Teen Drinking

by Marinka on October 5, 2011

I consider the fact that my children don’t have access to a car to be a real perk of living in New York City.

I mean, sure, the museums and all this culture that everyone keeps harping about is nice too, but woohoo, suckers, if you think your parents can afford to pay $600 a month garage bill for your car, I want to know where you keep the stash of that stuff that you’re smoking.

The real bonus, of course, is that I don’t have to worry about my soon-to-be-of-driving-age kids driving drunk. But the good news is that I still get to worry about teenage drinking.

Because of what happened to me when I was sixteen. (YES, THAT WAS IN THE LAST CENTURY. WHY DO YOU HAVE TO RUIN EVERYTHING WITH YOUR SNIDE COMMENTS?)

When I was fifteen years old, I attended a Sweet Sixteen birthday celebration in a Russian Restaurant in Brooklyn. The teenage guests were seated across from each other at a long banquet table, a bottle of vodka between every two people. It looked festive. And adult. I did shots all night long.

My papa picked me up hours later, I was beaming. “I won the drinking game!” I boasted and told him about the multiple shots that I’d washed down with wine, for flavor. Papa didn’t seem all that proud. He and Mama wanted to call the police or at the very least break the host’s legs, both of which I’d pleaded with him not to do.

I sweated alcohol for days after that. And I still don’t drink vodka.

But I worry about my kids drinking.

My personal philosophy is that children should not drink alcohol. At all.

I know that it’s unpopular. Some people let their toddlers dunk a pinky in their wine glass and taste it. Others have a glass of wine or champagne on a special occasion, I know of one family that feels comfortable having their teens drink at home.

Last month I attended an adult party with my children and the host offered my 17 year old stepson a beer. “Is that okay?” the host asked me. “No,” I said. “Oh,” he seemed genuinely shocked. “I just wasn’t sure what your family rules are.” “They’re pretty much in line with the state law,” I told him.

But let me tell you, I felt uncomfortable. And pressured. I felt like I had a huge “buzzkill” sign on my back and I didn’t like it. I can’t imagine what it’s like for teenagers to turn down a drink that’s offered by their peer group.

I hope that my children follow my wisdom on abstaining from alcohol. But I heard rumors that children don’t always listen to their parents.

So, would I test my kids? In a heartbeat. SoberLink photographs your child breathing into the alcohol monitoring device and sends it to your phone, together with the blood alcohol reading.

I know that some people would consider it intrusive. As a parent, I’ll take intrusive. And I’ll do anything that I can to help my kids say “no”.

What do you think? How will you discuss alcohol use with your kids?

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

All Fooked Up
Twitter:
October 5, 2011 at 8:35 am

Hmmm…I completely disagree with this. I guess I’m going to need to write about this soon.

I feel My reasons are rational and compelling.

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Marinka October 5, 2011 at 10:46 am

Can’t wait to read it!

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ladyday October 5, 2011 at 8:55 pm

I don’t completely disagree, but I partially disagree. I would love to read your thoughts as well.

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ChiTown Girl October 5, 2011 at 9:00 am

Sponsored post or not, I could not agree with you more!!! We have the exact same views on this subject. Virtual fist bump!

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eevie October 5, 2011 at 9:02 am

I agree with you, only my son is still 5. By the time I need to find out whether he’s engaging in underage drinking, I am sure that his microchip will detect his blood alcohol level and send a message to my inter-cranial-cellphone-substitute. I don’t agree with letting toddlers have any sips of alcohol. Like it or not, but it’s not exactly good for our systems to be drinking, and yes, a drop here or there won’t make a difference in your toddler’s kidneys, but why do it at all? Why tax their systems filtering out the alcohol? I don’t know. I know that 21 is an arbitrary number, but whatever, better to not be in jail for underage drinking.

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Vicki
Twitter:
October 5, 2011 at 10:35 am

I would argue that the fact that you drank too much one time taught you more of a lesson than your parents having to monitor you and tell you it’s bad, which I’m sure they did. Besides, this thing only helps test after the fact.

