Punishment for Teen!

Updated on October 09, 2015
S.S. asks from New York, NY
12 answers

My 15 yr old (who has never been in trouble and never even goes out on the weekends) came home two weeks ago drunk...my husband and I were furious and highly disappointed, let alone shocked he would even do it! (I know it's typical for teens at some point, but he has always expressed how stupid his peers were for drinking or smoking)
So he had his phone taken away and is not allowed to do anything. .the question is how long should we keep him grounded? ????....we both feel like this was a huge mess up on his part...

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone!

We actually picked him up from a friend's house (I had a feeling something was wrong) * supposedly an older cousin of another friend got the beer for them*** besides taking the phone and not letting him have a social life we also make him do extra chores, etc...also I have spoken to him about every single thing that can go wrong and what can happen.etc, etc.
I just wasn't sure how long his punishment should be...thanks for your input :)

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answers from Anchorage on

I am torn on this one to be honest. I have always told my sons that if they end up impaired they can call me for a ride anytime with no fear of trouble, that as long as they are safe and don't drink and drive or ride with anyone who has been drinking we understand it is normal teenage experimentation. My fear is that if I am not sensitive to the realities of what it means to be a teen then they will simply start sneaking around and lying and then I will have no idea if they are getting into real trouble or not. I would just explain that I am disappointed in his behavior and let the hang over be his punishment, especially if this was his first time.

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answers from Appleton on

I wouldn't go to crazy over ONE drinking episode. I know drinking is bad for teens but it's better he got stupid drunk and came home rather than crashing at a friends and you never knowing about it.
I'm not sure grounding is an effective way to handle drinking. It would be better if he had gotten a huge hangover with the headache and vomiting and you make him do a chore that will only make him feel worse. Something like painting, spreading manure (fertilizer), cleaning out attic or basement the smell and heat and dust would have really given him a headache and upset stomach.

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answers from St. Louis on

I have to ask, is he begging for attention? You only have one other post about him, he had nude photos on his phone, you said you lectured the heck out of him and clearly he got his phone back since you took it away two weeks ago. I know there was a lot of normal teen behavior on that post but actually it isn't.

Now this.

I mean I could be wrong but this seems more like a cry for attention than a need to be drunk. If that is the case this is just going to keep getting worse. I guess I am saying instead of focusing on the perfect punishment talk to him, not at him, and find out why

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answers from San Francisco on

I don't know your kid, but like ReverendRuby, I wouldn't go crazy over ONE drinking episode, either. I assume at 15 that he wasn't driving.

To me, teens drinking occasionally is normal, as long as they aren't driving. But ultimately for me it depends on how the teen is doing in all other aspects of his/her life, as to whether it's a red flag and something that needs to be dealt with seriously or is something that just requires a discussion.

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answers from Norfolk on

Oh dear.
This brings back some embarrassing memories.
I did this precisely once.
The hang over was beyond horrible - my head hurt, my hair hurt, my stomach was raw and felt inside out.
I don't remember specifically what the punishment was - I was grounded for a few weeks - but I wanted to be - and I had to earn my Moms trust back.

She sat me down WHILE I was in pain the next morning and said
"So. Is this what it's going to be now? Barfing up drunk when ever I turn my back? Are you going to do this again? What possessed you to try this?" etc and so forth.
She sort of wanted to blame my friends but I was under a lot of pressure as it was, and she wasn't aware that the friends she was blaming I didn't even see anymore.
She LISTENED to me - which was the biggest help.
AND she watched me like a hawk for awhile.
And I NEVER to this DAY got so blotto drunk again.
You've got to work back to a point where he's earned your trust again.
He needs to be able to recover from this and move forward.

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answers from Washington DC on

You can't continue to punish him. When this happened, you should have been prepared to deal out punishment then and there. You took his phone away. How long did you tell him he was grounded for?

If you add more stuff on now?? It will cause resentment.

He knows what he did was wrong, right? Did you bother to ASK why he allowed this to happen? WHY did this happen?

Was he alone?
WHO provided him with the alcohol?

What would I do if this were my son?? No social life. Take him to school and pick him up from school. This would happen for 2 weeks.

I would let him know how disappointed I was in his actions. Loss of trust is huge...especially so close to driving age...

