixteen is, you really don't need any chemical assistance in having emotions.

However, we want you to know that if you drink anyways, if you call us for a ride we will pick you up, because we'd rather have you throwing up in the back seat of our car than dead - and dead is a really good possibility when you are a teenager and you drink and drive - or get in the car with someone who has been drinking.

We will not be procuring alcohol for you - that could end up with us in jail and you in a foster home. We will not tolerate parties in this house, that could end up with us in jail and you in a foster home."
#7
Old 02-15-2010, 04:47 PM
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Dangerosa, got it right. Remind your daughter of what the law is. You didn't make the law, but your family are law abiding and you expect it to be abided by. There are also some practical reasons for the law...keeping people from dying, whether it be the teenager or heaven forbid the person they hit with their car.

So when she turns 21, tell her you'll be there with her with your Baileys and cocoa celebrating.
#8
Old 02-15-2010, 04:57 PM
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This story might be worth sharing as a lighter example of stupid things people do when they're drunk.
#9
Old 02-15-2010, 05:08 PM
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What worked for me is "If you're drunk and you need a ride, you call me. You will be punished, but not as badly as if you're drunk and you DON'T call me. It's not like you can wander in here drunk without me noticing anyway."

I never made a huge deal out of drinking. My daughter was allowed to drink at home from the time she was sixteen or so. My feeling is that the only way to learn your tolerance is to reach it, and I'd rather have her do that in a safe place. I realize many people would disagree with this as a parenting philosophy, but my daughter has yet to pass out in a house full of strangers, which is more than I can say for myself at her age.
#10
Old 02-16-2010, 04:40 AM
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I am a little under 2 years clean and sober. I started drinking/using at 13 FWIW. My parents forbade it, and I still was winding up in serious trouble on a regular basis. I drank and used to escape from the things in my head I couldn't escape from on my own. It took me 10 years to overcome the drugs and booze. It was never a fun, harmless thing. Why is she drinking?

I'm sorry, but you would be hardpressed to convince me that a 16 year old has any buisness drinking, whether it's at home with parents or not. You would also be hardpressed to convince me that a 16 year old is drinking for any reason other than escape, even if it's just from bordom.

Can drinking be harmless for a minor? I guess if we are talking less-than-dead harmless, but if a minor is finding a need to escape from ANYTHING, I think there is trouble brewing, and it might not have a thing to do with booze.

I havent had a drink/drug in nearly 2 years, but I have aquired character defects a'plenty from those years that I still deal with.

Al-anon is awesome for parents, AA is awesome for alcoholics/problem drinkers/doubters/in-betweens, even teenage ones.
#11
Old 02-16-2010, 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by NRichards View Post
I am a little under 2 years clean and sober. I started drinking/using at 13 FWIW. My parents forbade it, and I still was winding up in serious trouble on a regular basis. I drank and used to escape from the things in my head I couldn't escape from on my own. It took me 10 years to overcome the drugs and booze. It was never a fun, harmless thing. Why is she drinking?
Well, to counter one example with another, I got drunk for the first time at 12 and pretty much had grown out of the "drinking until passing out"-phase by the time I was 15. I was out every weekend with my friends but was usually one of the most sober ones there... but I still drank. I never got in serious trouble, let alone on a regular basis; neither did any of my friends. These may be different cultural settings talking, but here in Finland, teenage drinking is regarded as a self-evident fact so obviously people's mindset and reactions will differ.

My parents did not forbid me from drinking - in fact, we have a rule in our family that after the age of 15, children are allowed to have a glass of wine during a meal - but they made it very clear that a) I could always call on them for help and they would deliver and b) they reserved the right to mock me and make snarky comments if I was hungover the next day. (To be honest, though, this was when I was 14-15. I think their reaction would have been somewhat different when I was 12. Then again, their different reaction wouldn't have stopped me from drinking anyway.) Some of my friends' parents were much stricter on the subject of alcohol and for them it WAS a forbidden fruit to be sampled at any possible occasion.
#12
Old 02-16-2010, 06:47 AM
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Alternatively, you'd be hard pressed to convince me that letting a sixteen year old drink occasionally causes alcoholism, given all the evidence to the contrary.

The fact that the number of alcoholics is a tiny minority of the number of people who drink would seem to indicate that the alcohol isn't the problem.