The only thing that can really prepare kids for a party situation is for them to be constantly told that alcohol is great, but for adults only , and to have a healthy respect for alcohol. In my opinion, this can only be established by having alcohol around the house, and letting them have some wine from time to time, but understanding that it’s mainly for adults. If you treat alcohol like some Secret of Secrets, of course they’ll want to try it the minute they get to college, etc.

And banning kids from drinking until they’re 21 is the reason we have completely dry campuses and no national under-21 alcohol epidemic, amirite?

I think at some point, you’ve parented as much as you can, and when your child, whom you’ve spent 18 years poring your whole being into, is at a friend’s apartment for a party, Black Eyed Peas blasting around them, cool people in True Religion jeans smoking on balconies, and their friends calling them around a tub of Jungle Juice, not even a little electronic device will help, and all that will tell them what to do is the years of backbreaking labor of parenting that you have put into them and the little voice in their back of their mind, which is really your voice, telling them to make the right choice. I think this fact is really scary, and we don’t want it to be this way, which is why we pay for products like Soberlink to fake-reassure us.

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Renee October 5, 2011 at 10:44 am

I completely agree with Vicki. (And, Vicki, thank you for taking the time to write this so that I wouldn’t have to…)

On a (somewhat) unrelated note, I hope you won’t mind some (unsolicited) feedback from a long-time reader/page viewer. If you have a sponsored post, I think you should mention this fact at the top of your post or in the title, not at the very bottom. Just my two cents…

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Marinka October 5, 2011 at 10:50 am

But you can’t have it both ways. It can’t be “for adults only” and then have it available for children (and they are children) sometimes, with the understanding that it’s “mostly” for adults.

Of course there’s an underage drinking epidemic, especially on college campuses. But I don’t fault the law for that. I fault the college administrators who won’t crack down on fraternities/sororities/clubhouses/whatevers who have it.

As for your last paragraph– yes, it’s absolutely scary. Terrifying, even. But when it comes to my kids, I’ll always choose more information, rather than less.

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eevie October 5, 2011 at 11:01 am

Hmm, I have read quite frequently that saying “this is for adults!” is the fastest way to get your child to want to do whatever it is you are reserving only for “adults”. For kids, “adult stuff” doesn’t translate into an understanding that it’s not good for them or that’s something they should avoid; instead, it translates into, “you’re a big kid!! You can drink this, too!”

My parents never had alcohol around the house, and I was at plenty of parties and have said no to alcohol. I wasn’t told “this is healthy but only for adults!” – I was only given straight facts about alcohol, and I also, even at 18, had a strong desire to avoid jail/punishments. *shrug*

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Tanit-Isis October 5, 2011 at 10:40 am

Wow, that camera/breathalyzer thing scares the crap out of me. When would it be used? Is it one of those before-you-drive thingies? WTF? All I can think it would inspire in a teenager is rage, embarrassment, and the intense awareness that your parents didn’t trust you. I think if you’re in a situation where you feel you need that, you’re already well down the wrong road and the whole family probably needs a shrink (and possibly a social worker).

My kids aren’t teenagers (quite) yet, so admittedly it’s still a bit of an abstract thing, but it seems to me that a much better route is a) making clear your expectations and the reasons behind them, b) making sure your kid is in a safe situation when they’re out partying, and c) having a trusting, respectful relationship with your child.

To be honest, I’m not disturbed by teenage drinking. I AM disturbed by teenage binge-drinking, drinking in unsafe situations, and drinking that impacts their school, but I can’t help but think that the fact that teens normally do most of their drinking illicitly, around other teens, rather than around mature responsible adults, can only make the situation worse. And as you point out, that “legal drinking age” never really stops anyone.

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Marta
Twitter:
October 5, 2011 at 10:45 am

I probably the minority in this, but I would definitely not check my children’s alcohol intake on some sort of cell phone/camera device. My parents never gave me alcohol as a teenager, though I certainly drank. I guess I’ve never thought of it (underage drinking) as that terrible of a thing if done within reason. Drunk driving is a whole different story, but that’s applicable at all ages.

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Megan October 5, 2011 at 10:48 am

Right now my son gets twisted when I have a beer, so at the moment it’s not an issue, but it will be addressed. Funny story: He once had a taste of a dessert that was flambed (with his grandparents) and when he found out they used booze in it, insisted that he had to call his parents. He was so upset and freaking out because he had ALCOHOL. It still makes me laugh.

