How Do I Handle Dd's Friend's Drunk Parents? (Updated)

Updated on February 26, 2013
J.H. asks from Collins, OH
14 answers

So we have one of my teen daughter's friends over. We've hosted her numerous times over the last few years and months. It's become more frequent over the last few weeks though. I don't mind at all and have given the girl my phone number so she can call or text me in the middle of the night if she needs to.

Why would she need to?

Her parents are raging alcoholics. Friday night she texted my daughter at 430am asking if she could come over. Unfortunately, my daughter doesn't have her phone at that hour so it went unanswered. (This is why she now has my phone number.) She came over yesterday and her parents went out of town. Her mother texted and said she'd be here by 5 to pick her up. I know that this means she'll tear herself away from the bottle around 6 and start the hour and half drive to our house. They'll probably arrive drunk (if they show up at all) and want to take her home (which is 5 minutes away).

I don't know how to handle this. In the last week, this girl has told me that her parents have been sober for only a couple of hours. She walked into the living room where her parents and their friends were and they were watching a scary movie. She tried to leave the room and one of the friends grabbed her and held down on the couch. She said she hasn't slept much after this.

She knows that our home is always open to her and if she calls, I'll happily come and get her. If she shows up on my doorstep with bags, she's welcome to stay. She has begged me not to confront her parents. (She knows me well enough to know that if I confront them I'm going to lay it all out there. and she's worried that she'll be punished for "airing dirty laundry".) I told her that if they show up drunk today, I will not allow her in the car. There are no ifs ands or buts about it. She will not ride with drunk drivers. I'll drive her home if needed.

I worry for this girl. Her parents don't protect her. I fear her parents friends are going to do something to her worse than they already have. (Grabbing her and holding her down are just the beginning. She's been hit on by them, had inappropriate comments made, etc.) The girl is 14.

What do I do? Do I keep just opening my home and keep my mouth shut? Do I say something? Do I report them? I don't know what to do. Please help me.

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So What Happened?

Parents showed up while I was outside working in the garage and nearly drove over the curb. Hubby grabbed his phone and walked inside. I walked over to the car and before they got the window all the way down, I could smell the alcohol. I just smiled and said "Hey, the girls are being such a big help! They're making dinner while we work out here. Do you think ******* could spend the night and I'll get her to school in the morning?" Mom slurred out a yes. I chatted with them for a few minutes and then they took off. About three minutes after they left I heard police sirens. Hubby had called the police and reported them for drunk driving...and there was an officer right around the corner.

So the girls are hanging out upstairs. I finished organizing part of the garage and we're getting ready to order pizza. (Yes, I lied. The girls were giving each other mani/pedis not cooking dinner.) At least she's safe for now. Tonight I'll ask her what I do all the kids' friends before bed time. "Do you need a hug from a Mom before bed?" I think tonight she might want one. I just hope she knows how much I care.

Tomorrow I'll call a friend of mine, who is also a teacher at the kids' school, and talk to her. She has both of my girls and this friend in class. She'll help me go from here. Thanks all!

Featured Answers



answers from Pittsburgh on

As a citizen of the world, you need to report people who you know are driving drunk.
And, yes, continue to be a safe haven for this girl.
So sad!

5 moms found this helpful

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answers from Oklahoma City on

As long as you realize they will have you arrested for kidnapping their child go ahead. You have no legal right to withhold their child from them. You do not have a breathalyzer test in your home and even if you did it would not be admissible in court so it would be of no use.

When they arrive and are inside your home here is what you can look for:

you can smell alcohol, see them wobble when they walk, slur their words, if their clothing is lopsided or exposing their private parts (lower inhibitions), dropping stuff, swaying while standing still, forgetting what they're saying in the middle of a sentence ( I do this and don't drink though), glassy or red eyes, and perhaps a red flushed face. There are more such as depth perception that you might not be able to see signs of too.

What you can legally do is distract the parents and call the police, tell them that you had a girl spend the night last night and her parent is here to pick her up in their vehicle, that they appear to be drunk. BUT if the other parent is driving and you don't see these signs in them as well they may not be drunk, they might not have even been drinking at all or above the legal limit.

That would be embarrassing for you and not accomplish what you have in mind.

The other way you can accomplish this is for a friend she doesn't know to be in wait. As soon as you let them know the driver is drunk they set it up where they can follow this person, even if it's half a block.

They call the police on their cell and give the tag number stating the car is driving down the wrong side of the street and weaving around, it appears the driver is drunk and OMG there's a kid in the backseat!!!!
This is what owners of child care centers are advised to do in our training classes. We can be arrested and lose our licenses if we don't allow a parent to take their children no matter what the condition the parent is in. We usually detain them long enough for the police to sit outside as if to be watching for speeders. The parents will try to walk straight but always fail. The police officer catches them and it's off the center, or in your case, you would not be the person suspected of getting them stopped for driving drunk.