I would let him know that if he has the desire to drink - he needs to communicate with you and his father. I don't condone teenage drinking. I know my daughter (now 29) was fighting the urge to drink as "everyone was doing it". I grew up with alcohol NOT being taboo - however - if I was going to drink? I needed to do it with my parents. Not out and about. Period. End of story. If there is something more going on - peer pressure, desire for alcohol? I would communicate with him and take him to an Ala-non class so he can see the signs and deal with things. You have to be OPEN with him. YOU MUST be the safe place to go or he will turn to someone else. Let him know you love him unconditionally but are truly disappointed in his behavior.

Good luck!

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I think you've done enough BUT I'd be going after the person who provided the drink to him with a vengeance. They'd be shaking in their boots and hiding from me and the police because I'd be searching for them 24 hours per day. People who buy underage people alcohol are lower than low.

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answers from Boston on

Ugh - the first time that happens, it's always so awful. I guess the first thing to do is to check your assumptions at the door, and realize that most kids do it at some point. Yes, he always said it was stupid, but he (and you) have learned a powerful lesson about curiosity and peer pressure and teen judgment.

I agree with taking away the phone and grounding him - the point you should make is that he has demonstrated his immaturity and poor judgment, and therefore he sacrifices the privileges of maturity and good judgment.

I think it's also a good time to discuss how he got the alcohol and (more importantly) how he got home. Was he driven by someone impaired? How many kids were involved, and what was the risk of alcohol poisoning if any of them went to sleep or passed out?

Google "teen contracts" and that sort of thing, and look at many agreements that can be spelled out between parent and child. What you want is an arrangement whereby your teen can call you at any time, day or night, to tell you he needs to be picked up or extricated from a difficult situation (whether he is impaired or others are). The essential element is that, if he calls you, there is no arguing and no yelling and no imposition of penalties -- it's a "no questions asked" deal. There is also a code word or phrase you can use so that your child doesn't have to say anything in front of his friends, and he can blame you as "the bad guys" for picking him up or making him come home. That lets him save face, and also be safe. Very important. I'd spend the next 2 weeks working on that with your husband, and present it to him with the lifting of sanctions. You both sign it.

Also find out what the policies and penalties are at his high school for kids engaging in these behaviors. Many kids get kicked off teams and so on. There's also some role for education about alcohol poisoning, safety techniques, and the development of the adolescent brain. Sometimes that's better done by school resource officers than

Once the 2 week period is up (or whatever you decide), you can start to ease up the restrictions even if you don't lift them entirely. Some people also let kids earn back their privileges through hard work as well as demonstration of greater maturity and recognition of what he did wrong. Moaning or whining or door slamming shows immaturity and all lengthen the punishment.

Good luck - overall, use it as a learning experience for him but also a bonding experience for you all, rather than just an imposition of dictatorial decrees (which is absolutely how you feel at this point but which won't be successful overall).

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answers from Los Angeles on

If it has been two weeks, I think he has more than served his time for this incident. Hopefully he at least came home with someone who was sober. If he accepted a ride from a drunk friend, then further punishment would make sense. It isn't uncommon for high school kids to get drunk, so now that you know he may do it again, the important thing is to discuss how to do it responsibly.

Make sure he knows that if he does not have a sober ride home, he can call you for a ride without getting punished for making you come get him. Far better to head out at midnight in your PJs than for him to take a ride from someone that was drinking.

I wouldn't consider it a huge mess up... I just think it's pretty normal teenage behavior, unfortunately.

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answers from Wausau on

The logical consequence for your is not being allowed out without supervision. The duration is until you and he have resolved whatever it was that led to this happening. The phone part seems simply punitive, unless having a phone somehow led to the drinking. You didn't mention what cirumstances led to the situation, but in your shoes I'd want to know:

Where was he? How did he aquire alcohol? Does someone's parents need to be informed that their child and yours stole from their stash? Did someone buy alcohol for minors and need to be charged? Etc.

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answers from Beaumont on

My reaction, due to my negative interactions with friends who drank too much in college, would be drastic. Yeah, grounded for about 2 weeks but I'd make him attend some Al-Anon meetings so he can make an educated decision on the path he wants to take.

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answers from Gainesville on

You were correct in thinking that it was a huge mess up on his part! It is a life-changing decision for him as well as you as parents. I'd give him tasks of physical labor so he had ample time to dwell on poor decision choices he made when he chose to drink. I would then let him know that he had another opportunity to make the right choice, as none of us are perfect. He would be allowed to have his privileges back, however if he ever made the wrong decision again, he would never be allowed to have driving privileges nor own a car until he was an adult. Sorry you had to encounter this obstacle. You sound like a great parent. Being tough now will help him to remember better choices in the future.

1 mom found this helpful
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