A Drinking Conundrum For Teenagers

Happy New Year to everyone!  Last night, a group of us went out to celebrate the New Year complete with free cab rides back home!

We all have kids of varying ages and the topic came up about drinking–over a beer of course!  In the last post, a good point was made to be neither too strict or too lax on the drinking front to successfully navigate the waters of teenage underage drinking. I felt it made some good points. But another topic came up and we could not come to a consensus on how to best handle it. Hence, I am asking you!

Susan discovered some bottles of booze under her daughter’s bed recently–daughter is either 18 or 19. She does not feel there is a problem in terms of “alcoholism”, but is confused as to how to best handle it.

  • She let her daughter know that she accidentally discovered it while vacuuming the room and was not snooping.
  • She confiscated the bottles.
  • She had a calm discussion, which is where it gets complicated.

She explained that she realized that she was going to drink, but that it was unacceptable in her house as she was not willing to facilitate breaking the law. She expressed her disappointment. But, her daughter came came back with “well, am I supposed to tell you in advance of me doing something bad?”

And that is where the confusion lies.  The right and obvious answer is to no do anything bad or illegal–that is a simple solution , but not so practical. Who of us has not exceeded the speed limit, returned an article of clothing that was worn, got behind the wheel after a few drinks, or even as a teenager had a beer or a smoke?

How would you answer that?

The best I could come up with was to say that she realizes that kids will be tempted to drink and will. Stick with the “not in my house” rule. This somewhat implies a “hide it better next time” mentality or “it’s OK but not here”, but then you re-emphasize the rule about not drinking and driving.

We also got into a discussion about punishment. What is the effective punishment? Grounding? Take away the keys to the car? Death? My suggestion was to lay the guilt trip on and make her understand perfectly clear that this is unacceptable, will not be tolerated, and if there is a next time there will be some incredible consequences.  My thought was that this was the first infraction and going off the deep end of the punishment scale might be a bit much.

Chime in. What are your thoughts? Boy it sure was easier when they were younger wasn’t it?

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