Teenagers & Drinking - Friends with Different Opinions

Updated on June 13, 2015
H.G. asks from Mount Joy, PA
41 answers

I had a rare and long overdue dinner with my two best friends last week. We are pushing 50 years old and all have teenagers between the ages of 15 and 17. Friend #1 with the 17 year old daughter mentioned that she allows her daughter to go the house parties on the weekends where there is almost always drinking. Sometimes this daughter crashes at the party house for the night. I tried to keep an open mind, but I voiced my concern that without parental supervision at these parties (parents are often not home), I worried about her daughter's safety around others who were drinking - perhaps heavily. She seemed unconcerned and hinted that I needed a reality check because "all the kids drink these days" and this is what goes on. Her daughter has a good head on her shoulders, although she likes to hang with the popular crowd. She has come home drunk at least once and needed to be picked up from a party where the police had been called.

Friend #2 with a 16 year old son has had small groups gather at her house where beer has been brought in and consumed. She recently had police show up because of a bond fire in the backyard (you need a permit and neighbors had complained). Police found nobody drunk, but reprimanded my friend and her husband about the situation.

My daughter is 15 and by all accounts, a happy well-adjusted teen. She's pleasant and helpful. She has a great circle of friends and will meet up with one or two of them at the mall or a sweet 16 formal party with family, but that's about it. We are very involved in our church and my daughter enjoys those types of activities. She is also involved at school in the bowling club and sings in the chorus. She just returned from a 4 day competition trip for which she raised all of the $600 herself. She also spent a long weekend with my sister and her husband fishing in another state. My brother in law (new to our family) texted me to say what a great kid we have raised. We're very proud of her. She has expressed an interest in saving herself for marriage and, although I know this can change, I'm happy that she has set this goal for herself.

Friend #1 who tends to travel through life at 200 miles per hour, accused me of sheltering my daughter and not allowing her to do what she thinks every other teenager is doing. I told her that my daughter hasn't asked about going to any "parties" and that I'd have to have more info about a specific request before agreeing to let her attend. I didn't say much during diner because I didn't want it to turn into a heated debate.

After I went home, I thought it through a little more. I thought about how we allow our DD to do things that we think will serve her in the future - things that will teach her how to navigate her way through life. DH and I are very honest about life in general with DD. She has seen more than her share of life in the way of sickness and death in our family (unfortunately). We talk about drugs, alcohol, sex and all the ramifications of abusing them. We've allowed our daughter to have a sip or two of wine or beer in our house at dinner. I shared this discussion with DD and asked if she felt sheltered. She said - why do I need to go to a party to drink and be with people who are drunk? Does anyone realize how dangerous that is for a girl?

So my question is - am I the crazy one here? My friends looked at me like I had two heads and I felt weird from the whole conversation. I all honesty, everyone has the right to raise their children the way they want but I'd like to not be judged for my beliefs. Thoughts?

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answers from Louisville on

The others are trying to be the cool friends of their kids instead of parents - hopefully it does not come back to bite them.

You are doing fine - as her response told you! I'm hoping that the grand I'm raising will have those same values in her head at that age (trying to do that, but also know there are outside things I might not be able to control).

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answers from Chicago on

No you are not the crazy one.

Most teenagers do not make good decisions (brain stage development).

Purposely putting them in situations or giving them substances that will impair their decision making even more is NOT parenting. It is so irresponsible.

Stick to your guns on this one.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

Any parent that justifies what they allow for their child by what others are doing (such as "every kid is doing it" or "all her friends do it") is more concerned with being a friend to their child than a parent.

You can't raise your child by other people's standards.

Good for you and your family for raising your child to become a responsible adult. What a great example you are setting.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

When I was a teen in high school, my mother told me if my friends and I wanted to drink, she would purchase it and we could drink in her housrpe.. Funny thing, all of my friends parents said the same thing.