Last edited by DianaG; 02-16-2010 at 06:48 AM.
#13
Old 02-16-2010, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by NRichards View Post
I am a little under 2 years clean and sober. I started drinking/using at 13 FWIW. My parents forbade it, and I still was winding up in serious trouble on a regular basis. I drank and used to escape from the things in my head I couldn't escape from on my own. It took me 10 years to overcome the drugs and booze. It was never a fun, harmless thing. Why is she drinking?

I'm sorry, but you would be hardpressed to convince me that a 16 year old has any buisness drinking, whether it's at home with parents or not. You would also be hardpressed to convince me that a 16 year old is drinking for any reason other than escape, even if it's just from bordom.

Can drinking be harmless for a minor? I guess if we are talking less-than-dead harmless, but if a minor is finding a need to escape from ANYTHING, I think there is trouble brewing, and it might not have a thing to do with booze.

I havent had a drink/drug in nearly 2 years, but I have aquired character defects a'plenty from those years that I still deal with.

Al-anon is awesome for parents, AA is awesome for alcoholics/problem drinkers/doubters/in-betweens, even teenage ones.
As your own case shows, taking a hard line on it doesn't necessarily do any good. And offering to be the sober driver for your teen if he gets stuck somewhere might be the difference between a kid who ends up in rehab and one six feet under.

Also, my experience with this as a teen was I didn't drink (well, once), but my friends did and they were often the ones with cars. "Mom, pick me up, I don't feel safe with anyone here driving me home" without the fear of Mom ratting out your friends can be a lifeline.
#14
Old 02-16-2010, 09:56 AM
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I think Dang speaks sensibly.

I don't see any problem with letting your teen have a glass of wine occasionally, but I don't see a reason to be regularly providing them alcohol for recreational drinking. And the potential liability for providing booze to a child other than yours is too huge to contemplate for a second.

And we always presented the drive home thing as concern for their safety - and one expression of our love for them and desire to be there for them. They never took us up on it.

But I'm unable to speak from experience. I don't know how it happened, but none of my 3 kids took much of a liking to alcohol. Now that all 3 are in college, I know they all drink socially, but I am pretty certain none of them has ever had a hangover or puked from drinking.

And tho I have not drunk now for nearly 6 years, I was FAR from a teetotaller when they were growing up. If my teen "developed a taste for alcohol" I'd be concerned, simply because I know that once I developed a taste for booze I developed habits over the next couple of decades that I was unable to break, such that now I am sober instead of being able to drink socially, occasionally, and moderately.
#15
Old 02-16-2010, 10:15 AM
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There's a lot of territory in between treating alcohol as a forbidden fruit and buying alcohol for your kid and others to have at a party. Just like there's a lot of territory between forbidding your kid to ever watch TV and buying them a TV for their bedroom.

Make sure that she knows that, if she's at a party and something is happening that she's not comfortable with, be it drinking or anything else, she can call you and get a ride home. Be sure to talk with her about peer pressure to drink more than she might otherwise want to, or to do things while drunk that she might regret later.
#16
Old 02-16-2010, 10:21 AM
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Depending on your daughter's relationship with her mother (and with you) you might be able to use her as an object lesson in your discussions. I don't mean in a yelling, screaming, "Drink and you'll end up like your mother!" kind of way, but in a much more rational way.

I have had to have a few conversations with my step-daughter around issues like this (not precisely, but close enough). In our case, we have a good relationship, and she is old enough to recognize her father for the general screw-up that he is. I essentially said to her that she needs to be aware that she would appear to have some genetic tendencies (mostly on her father's side) and some personality traits of her own that could very easily lead to addictions. Any consumption of alcohol or other potentially addictive substances should be undertaken with caution, and with foreknowledge that it could be a very slippery slope for her.

That conversation was pretty time-, place-, and attitude-specific. Like I said, a great deal depends upon the status of your daughter's relationships with you and her mother at this point in time, and whether or not she's looking ahead at things like finishing school, having a career - life in general. But, in our case, I think it's a tactic that had some positive effect.

Other than that, all I can do is wish you luck.
#17
Old 02-16-2010, 10:28 AM
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I've given my daughter all of the facts on drinking. She is well aware of the potential dangers because she has lived it. Alcoholism runs deep on my side of the family, going back four generations, including me. Also her mothers mom died of cirrhosis of the liver due to drinking and her mother likes to drink as well, although she isn't an alcoholic.
Unfortunately my daughter likes to drink and has admitted to me that she has gotten plastered on occasion.