As a teen I was allowed to drink on occasion with my family, the reasoning being that I learn to drink responsibly and that it would take some of the allure out of it. It worked; I didn’t go out and get drunk at parties and always had my wits about me. Until I turned 21, but that’s another story.

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Heather
Twitter:
October 5, 2011 at 10:57 am

Here’s what I like about the SoberLink idea: It gives kids an out. Peer pressure is a powerful force, and this gives kids a way to say, “I really just CAN’T. My mom’s a total bitch and is monitoring me.” I’m totally willing to have my kids’ friends think I’m a bitch if it helps them make better choices.

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Jen @ And Two More Makes FIVE October 5, 2011 at 10:32 pm

YES!!! As Marinka said, how can they possibly turn a drink down if the peer pressure is impossibly strong on us “mature” adults? Something like this gives the teen the out they need to be able to say “no way, my mom will kill me.”

Obviously, you cannot control your children by sheer force…they become craftier and craftier the older they get. Hopefully the device would be implemented with a lot of parental conversation about drinking . I have lupus and – in high school – was on an immunosuppressant that would have killed my liver had I consumed alcohol. I never drank. Ever. I also had an understanding of family members who were alcoholics and a classmate who died in an alcohol-involved car crash in high school. I had enough knowledge to know alcohol had the potential to be enjoyable or dangerous and was taught with enough wisdom to realize that I wasn’t old enough to draw the line between recreational drinking and drinking so much it was dangerous.

Kids are kids. They need limits and it’s our job to set those limits, even when its uncool or unpopular. At the end of the day, their brains are developing and they don’t have the ability to make wise, adult, decisions. Heck, I don’t have the ability to make wise decisions half the time! The issue is that a stupid decision on their part is more likely to result in something horrible and it’s our job to do EVERYTHING we can to try and stop them from making a horrible dumb decisions.

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Loukia October 5, 2011 at 11:02 am

When I was a teenager, I had plans to meet the boy I liked at a house near my house. I was nervous. I was home alone. Naturally, at 9 a.m., I opened a bottle of vodka that was in my parents house, mixed it with some (like, an ounce) of OJ, and chugged it back. I heard that was called a ‘screwdriver’? Anyway. Stupid me. Then, I got on my bike, and somehow made it, alive, to the house the boy was at.

I have never had vodka since, not even in mixed drinks.

I JUST CANNOT DO IT.

I know my children will try alcohol when they’re older, and it scares the crapola out of me.

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Catherine
Twitter:
October 5, 2011 at 11:22 am

I think you’re right on the money. Teenagers are ‘dumb’ enough. They don’t need alcohol thrown in the mix. We have an absolutely no drinking rule in our house. Here, there or anywhere. We do not drink. Keeping your wits about you is imperative for any age of person. Anything less than that is dangerous. Talk about a buzz kill. They’ll get over it. I would totally use one of those blower things on my kids.

It’s a lazy attitude parents have towards their children and the whole concept of trying not to intrude. Society is screwed partly because of that.

Intrude people. They aren’t capable to make such huge decisions without us. If they were they would move out at 8.

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By Word of Mouth Musings
Twitter:
October 5, 2011 at 11:30 am

I grew up in South Africa, my husband in England … drinking age is 18.
Neither of us have ever been binge drinking.
Keeping your kids away from alcohol as The Big Bad and then sending them to college is detrimental to all parties involved.
First keg party your daughter attends, she could end up the party plaything.
First frat house pledge your son attends, he could end up dead …
Extreme, yes – but possible.
Discussing alcohol, talking moderation, having communication with your kids – that will see you thro .. telling them no, I don’t see that being their ‘buzzkill’

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Marinka October 5, 2011 at 11:40 am

I don’t think discussing alcohol and communicating with your children and having a “teenagers should not drink” policy is mutually exclusive. At all. We talk about alcohol a lot at our house.