While a freshman in high school, I was in a few classes with upper class men, even juniors and seniors. I remember being invited to a party of the varsity football team captain for a party. They had a keg and many people were drinking. I did not, but imagine if this was happening now in 2015?

Here in Texas, state law does not allow adults to purchase or serve liqueur to any person under the age of 21, unless they are your own child.... Even then, if this child is under the influence in public, they and the adult can be charged.

Only foolish adults provide liqueur to under aged kids unless they are their own kids, and totally supervised. Yes, parents have been charged for allowing drinking in their homes to other people under aged.

This has made it easy for parents to say no, they will not host parties in there home to other kids if drinking is going to happen.

Let me say, my sister, did not follow this rule. My nephew got busted because he had a party at her home, while he was in high school, with her knowledge.. Pot, beer and all sorts of things. The police picked him up and contacted all of the parents.. Not a good experience for any of them, but my sister laughed it off. Layer on, he totaled his car while driving drunk, but called his dad to pick him up. No police were called or informed. Not good parenting as far as I am concerned and guess who has a family history of alcoholism ?

I think parents set the tone. If they allow illegal behaviors, they need to be prepared for the consequences.

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answers from Washington DC on

oh geez. this is such a loaded question.
obviously it's poor parenting to be all laissez-faire about kids going to wild unsupervised parties every weekend. the 2nd situation still sounds pretty fraught with peril to me, although certainly less so.
but there's such a weird dichotomy in this country. everyone is pounded from cradle to grave with worship for the high life, with boobs and booze and drugs and sex front and center in pretty much all advertising, music and popular culture. but then we tell kids that they can't touch any of it until they're 21, when they'll magically be able to cope.
so i can see both POVs.
i suspect you may have had a more accepting and warm response from your besties if you'd had a conversation with them rather than being just a little on the confrontational and judgmental side.
my boys have rampant alcoholism on both sides of the family, so the teen years were a time for us of much nail-biting, and much discussion about addictions and developing brain patterns and responsible behavior and honesty. we had the 'we'll pick you up no questions asked' rule from the time both could drive, of course.
neither ever took us up on it. i'm not 100% sure that means they shouldn't have.
it was such a tightrope for me to make sure they understood boundaries and rules, and yet to be sure that the lines of communications stayed open. i couldn't (and can't) bear the thought of my kids feeling as if they need to lie to me.
the all-night bonfires with music and flowing booze didn't happen until they were more like 18. 16 seems awfully young. and parents always had to be on the premises. but if i wanted my kids to stay honest with me, and most important of all, stay off the roads, it meant i had to spend some evenings wringing my hands.
i'm sure i was spared details of puking and overdoing.
it's not a comfortable place for a mom to be.
but our philosophy was to set them up for success and to accept that occasional failures happen. i think some great parents do it by controlling and monitoring their teens' every move. it wasn't the way we did it.
as for your final question- you don't want to be judged, but do judge your besties. i'm very sympathetic to your stance, but also understand theirs, and i'm betting they felt somewhat attacked.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

Your kid isn't the one sleeping at drunken house parties or having their bonfire broken up by the police. Your friends probably feel judged by you even if you didn't say anything about their kids, so they are deflecting it back upon your daughter.

You can't change what they do or think, so all you can do is not let their words bother you. Try to avoid the topic in the future if your friendships are otherwise pleasant.

I once posted to Facebook about my kid making honor roll and a friend commented that there is more to life than grades. I found out that her child's grades were barely passing in some subjects. The kid is able but was having behavior issues at the time. Because of this, she was unable to be happy for my kid because it made her feel bad about her own.

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answers from St. Louis on

Were they really burning bonds in a bonfire? Silly kids! :p

Neither of my older kids drank in high school, neither were told they couldn't. I raised them with the ability to make good choices and their choices were their own. My son started drinking in college. My daughter first drank in Vienna at 20 because it was legal there.