She'll be 20 next month and all I can do is cross my fingers and hope for the best. When I was still drinking I would sometimes let her have a beer or two with me because I wanted to be a cool dad, I wish I wouldn't have done that now but I doubt it would've made any difference.
I'm hoping her remembering my drunken rantings at her and the world in general will outweigh her desire to drink to excess...sigh.
#18
Old 02-16-2010, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by carlb View Post

I have had to have a few conversations with my step-daughter around issues like this (not precisely, but close enough). In our case, we have a good relationship, and she is old enough to recognize her father for the general screw-up that he is. I essentially said to her that she needs to be aware that she would appear to have some genetic tendencies (mostly on her father's side) and some personality traits of her own that could very easily lead to addictions. Any consumption of alcohol or other potentially addictive substances should be undertaken with caution, and with foreknowledge that it could be a very slippery slope for her.

That conversation was pretty time-, place-, and attitude-specific. Like I said, a great deal depends upon the status of your daughter's relationships with you and her mother at this point in time, and whether or not she's looking ahead at things like finishing school, having a career - life in general. But, in our case, I think it's a tactic that had some positive effect.
We've had that discussion with both our kids - although with my son who is adopted we have no idea what his genetic tendencies might be. We do know that depression and alcoholism gallop through my family like Secretariat on Derby Day - so since they were little they got the "it is something to be careful of" speech. They are currently ten and eleven.
#19
Old 02-16-2010, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by NRichards View Post
You would also be hardpressed to convince me that a 16 year old is drinking for any reason other than escape, even if it's just from bordom.
Because it's fun. It lowers your inhibitions. It's relaxing. It's rebellious.

If you seriously can't think of any reason why a teenager would drink other than sheer escapism, you're being wilfully obtuse.
#20
Old 02-16-2010, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Green Bean View Post
Because it's fun. It lowers your inhibitions. It's relaxing. It's rebellious.
And not just rebellious, but forbidden! Illegal! I didn't start drinking until I went to college, but dropped my drinking frequency when I turned 21 and therefore legal.

Last edited by Ferret Herder; 02-16-2010 at 01:13 PM.
#21
Old 02-16-2010, 01:18 PM
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Yeah. I'm sure some kids start drinking to have fun and end up alcoholics. But I think the majority of underage drinkers just want to have fun. Hell, adults have been known to throw back a few too many because getting drunk can be a fun experience. Doesn't necessarily make the drinker an alcoholic.
#22
Old 02-16-2010, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by stpauler View Post
Our daughter's mother, however, has been in rehab twice in the last couple years, although those have been times after the divorce and our daughter lives with us full time.
This is the most critical part. I'm the oldest of 3 kids (23, 19, 15) and we've all handled alcohol differently (admittedly, the 15 year old has yet to fully explore it). My uncle just passed away - we'll never know if it was from pancreatitis/cirrhosis or another reason. My father drinks heavily when the stress is high, but my mother always diverts him and always finds a way to relax him without booze; he only drank extensively when they had a trial separation.

The 19 year old brother received (and got out of) a DUI. He drank every weekend, smoked pot, took drugs (nothing too hard, but pills, etc). He was sent to a boot camp run by psychology PHD's, and it largely straightened him out. He doesn't smoke pot or take drugs anymore - or smash windows to get into vacation homes anymore - but he is your average college kid. My parents went to hell and back with him. I drink minimally. The 15 year old tried alcohol, hated it, and hated the way it made him feel. I doubt he'll drink in the future, even socially.

Your daughter sounds like my 19 year old brother in the beginning; immature kids like that need bounds. Do you pay for her cell phone, will she or does she have a car or use of a car? Put those out of bounds for her if she drinks excessively. Also, is she a good student or concerned about college? I never drank in high school because a few parties were busted and kids were given underages, and you have to report underages on college applications (at this point, any serious 4 year college runs your records, so there's no lying about it either). Perhaps deter her with the immediate consequences, like losing her license, getting an underage and suffering with colleges, loss of privileges from you, etc. It's good to stop this negative behavior early on.