But I also don’t agree that the way to prepare your children for drinking is to have them drink at home. (When they’re teenagers, not when they’re in their 30s living in our basement)

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Mo
Twitter:
October 5, 2011 at 11:39 am

I disagree with you based on my belief that if you make something out to be that forbidden, dangerous, and completely off limits – your teenager will likely want it even more and sneak around behind your back to get it. I believe older teens can learn responsible use of alcohol at home, under parental supervision, with rules and limits. Which is completely legal. If my daughter wanted to experiment with alcohol, I would rather she do it in a safe environment and learn responsible behavior rather than give it a sense of “taboo” so that she will feel compelled to hide or sneak it. In my family, we drink – socially, responsibly, and legally.

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Marinka October 5, 2011 at 11:44 am

I understand what you mean about The Forbidden Fruit and that’s an excellent point. But isn’t it all on the spectrum. If the parents say “one glass is okay, but not more!” doesn’t that make 2 glasses the “forbidden fruit” and that much more enticing? Especially if the teenager and their teenage brain is already impaired?

I am certainly not providing legal advice here, but I’d caution against thinking that’s legal for teens to drink at home. I mean, it may be legal for them, but not for the parent. And it may vary from state to state.

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Mo
Twitter:
October 5, 2011 at 12:04 pm

In NY (and 29 other states) it is completely legal for all parties involved when a parent allows their own child to drink alcohol on private property. http://drinkingage.procon.org/sourcefiles/NewYorkUnderAgeAlcConsumpLaw.pdf
We only learn how alcohol affects us as individuals, and how much it takes, by actually drinking it. My argument is it’s much better to learn that in a safe environment, before jetting off to college or finding yourself at some party with no way to get home and being drunk for the first time. Of course maturity levels of teens vary greatly. I know it’s cliche, but I have to go back to the old addage that you can die for your country before you can legally have a beer?

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K-Line October 5, 2011 at 12:32 pm

I drunked on vodka as a teenager too. Never touched the stuff since – I’m pretty sure I could have died from alcohol poisoning. Admittedly that was the first of only 2 times I was drunk before my mid 20s – and I always had access to booze. I was offered wine at dinner which I either drank or didn’t. It wasn’t a big deal – and it jibed with my father’s Italian upbringing.

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awesome dude October 5, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Thankfully somebody else broke the SOB’s legs.
I cannot stop drinking since age 14. Not much time is left to try stopping.

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Peajaye October 5, 2011 at 1:09 pm

I totally love and agree with what Heather said about how this device might give teens a way out – peer pressure at that age can be brutal.

And I like your idea, Marinka, about letting kids know how certain things are for adults only. I think there’s pervasive misconception in our society that everything is for everyone, and I don’t think it is. For example, I like that there are NC-17 movies that are for adults only.

But I disagree about the booze on rare occasions. A big treat for us as kids was to have an occasional wine-soaked peach slice in summer for dessert. Or a sip of beer if we finished our asparagus or something we particularly despised. I got drunk on my 18th birthday – when it was legal – promptly got sick and never drank again. I felt very comfortable about not drinking in college or later in clubs, and I believe it’s because there was never any real taboo around it.

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suburbancorrespondent
Twitter:
October 5, 2011 at 1:36 pm

“the fact that teens normally do most of their drinking illicitly, around other teens, rather than around mature responsible adults, can only make the situation worse” – I agree with the commenter who said this.

Of course, if the parents are non-drinkers, then the teens should be expected to comply with that lifestyle. But if the parents drink wine or beer with dinner? I’d think that modeling appropriate (mature) alcohol use is important for your kids. Otherwise they just associate it with binges and barf. There’s nothing wrong with a parent allowing an older teen with half a glass of wine with dinner (occasionally); same as a parent will allow that teen to drive the family car while the parent is in the passenger seat. It’s a teaching opportunity.

As far as this breathalyzer app, however, I can’t picture using it. I am an extremely “in-your-face,” “I’m the adult, do as I say” type parent – but if you are allowing your kid to go to parties where there is illegal drinking happening? Then you’ve already allowed too much freedom. They shouldn’t be in attendance at those sort of gatherings, regardless of whether they are drinking or not. I really cannot think of a realistic situation in which I would use this app. If I thought my kid was somewhere where illegal drinking were going on, I’d drive over and make him leave. I’d also call the police. I really don’t understand when this app would be used for teens!