This is an underhanded way to do it but it is the safest way for you and your family to help this child.

There are also other ways to address this.

Sit down with her teacher(s) at school and tell them what she has told you, ask them if there is anyway that they can have the school counselor visit with her to see how to move forward and help this child. Talk to every person she had contact with, one of them may have the status and professional ability to get through to her so she can help herself and not hide her families issues.

She will grow up to be An Adult Child of Alcoholics which is so hard to overcome, it's all learned behaviors and ingrained very very deeply, it's their normal so they never learn how to be in a normal home.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

CALL CPS!!! Yes, continue to open your home to her. If they EVER show up at your house after driving drunk, it is your civil obligation to call the police. How could you allow that poor girl to get in a car with drunks behind the wheel? Please, call CPS. Don't wait.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

I was so relieved to read that you won't allow her in the car if you even suspect that they're drunk. No matter how uncomfortable a situation, that's your number 1 obligation and I'm relieved that you know that. Many people would want to avoid confrontation or say, "Well, they're the parents and you don't have the right." Yes you do have the right. If you allowed her to get in the car when they're visibly drunk or you suspect that they're drunk, you could hold some accountability legally, and definitely morally. I hope you explained that to the girl.

If they show up drunk, call the police. Drunk driving is illegal, and they'd have to investigate. The police are also mandated reporters to CPS.

Although with what the girl has told you about her parents, you could file a report to CPS yourself. Or you could call the girl's school and speak with the principal about "a concern you have about a student" and relay the entire story to them. Every single person that works in a school, whether they're on duty or not, is a mandated reporter. They can investigate initially in the school, call the police AND CPS, and make sure that there's follow up.

I had to deal with a similar situation.

EDIT: By the way, give the number for CPS to the girl too. SHE can call them herself with each incident.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

If they always show up to your house drunk, tip off the police so they'll be pulled over and caught red handed. They'll have no reason to suspect you and nobody to blame but themselves.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

You definitely need to call Child Protective Services. Be very detailed in telling them what is going on. Also talk with the girl about how, if she feels unsafe, she needs to tell the worker that. She can ask for help. Perhaps you can have the worker come to your house to talk with her. Or, depending on how such things are handled in your area, you can ask a police officer to come talk with her and then he'll file a report and report it to CPS.

If they arrive drunk to pick her up, I'd call the police so that they can witness their behavior. I would never let them take her in their car. It's likely the parents will object which will make a good reason to call the police.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

This is a CPS case not a school guidance counselor's job. Gosh, please stop making the school the cop out for every issue under the sun!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Would you be willing to open your house to her? It may be worth a call to CPS. Figure out how involved you are willing to be. Talk to the girl. Talk to CPS. Take it from there. She's in danger and she needs protection. You are a wonderful person.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

Call Social Services and ask questions. I know you can't do this today.

If they show up at any time to pick her up and they appear to be drunk, call the police. Tell them they can't take her if they are drunk. It might work better if you answer the door and your husband goes to another room and calls the police so they do not hear it. Ask the police to come do a field sobriety test on these parents.

Right now you have the time to sit down and document everything you know about this situation. Put in dates and times that you remember. Keep documenting every occurance. The more documentation you have the better case you can build if you need to.

If you can get them arrested for drunk driving today you will have a stronger case to have this girl taken away from them. I honestly believe taking this girl away from her parents until they can get sober is the best thing for her. She will need an advocate. Someone to speak up for her. Hopefully the parents will be ordered into a rehab program and be sober for a certain amount of time before they are allowed to get custody of they daughter again.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on




answers from College Station on

This is a no brainer- call CPS.


answers from Philadelphia on

hoenstly. that was my home growing up and CPS wont do anything...unless she;s being abused.
What I would do sounds bad

Call cps and file a report J. in case they can do something

Next time have the phone handy, call the non emergency number for the police before hand and ask if they can J. chill around the corner until you call them and give them the heads up they are driving WITH their daughter.

A DUI wont do anything that will affect their daughter BUT being caught diriving drunk with a child WILL. It carries a whole new set of fines. I know you woul;d be putting the child "in danger" for a few moments but hopefully the cops pull them over before they leave the block

I'm not sure that above can be done, but if i was you i'd call the police and ask them if it could or ask for suggestions



answers from Miami on

Jennifer, I'd talk to the guidance counselor. The teacher will just have to go to the counselor about it anyway. The counselor needs to hear first hand from you. Give her a call.


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