At least to my kids the ability to make their own choices is a privilege they are not willing to lose so they always made good choices. I don't know if that would work with other kids or which kids but it woks with mine. What I am saying is there were people who saw my style of parenting as bad and told me as much. I am sure they appreciated me laughing in their face but sorry, my daughter was the one who went to the parties, never drank, kept their kids from driving drunk, having drunk sex, just basically watched over them and you think I didn't parent her well?

I guess I am saying don't look at others as your measure of success. Are your kids happy and healthy, are they making good choices on their own? That is all that is important. She continued the protect her friends all through college. I don't actually think she missed the college party scene.

Oh, this daughter also was a youth leader. Did the chastity lecture at a lot of retreats. It was effective, she was a very popular girl and she actually made her choices seem cool. I digress, she met her boyfriend her freshman year. They were having sex her sophomore year. Ya know what, that was six years ago, they are still together. So in my mind she still made a good choice.

Oh, yeah, last thing I promise. She was the student government president her senior year, she, well we, hosted the prom after party. I had about 200 kids in a modest home! Out of her own money, to protect me and her friends, she hired a secondary, a off duty police officer, who sat on our driveway all night. He let kids come in drunk but no one was allowed to leave without passing a breathalyzer. The threshold was not drunk, if they even had cough syrup they were not allowed to leave. As my daughter put it there will be no statistics tonight.

I guess if I were compelled to criticize anything about your parenting it is that you have so many rules. Let her make some choices herself, she may surprise you with her maturity. But you are doing fine so perhaps don't risk it, up to you, after all you know your kids, not me, not your friends.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Muncie on

Your kids, your rules.

Plan and simple. :)

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answers from Denver on

oh my, letting your kid sleep over where there is alcohol and no supervision. I would consider that neglect. Just continue doing what youre doing and keep an open line of communication with your daughter.

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answers from Boston on

You are not crazy. My parents did the same with me. I had wine/ beer in my own home with them. I never really desired to drink out with my friends. I was always the designated driver if we did go to a house party. I never understood the drinking to get drunk thing. It was gross. A little buzz is ok, but full on drunkiness is just pointless to me.

Your friends are the ones playing with the fire.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I am 100% with you. Parents like your two friends drive me crazy and I have deliberately steered my kids clear from the kids of parents who feel that way. My two oldest (step-daughter and son, both 17, both live with us full time, both HS juniors) are certainly no angels. They sometimes break our house rules and then live with the consequences. I can say with certainty that not every teenager regularly drinks because mine don't. Can I say for certain that they've never had alcohol or weed? No, but it certainly hasn't been with the knowledge of myself or any other adult I know so if they've experimented, the instances have been discreet and few. And I do test my son for drugs a couple of times a year to keep him on his toes (usually there is a rule break that prompts the test) and those have all been negative.

Our rules are that drinking and drugs are 100% unacceptable and consequences for using either would be swift and severe, and that they would be in trouble just for being in the presence of either. If they are in a situation where someone starts drinking or smoking or whatever, they are to call for a ride immediately. This has actually happened to them a few times and they just call and say "I need to go, people are being stupid" and that's that, we pick them up. When they go to someone's house, we always talk to a parent to make sure someone will be home and if the parent isn't someone we know fairly well or is someone who is lax, they simply don't go.

It sounds like you have done a great job raising a smart, responsible girl with a good head on her shoulders. Know that there are plenty of other kids like her with parents like you who don't just accept as fact that "every kid drinks" and enable that blatantly illegal, unhealthy and dangerous behavior
(your friend with the 16 year old boys drinking at her house would have been arrested in my state). Make sure that you continue to enable a healthy, age-appropriate social life for her and her like-minded friends. Continue to be willing to drive them to the movies or the mall, to concerts, or other activities that they enjoy that are not an unsupervised house party. Have them at your house for movies and pizza on a Friday night. Keep doing what you're doing - there's nothing magic about 16 or 17 that makes kids go off the rails and excuses a lax attitude towards drinking.