On the other hand, it could be useful for adults who are not sure whether or not they should drive home…they could use it on themselves.

And I totally wish we lived in the city. We purposely chose a suburb with tons of mass transit and plenty of shops and theaters within walking distance; and the teens are still getting in their parents’ cars and driving around. And the parents let them! I just don’t get it. Teens and cars don’t mix well.

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Mary October 5, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Kids can still drink whether or not there are breathalizer gadgets in cars. Open communication and clear expectations are our best tools for fighting underage drinking. I’m still dealing with communicating about going pee-pee in the potty with my 3 yr old and understanding the babble of my 9mo old. So, I have a lot of learn about teenagers, yet!

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Suniverse
Twitter:
October 5, 2011 at 1:54 pm

I drank early and often – it amazes me know that I started boozing when I was younger than my girl is now. Always at family parties or weddings, where the booze was plentiful and the supervision non-existent.

That being said, I don’t drink anymore [it just doesn’t sit well, all that carbonation and sugar and the shitty feeling the day after], and I am concerned that the girl will start drinking.

So I tell her not to drink, but if she does drink, ONLY to drink what she’s procured herself and what is unopened. Never take a drink from anyone else. Ever. Because of the whole roofie thing, which I’m even more concerned about.

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Tracy@RelativeRides.com
Twitter:
October 5, 2011 at 4:09 pm

I want to start with letting you know that I don’t have children. But it wasn’t long ago that I was a teen. I am always nervous about being too preachy as a parent. I can completely understand wanting the best for your children and everyone’s points are valid, on both sides. I just remember back when I was in college, I worked at this family owned (not my family)convenience store. The mother would preach to everyone on how her daughters followed all the rules, how strict the household was, and how they always did what she told them. One of these rules was “No boys in the house, when no one was home”. She would swear up and down about how this rule was never broken, her girls knew better. Until her 17 year old daughter would come in for her shift and tell me about how she just had sex in her mother’s house while she was here at work. Now I know this wasn’t about underage drinking. But its similar. I guess, like many of you have said, you do the absolute best you can raising your children. Teach them to make good decisions. The rest is in their hands. I remember thinking as this 17 y/o bragged to me, I hope her mom talked to her about safe sex and not just “no boys in the house”.

Thanks for your wonderful post. I love stuff that starts a good discussion.

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Deborah J October 5, 2011 at 9:14 pm

I’m facing this issue at the moment. I have a seventeen year old girl in a country where the legal drinking age is 18.
She is just graduating high school and is one of the youngest in her grade……Therefore she is being invited to parties where there is alcohol, and often no supervision.

Here’s where you have to make a personal decision that really relates to how well you know your young adult. Most importantly…How well do you know their friends?

She’s a responsible girl who seems unlikely to dance on tables. Her friends, male and female including a boyfriend, are more the nerdy and responsible types, than the party crowd. I know at one party she tried a wine cooler…and didn’t like it. At another party there was a drinking game that included shots. Apparently that was not her idea of fun. I’m glad she felt able to share that because we were being non judgemental.
Our only rule is …No cars. No driving to or from the parties, no lifts with friends who may drink. We will drop off, pick up, any and all friends, at any time. Just call.

Soooo we let her go. These are private parties with teens who seem to be looking out for each other. We choose to trust, and keep the communication lines open. To date we feel she is being honest.
Most importantly I think the drinking question is becoming a non issue.
It’s out there, she tried it, it’s not her thing.

Choose your battles….don’t assume they are going to do the wrong thing.
Faced with the same question you were asked Marinka…I honestly would have turned to my daughter and let her answer for herself.
Next year she’s out there in the big bad challenging world and no one will ask my permission then.

Here’s what I believe really strongly. They don’t learn from our mistakes…they learn from their own. If we don’t trust them at 17 to make their own decisions, if we aren’t ready to let go, then we’ve failed as parents.

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Jenn @ Juggling Life October 5, 2011 at 10:18 pm

My real world parenting experience as the mother of (an) almost-17, 18, 21 and 26 year-olds. We never allowed our kids alcohol in our home when they were young and nobody I know would have ever offered somebody else’s 17-year old alcohol–that’s appalling.

