elisar's picture
elisar

Drinking

It seems like all of the kids drink and I don't know how to handle it. My son, Eli, says he's not drinking and I want to believe him, but I think I am playing the fool. I don't want to harass him. Maybe I should follow him one night and see if I can catch him. My friends think I'm stupid to believe him - they say that all the kids are drinking and why do i think he's so special that he's not? Good question. I don' think he'd lie to me.... what should I do?



elkesmom's picture
elkesmom

I don't have a teenager, I admit. But aren't they going to do what they want to do? Almost no matter what you say? So you just have to try to keep them safe. How about telling him that if he gets in a sticky situation, he can call you for a ride, no questions asked. And tell him to NEVER get in the car with anyone who has been drinking. Don't follow him--if you get caught, he'll never trust you again!

elisar's picture
elisar

Well, this all came to a head over the weekend when one of Eli's friends was pulled over and caught with open booze bottles in her car. She claimed they weren't hers, but the cop arrested her and a friend. I am soooooooooo glad I didn't do anything stupid to Eli, because his friends' arrests made much more of an impact than anything I could've done. Thanks for the good advice, elkesmom!
Elisar

Nanny416's picture
Nanny416

Hello Elisar,

 

My son is 15 in his first year of High School.   He has shared with me that he  has seen students smoking weed and talking about drinking at is school. 

 

My son knows what my values are.  He knows that smoking and drinking is not appropriate for him.   He chooses friends that share our values.

 

Encourage your son to choose friends who have the same values as your family and to stay away from those who may have the potnetial of getting him in trouble.

 

“It's not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it.” - The Golden Girls

elisar's picture
elisar

You are so right, Nanny416! My kids' friends are so influential for them. And, if they pick the right ones, then they will make better decisions. UGH! It's so worrisome having a teenager.
Elisar

cccindy3's picture
cccindy3

Everyone's situation is different.  You don't want to follow your son and lose his trust if you don't have reason to think he would lie to you. 

One thing that has helped me is that my son is involved in extracurricular activities.  Practice keeps him busy mornings and after school and sometimes evenings. He really doesn't have time to get into trouble.  Not only is he involved, but I volunteer my time too.  This helps me to get to know who his friends are and their parents.

Another option might be to invite a few of his friends over.  Get to know them and their parents, encourage them to do things that will keep them out of trouble.

Hope this helps!

anonymom's picture
anonymom

I agree that our children's peer group is very influential.  It
was surprising for me to read recently that, believe it or not, PARENTS
are the number one influence on their children. I guess we should be
proud of that.  Open and honest communication is key.  I say
trust them until you have a reason not to.  I thought the
following articles contained some good information that can guide us in
our parenting.   Enjoy!

http://www.connectwithkids.com/tipsheet/2002/58_feb06/power.html

xanwij's picture
xanwij

Hi! I have a 16 year old son and he's picked the wrong set of friends. Can I still wean him away from his existing group? He's the eldest that's why I didn't know any better and I did not issue enough warnings prior to his entry to teen years. Can i still reverse the situation? Thanks!

Jothegrill's picture
Jothegrill

At times during my teenage years I was the good kid in a group of friends that made some bad choices. I feel like that was a valuable experience and I am grateful that my parents just stepped back and trusted me. I was able to influence them for good, and I felt like I was making my own decisions. It was important that I had a good relationship with my parents though. They talked with me about everything and made sure I felt comfortable talking to them about things. 

Brindy's picture
Brindy

Believe in your son until you know positivly other wise. My son never got into the drinking/drugs etc. either he just turned 23 and is going to marrird in sept. and is still a virgin.

hownaive's picture
hownaive

As a high school teacher who teaches art, where the kids can talk while they work, I hear everything.  I would say that most parents are very naive about what teens are doing. I strongly believe you should NOT assume they are telling the truth. I don't mean you should accuse them of anything and act irrational, I mean keep your ears and eyes open. Also, NEVER, EVER, assume that since lots of teens do it, it makes it OK. Never, ever allow them to drink at home under age, because you are saying it is OK.



There are genes very prevalent in our family for alcoholism. I have tried to educate my sons as much as possible about alcohol abuse just in case they've inherited the genes (its missed me, but I think I can be a carrier, not sure). The more information, the better. Everytime I hear something, or read something about it I share it with them. They may act like they aren't listening, roll their eyes, etc, but some of it is sinking in. They know their grandpa was a severe alcoholic at the age of 16 until the age of 62 when he finally got help, but still died indigent. 

I have one very good idea for you, but your son might not agree to it, but its worth a try. We live on a curve and 3 drunk teens had a very bad accident on our property and at least one wears the experience on his face with a scar that goes diagonally from the top of his head to his chin. That experience had a deep impact on my two boys and the neighbor boys. (The irony is that parents provided the alcohol at the party they had left. So, don't even trust parents!!) When my son turned 16 and I told him he had to pick a way to volunteer (I showed him the list of volunteer opportunities from school) he chose becoming an EMT. It took 6 hours a week for 5 months for the training, but he did very well. He volunteered on a weekly crew for several years (until college got too hard). I am quite certain, thanks to what he has had to witness over and over again, he will never abuse drugs or alcohol, ride with anyone driving drunk, alow his friends to drive drunk, or drive without a seatbelt, etc. But, just in case, I still discuss the topic with him. Now, he knows more about it than I do, thanks to his training. For example, he knows what each breathalyzer test number indicates physically, not just legally. 

Also, in our house, no one's room is off limits. Both boys know that I have free reign of the whole house. I will look in their drawers, etc. If they whine about I just say, "You're a teenager, I'm your parent. That's the way it is." It would be very hard to hide something in the house. Have frank discussions, but don't harass. Also, if you find out he has, take him to an adolescent counselor immediately, even if they only go once or twice. They might just know the best way to tell them straight.

If you yourself have not read a lot or gone to several workshops on teens and alcohol you should.  Recent clinical research about brain development is now suggesting that the drinking age should be raised to 24 because of the different effect alcohol has on the developing brain compared to the adult brain, which for many doesn't fully develop until the age of 24.  Another workshop I went to showed the statistics that when an adolescent is driving drunk they drive fast (frontal lobe not fully developed enough to stop risk taking), when adults drink and drive, they drive slow (alcohol exaggerates the paranoia of the fully-developed frontal lobe of the adult brain). So, which is more deadly? Adolescent drinking and driving. Here is one article about alcohol and the adolescent brain: http://www.duke.edu/~amwhite/Adolescence/.

Be tough and be smart. Eli's future depends on your actions now.