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answers from Chicago on

I wrote a very long response to this but it got eaten. This response will surely get me in trouble, but I need to feed my kids that are awake now:

From what you wrote, it seems like you questioned your friend first, so you judged first, and then they got on the defense. Now you are trying to validate your choices by judging them further.

Secondly, the relationship of alcohol and drugs to life achievement and "morality" is complicated. Let's not again validate choices by damning others. Many brilliant minds (and presidents) had addictions. Research isn't really clear here. This link (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2583376/) concludes,
"Drawing on a life span developmental contextual approach, we find that heavy teenage alcohol use and disadvantaged social origins combined to diminish male educational attainment. In contrast, heavy alcohol use had little effect on female educational attainment."

Lastly, I don't think there is a correct answer here, the one "way" to navigate this issue. The valedictorian of my brother's class was always stoned. It may be that the way we "school" is the problem here, or maybe kids need to explore in these manners under the safety of parental loving guidance. But the long and the short of it is that you cant' say someone isn't a "good" child because they party. Let's let the research speak, not personal choices and self-validation.(some of this is in response to markasa's comments).

p.s. I just read J. S's response, and I was raised with the ability to make the choice. I did drink and party in HS, but I kept a level head and took care of everyone else --making sure we had a sober driver, etc.) I was very thankful my parents raised me this way because when I got to college, I knew how to navigate lots of situations my peers didn't. One roommate got gang raped at a "little sisters" party. Crazy stuff. She was very sheltered growing up.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Fayetteville on

Your friends are the crazy ones to openly allow their kids to drink at 16-17. They will also be held liable if a child leaves their house with alcohol in their system and gets into an accident. Under 21 they don't even need to blow a .08--any alcohol in their system is illegal. And, if they think for one second that these "friends" parents won't sue, they're crazy!

Look at these statistics from the CDC:


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answers from Cleveland on

I would just say there are 2 years between your daughter and your friend's daughter and a lot can change in two years. So I don't think it's really worth arguing or debating... Things I did at 17 I'd never have done at 15.

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answers from Norfolk on

I think you're fine and your friends are the crazy ones.

Our sons school did an 'Every 15 minutes' presentation this year.
They staged a drunk driving accident complete with school kids done up in bloody stage makeup, police, fire trucks, EMTs and a hearse.

While I think these events are over the top dramatic (they even have a guy dressed up as Death) - I think your friends would benefit from the program - they and their kids are the people the program is trying to reach.


Actually, I'd be pissed at your friends for several reasons.
1 - they are not accepting your way of parenting and pressuring you over it
2 - they are not believing that your daughters choices to not drink are her own
3 - their relaxed parenting and scoffing of laws could very well get YOUR child killed if their kids are driving drunk

I'd really have to think about why I'd want to remain friends with them.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Abilene on

I can tell you there's a lot of drinking going on among teens. My daughter is on Twitter and as I monitor what's going on there I am astonished and saddened about what I see. I am hoping that a lot of it is exaggerated. This has led to lots of continued conversation about drugs, sex and alcohol with my daughter. She is being raised like your daughter. She told me in one of our conversations that she would probably never get drunk because one of her college aged friends is a recovering alcoholic. I had no idea of her friend's past and was heart broken that she's an alcoholic before age 21! I was proud of my daughter on many levels. Because she's interested in a law enforcement career, we've talked about the choices she makes could have different ramifications for her future plans. She blew me away when she told me that more important to her was how could she face her friend and encourage her to stay sober if she weren't willing to do so herself.

"Because everyone else is doing it" is NEVER a sound reason for anything. Both my kids know if they want to persuade me to reconsider a decision made that phrase must not be used. Please know that applies here. DO NOT allow yourself to doubt the decisions you've made regarding your daughter. Walk in your faith and know you're giving your daughter the best gift possible. A loving home with limitations. Continue the foundation you're laying, it will serve her well.