What's kept my 19 year old brother on the straight and narrow since the boot camp is talking to my parents constantly. He talks to them more than my 15 year old brother and I do combined. More than anything, your kid needs a lot of parenting, a lot of adult intervention. Talk to them almost constantly - but never seem like you're trying, try talking about other things first, like school or their friends, or the activities they're involved in. Then segue into drinking. Have family dinners often. Encourage her to talk about what's going on in her life. Talk honestly about your life. The more that talking is commonplace, the more she'll feel she can tell you what demons are going on in her head. Be firm, too. I watched my own parents initially let my 19 year old brother set the boundaries and rules and they were permissive with the punishments. Above all, make sure you and your SO are on the same page about everything. A dual effort is needed - one parent can't be weaker than the other.

I'm giving you the perspective not of an adult with kids, but as a kid who watched her brother piddle his life away in high school, and how my parents' parenting tactics factored into the equation early on. Take that as you will.

There's a good chance it won't go anywhere, but the small chance that she could become an alcoholic (since a parent is) and that she could get caught and suffer the consequences when applying to colleges are very real.
#23
Old 02-16-2010, 02:13 PM
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I'd look into some illustrative volunteer work. Go as a family to cook food at a soup kitchen. Volunteer to read to the children in a homeless shelter. Point out to your kids that alcohol and drugs are how 90% of these folks get into this situation. . .

Otherwise, she's looking for boundaries, so give her fairly strict ones. I agree with the advice that drinking always has consequences, but they are less severe if you call for a ride home and are honest about what happened.

At this point I would not be letting her out of the house unless I had the address of where she would be and the phone number. And make sure she has a phoen on her when she goes, even if you have to lend her yours, or just buy a prepaid for the purpose.

Also, don't let the group leave your place until they've made their plans. It can really make all the difference between "Let's see the 8:30 movie" and "let's just cruise by the keg party." Make your home a comfortable and inviting place for them to hang out. A $3 box of brownie mix and a $30 per month Netflix member ship is really all it takes. . .
#24
Old 02-16-2010, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Dangerosa View Post
"Oh, no no no, sweetie. You have misunderstood. We would prefer if you don't drink until you are old enough - which in this country and state is 21. Its illegal at your age, it can be dangerous, it makes you do stupid things, and when you are sixteen - with the emotional roller coaster that sixteen is, you really don't need any chemical assistance in having emotions.

However, we want you to know that if you drink anyways, if you call us for a ride we will pick you up, because we'd rather have you throwing up in the back seat of our car than dead - and dead is a really good possibility when you are a teenager and you drink and drive - or get in the car with someone who has been drinking.

We will not be procuring alcohol for you - that could end up with us in jail and you in a foster home. We will not tolerate parties in this house, that could end up with us in jail and you in a foster home."

Perfect.

My only contribution to this thread is to suggest she watch Campus PD on G4, which is full of drunk teenagers who have thrown up on themselves getting taken to the drunk tank. (I do not watch cop shows, but a lot of this particular show was filmed in my town and a good friend of ours is on it. It's fairly boring except that we get to see our friend on TV.)
#25
Old 02-16-2010, 04:00 PM
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Is it possible to teach her to enjoy alcohol? Is it legal for her to drink at home with a meal, for instance? Perhaps the OP could educate her that way, sharing a bottle of wine with her for the Sunday meal? Then she'd learn which wines go with which foods, alcohol would be de-mystified, and she'd learn to drink responsibly in a controlled environment.
#26
Old 02-16-2010, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Green Bean View Post
Because it's fun. It lowers your inhibitions. It's relaxing. It's rebellious.

If you seriously can't think of any reason why a teenager would drink other than sheer escapism, you're being wilfully obtuse.
Seriously. A teenager drinks for the exact same reasons anyone over the legal age does. These reasons vary with the individual.
#27
Old 02-16-2010, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by TruCelt View Post
I'd look into some illustrative volunteer work. Go as a family to cook food at a soup kitchen. Volunteer to read to the children in a homeless shelter. Point out to your kids that alcohol and drugs are how 90% of these folks get into this situation. . .

Also, don't let the group leave your place until they've made their plans. It can really make all the difference between "Let's see the 8:30 movie" and "let's just cruise by the keg party." Make your home a comfortable and inviting place for them to hang out. A $3 box of brownie mix and a $30 per month Netflix member ship is really all it takes. . .
I wholeheartedly disagree with your first point, but heartily second your second. My brother was, on the surface, a great kid - stellar athlete, decent grades, incredibly likable - he could, and still can, sell ice to Eskimos. Despite being active and busy, he associated himself with rotten people (not exclusively, but often) and did bad things on weekend nights. He'd still be doing those bad things - because he sought the thrill - if he hadn't been forced to make the choice between teetotal boarding school and shaping the hell up.