-Some teens will drink and some won’t. It’s internal more than anything else. That said, parenting can do a lot toward delaying when they start drinking. 17 or 18 is very different from 14 or 15.

-Modeling responsible drinking behavior is the way you raise teens/young adults who don’t drink and drive. My kids know that I don’t drive after even a single drink and they share their DD plans with me before they go out (post high-school, of course).

-The drinking age should be 18. How can we tell them they’re adults in every way but drinking. It’s doesn’t make sense and the kids know it. Plus, it increases binge drinking.

-If I thought my child would drink and drive they would not have access to a car. Period. So no, I wouldn’t use that device.

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Josette at Halushki October 5, 2011 at 10:47 pm

They tried something like this in PA with wine vending machines. I think there were several ways around it. I’m sure a motivated teen could think of several (hundred) more. I don’t think this is going to stop kids from getting drunk and doing something stupid any more than the state liquor laws.

That said, we don’t do booze for kids. When they are 18 and want to break the law out of my house and take the consequences, that’s a decision I’ll be disappointed with.

This

“-If I thought my child would drink and drive they would not have access to a car. Period. So no, I wouldn’t use that device.”

Yes. My 12yo just put ham in the microwave and almost burned the house down. She’s a bright kid who makes some questionable decisions. Handing over the keys to any car is a looooonnnnngggg way off. Longer than 4 years away, that’s for sure.

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Beth October 5, 2011 at 11:06 pm

I do believe everyone else has pretty much covered the opinions that most can have, so I shall share with you what else I loved/could not get over about your awesome post.

You are Russian and you don’t drink vodka. I find this amusing.

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Anna Lefler
Twitter:
October 6, 2011 at 8:49 am

I am totally, 100% with youm Marinka.

I come from a long line of buzzkills and I intend to carry on that glorious tradition.

Your children are very lucky to have a mom like you. Sappy…but true. 🙂

XO

A.

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Anna Lefler
Twitter:
October 6, 2011 at 8:49 am

Okay, I don’t know who “youm” is. I meant to say “with YOU.”

Argh.

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Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes October 6, 2011 at 9:22 am

I raise my kids under the notion ‘you can taste anything you want’ and ‘a little of everything and of everything a little’ , this includes alchohol and candy. So yes, if the kids want a sip of wine they can have one but not before their xx-‘d birthday (number still under discussion between hubs and me). If they like it, nice. If they don’t even better! More for me!
Did I drink as a teenager, yup. Did I ever drink and drive, nope. We had a professor come by in school with a lovely video of car wreck victims. All youngsters who had drunk a wee bit too many, got in their car for a drive home and then crashed a tree. And when I say ‘lovely’ I actually mean : gory pictures of corpses and dismembered young people often a year older then myself. Before you get all OMG on me, the parents of the youngster gave permission for the footage to be used. And we had a speaker who ended up wheelchaired after a car accident. That was all I needed never to drink and drive. Ever.
Would I use the device with my kids? Only if I felt I couldn’t trust them, but then I wouldn’t let them drive at all…

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Lisa October 6, 2011 at 10:31 am

You can take away the driving issues, but what about the drunk sex issue? If you are telling your kid it is okay to cave to peer pressure, that it’s okay to act like an adult and then you impair their judgement with alcohol (further than their adolescent brain already does) how do keep them from doing the same with sex?

I’m not asking this rhetorically, I really want to know how to protect my kid from sex pressure, in an alcohol culture. I assume I will do what my parents did with alcohol – allow wine at home with dinner on a holiday. Never in any other context, not offer to kids friends. But based on my own experience and what I read in the comments, my kid will have adult-sanctioned opportunities to drink at other homes. I worry about that.

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Mira October 6, 2011 at 10:49 am

Marinka, I suspect you may have wisdom to share on this one. About a year ago, I told my then-4-year-old, “Cigarettes are very bad. They can make people very, very sick.” Good parenting, right? But since then, every time we see someone smoking on the sidewalk, he has to go and SHOUT, “Mommy, look, s/he is smoking a CIGARETTE! That’s really BAD. S/he is gonna DIE!” And not only does he shout this in the immediate vicinity of strangers, he does so in the clear hearing of my very favorite coffee shop person, the one who starts making my latte when I walk in the door. Which means, if you teach your kids about substance abuse, they start, instantly, interfering with YOUR substance abuse. It’s a slippery, slippery slope. So, needless to say, we haven’t quite broached the topic of alcohol (or any other verboten substance) yet. I’m waiting ’til he reaches the age of tact, which from the looks of things, may never happen, ever.