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answers from Boca Raton on

My sons are a lot like your daughter so I get what you're saying.

My sisters and I were much wilder in our teen years, and we often marvel at how our kids don't get into the stuff we did. And we sisters are not the same parents either. My kids homeschool while my nieces and nephews have always, all, gone to public school.

I do think there is a faction in this next generation who have seen the fruitlessness of constant partying.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

You are not the crazy one, I believe you are correct in how you are parenting her. I think your friends are being way too laid back here. It's wonderful that she agrees with you and even says, "why do I need to go to a party to drink?" Good for her!
First off, it's illegal to drink under the age of 21.
Most teens binge drink because they want to party. Coming from a health standpoint, alcohol is much harder on a teen's body...especially the brain. It lowers inhibitions which can and often leads to sex and use of illegal drugs...which leads to regret and problems emotionally. Problems at school often result, relationship problems, on and on. Kids who drink alcohol as teens are way more likely to problem drink into the adult years.
I drank in high school and college and I regret some of the decisions I made as a result of it. I think things turned out fine for me, but would have been different had I not wasted time doing something so terrible to my body. I've seen friends turn into alcoholics, drop out or fail out of school, etc. I will be raising my kids to know better and make smart decisions.
Also want to add that "not everyone drinks". Plenty of the kids do not drink...does your school do a "youth risk behavior survey" by chance? Ask your school's principal to see the results. Even if 50% of the kids admit to drinking, that means that 50% of them are NOT!

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answers from Minneapolis on

Boy, I think that I would have a hard time with friends allowing this to happen! Maybe I'm old school too, but my reasoning is a bit different: drinking under 21 is against the law (in our state, there is no "well if the parent buys, or if consumed in your own home" caveats). I would never allow my kids to think I was ok with "bending" the law simply so the could do something. What a slippery slope! I explained to my kids (when other parents were offering alcohol at parties and I wouldn't let my kids attend) that I may not like the law, I may not agree with the law, but da*n it, IT IS THE LAW! It isn't a morality question, and it isn't a question of "my kids, my rules." If a person doesn't like the rules they are given, then move to a country where you are not breaking the law.

No, you are not the crazy one here. I might be, but you certainly are not!

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answers from Boston on

You are not crazy. The "everyone does it" argument should be coming from the kids, not the parents.

Google "Social Host Laws" - parents who knowingly allow kids to drink on their property, supervised or not, are liable. The penalties are severe. The judges are not interested in being told that a lot of kids drink - they know that.

Friend #1's daughter has come home drunk? How did she get home? Who drove her? How much had that person had to drink? The parents let their daughter fall asleep drunk? She called begging to be picked up before the cops came, and Mom keeps letting her go to these parties?

Friend #2 was reprimanded by the police for serving alcohol to underage kids? Does she plan to brush this off and repeat it? Does she think the police will have a casual conversation with her the next time? What's her plan when the parents of the visiting teens press charges?

They can research "adolescent brain development" on their own. The kids don't have fully developed brains until age 25. Impairing that earlier and earlier doesn't make sense.

I'm not naive. I know a lot of kids drink. My son saw it and was pretty disgusted in high school. He was disgusted in college for about a semester. Then he got tired of being the only one not drinking. He got picked up for "walking drunk" - yes, really. Weaving down the road. College public safety took him back to his dorm but wrote him up, and he had to make the difficult call to us and also inform his track coach. That straightened him out.