The homeless shelter/soup kitchen "this is how you get here!" doesn't help kids, IMO. You don't want to try and scare them straight. It's a HUGE jump to a suburban 16 year old to suggesting drinking on weekends might lead to homelessness. It is, however, not a large reach to suggest an underage citation would put her out of reach of her dream college and profession.

Like you said, providing a good environment for them to hang out in is critical. Don't check on them every 30 minutes, cede them the plasma TV, make them snacks, and dress appropriately (light makeup is a plus, mom jeans are not). My 15 year old brother won't have friends over if there's no food in the house and my mom is in PJ's, but damned if he won't take the opportunity if there are cookies, a veggie tray, juice/soda, and the TV's alllllllll his

Last edited by lindsaybluth; 02-16-2010 at 04:23 PM.
#28
Old 02-16-2010, 04:32 PM
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Be supportive and there for her when she wants to talk. Make sure there are negative reprocussions for drinking (though fewer if she calls you for a ride or whatever) and that she understands just how dangerous drinking can be for anyone of any age. Then try to understand that she is an individual who will make her own decisions and it really doesn't matter what you do or say because she will decide on her own how to respond. My brother had two friends die last year from alcohol poisoning and it still hasn't stopped him from drinking himself stupid every day. I knew that alcoholism ran in my family and decided to limit myself to 1 drink per year. We both came from the same family with the same upbringing and approached the situation completely different ways no matter what our parents said. I think most kids are the same way.
#29
Old 02-16-2010, 06:29 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbbth View Post
Be supportive and there for her when she wants to talk. Make sure there are negative reprocussions for drinking (though fewer if she calls you for a ride or whatever) and that she understands just how dangerous drinking can be for anyone of any age. Then try to understand that she is an individual who will make her own decisions and it really doesn't matter what you do or say because she will decide on her own how to respond. My brother had two friends die last year from alcohol poisoning and it still hasn't stopped him from drinking himself stupid every day. I knew that alcoholism ran in my family and decided to limit myself to 1 drink per year. We both came from the same family with the same upbringing and approached the situation completely different ways no matter what our parents said. I think most kids are the same way.
Yep, I have a bunch of alcoholics on my father's side. And I have two sisters. My middle sister and I are occasional drinkers....my baby sister almost managed to drink herself to death before she sobered up. All raised by the same parents - mine did not mystify alcohol and we drank wine with dinner from a young age.
#30
Old 02-16-2010, 08:09 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Planet Funk-O-Tron
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Originally Posted by lindsaybluth View Post
I never drank in high school because a few parties were busted and kids were given underages, and you have to report underages on college applications (at this point, any serious 4 year college runs your records, so there's no lying about it either). Perhaps deter her with the immediate consequences, like losing her license, getting an underage and suffering with colleges, loss of privileges from you, etc. It's good to stop this negative behavior early on.
This is pretty much the biggest sell for some kids but it all depends on the kid's motivation. Stuff like the above made total sense to me, and my sister seems pretty good about it too, for her since she was interested in science/chemistry/biology- I just got to print out some neuroscience journal articles pointing out how alcohol can inhibit and damage brain cells and the fact that our brains especially our prefrontal don't really stop growing until we're around 21-23 years old, and that it's been proven Alcohol can impair the growth and even damage the cells in that area.
(Then I just added the big brotherly thing to do and pointed out since I never really drank, my brain would be bigger than hers and I'd always be able to hold that over her head- that she was my intellectual inferior).

It was one of the easiest sell I've ever done, and I only can wish my kids are as good as my sister was as discussing alcohol and drugs. Only side effect, I think she might actually be smarter than me now. She's crazy focused on her studies and such. I'm jealous and kinda proud.

So I guess it depends on the behaviors and environment- try to figure out what makes your kid tick, and if there's something they're seeking out by doing the behavior, and see if you can create an safer/alternative goal for them to pursue. And if not, then I suppose you can only really focus on trying to improve their safety and judgment skills so that they can at least be safe about it.
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