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ladyday October 6, 2011 at 10:54 am

We’ve allowed both our girls (now 18 & 21) to drink moderately at home, when no one else was around (ie, no friends). I would absolutely NEVER ever offer alcohol to someone else’s teen and would be shocked if anyone of my adult friends offered it to my teen (even though *we* let them drink at home). My girls always knew that we would not be allowing their friends to drink at our home….that’s how you get Mommy & Daddy thrown in jail and CPS crawling up your butt.

My mother (who was way more liberal when she was raising me), was shocked when she found out we let my eldest have a drink when she was a senior in High School. I told her, “Would you rather she learn to drink when she goes off to college next year? When she’ll be attending frat parties where the guys have to pay, but girls get in free? Is it better that she get date raped because she’s unaware of how to handle her alcohol intake? Or better yet, die of alcohol poisoning?”

As it was my oldest actually asked her grandparents to pick her up early from Senior Week because she was tired of hanging out with her friends who wanted to drink to the point of throwing up every night. Drinking just wasn’t that big a deal to her.

I think Deborah J said it best above: “Here’s what I believe really strongly. They don’t learn from our mistakes…they learn from their own. If we don’t trust them at 17 to make their own decisions, if we aren’t ready to let go, then we’ve failed as parents.”

Great post Marinka! Obviously we’ve all got a lot to say on the subject.

P.S. I would have been super pissed at that host for offering your step-son a beer. No way should *you* have been the uncomfortable one. Oh and also….everyone make sure you hammer it into your children’s heads (especially girls) to never ever ever accept a drink from someone at a party or a bar unless you see the bartender pouring it. Roofies are for real and they aren’t “fun” like in “The Hangover”. “Watch your drink at all times” is second only to “Always use condoms” in our Raising Teenagers handbook.

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K A B L O O E Y
Twitter:
October 6, 2011 at 2:55 pm

You definitely touched a nerve with this one. I absolutely agree regarding parents who take the “I’d rather have a keg in the basement and know where my kids are drinking” parental crap. Yeah, but then everyone else’s kid is drinking and driving to your house? (I live in the frigging suburbs now.) Good luck with the guilt and lawsuits when one of those poor kid drives up a tree when leaving your party. I’m not on board for total abstinence, though. Don’t studies show that people who have exposure to moderate drinking while growing up are less likely to abuse later in life? Then again, genetics play a supreme role and I’d be answering differently if alcoholism were rampant in my family.

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Meron October 6, 2011 at 9:26 pm

As an actual breathing hormonal teen, I disagree with everyone! As teens are wont to do, I s’pose. Basically, your kids will or won’t drink. They probably will at some point. How much? God knows. Perhaps they’ll abstain. There’s no right way to do it. Every kid is different and so is their environment. If you let your kids go hang out with people who drink? They’ll probably drink. If they hang out with the Purity Club? They’ll probably drink. Eventually. Personally, there’s no alcohol hiding at all in my family. It’s pretty open, just a “don’t break the law” thing not a “it’s fundamentally wrong” thing.
Besides, saying it’s bad will just make them hide it from you if they do drink, not make them stay sober.

I like the post!

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Erin I'm Gonna Kill Him
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October 6, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Great post, Marinka.

I’m not sure where I fall on this debate because I’m such a lightweight and never had a sip – nor registered pressure to – until I was good and legal. I have this naive thought my kids will follow suit, but that’s stupid. I know I won’t be running the household where kids congregate to drink. And I don’t give my kids sips of wine in their bottle. It ruins the the Red Bull taste.

And can you still be Russian if you’ve disavowed Vodka?

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Glamamom
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October 8, 2011 at 12:14 am

I’m over-nighting you my VHS of Footloose.

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Lady Jennie October 10, 2011 at 3:58 pm

I agree with you Marinka. We can be buzz-kill together.

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