We had strict rules about drinking in our home. Did we give him a sip of wine or beer if he wanted it? Sure. We're Jews, and we use wine for sacramental purposes on Friday nights and holidays, and he was allowed a sip always, although we had grape juice as well. His friends came over frequently to hang out in the basement. My husband and I stopped in several times during the evening, bringing snacks and gathering trash, for the express purpose of assessing kids' conditions. Once during a college break, some college friends of one of the high school kids (meaning kids my son didn't know), showed up and came through the basement door (as all the high school kids did). We didn't know about it, and they brought alcohol. My son didn't know how to stop their drinking, and of course they all drank at college. But he did take all their keys. When my husband and I got up the next morning, there was a note slipped under our door that a bunch of kids slept over, with a list of where they were (1 on the basement couch, 1 in the living room, 2 in my son's room, 1 in the guest room, etc. Fine. But when I took one look at 2 of the kids, I realized they were hung over. My husband found a lot of beer and vodka and empties in the basement. We grounded our son. He was indignant because he thought he had done the right thing by taking their keys. We agreed with that part. But he allowed drunk kids to go to sleep with no evaluation of their condition. What if they were so drunk, they died of alcohol poisoning? What about our legal liability even though we were upstairs asleep when the kids arrived?

In your case, I would stick to your principles. I'd discuss these situations with your daughter. I WOULD have a contract with her (google them), including a code word/phrase, that you will pick her up from ANY situation where she's uncomfortable, no questions asked. Kids sometimes want to come home but don't want their friends to know that they asked, so they'll say something innocuous like "Did you buy my shampoo like I asked?" - "shampoo" is the code word meaning "come get me". The kid can then blame you for taking her home. I think these are great techniques. I told my son I was happy to be the bad guy anytime.

Remember that these parties are not just beer - there are other drugs, and many kids are pooling their prescription meds (and those of their parents) into a party pill bowl. Not a good mix.

For the purposes of discussion, I would absolutely separate out your daughter's desire to remain a virgin until marriage. There are kids who drink who don't have sex, and kids who have sex who don't drink. They may fall under the umbrella of "respecting and preserving my body" but not all kids feel this way. It may cause your friends to accuse you of not allowing your daughter to do anything at all. I think it's a BS argument, but I think it would be easier for you, and your daughter, if you held separate discussions about both of them. Her decision to not drink should not be because she's a virgin, you know?

But if your daughter overall is looking to stay healthy and not make decisions that could impair her health and safety, those are great things.

Your friends are headed for a rough time when their kids get in cars with drinkers, or throw up all over the house, or end up in the hospital, or get kicked off teams. They will get no sympathy from the authorities.

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answers from Detroit on

Stick to your guns. Your friends have different parenting styles than you. Don't give in to them. You and hubby sound like terrific parents who raised a daughter who has morals. Unfortunately, not many parents raise their children with high expectations and morals anymore. It's just part of the way our American culture is. Keep your daughter close and keep an open dialogue about peer pressure.

I hope that you and your daughter find friends that share the same philosophies as you do. They are out there, you just have to find them.

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answers from Santa Barbara on

First off "kids these days" is one thing I do not agree with. This has been going on for generations. Honestly I think today the people are more evolved and have to be more careful of their behavior than in the past. It only take one camera phone to destroy a reputation. In the past it was only rumors than were not as big of a deal since college and job application did not watch those rumors. The fraternity boys in the south who said the N word were not only kicked out of school but so was the house. I doubt there would have been much of a punishment in Oklahoma 20 years ago (or 30 years ago, back when you were college aged).

You are helping your daughter by giving her safe and rewarding outlets, and your daughter is choosing to live the life too.

I am trying to give my kids fun safe healthy activities and hope they do not steer to far when they are teens. My son seems to be a rule follower, yet my 5 year old seems to test boundaries. Not sure if this will be amplified as a teen.

No you are not the crazy one. I do not know why they are looking at you like that unless 1. they think you are not seeing the truth (i do not think your daughter is a party girl) or 2. they are thinking just wait until junior/senior year.

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answers from Kansas City on

Sounds like you are doing a fabulous job. Don't let your friends make you second guess yourself or how you are raising your child. My sister is that way, and her 16 year old son has a one and a half year old son. And it's really ok to watch TV in the bedroom with the door closed with girlfriend #2 because it really is a TV room and they're just watching TV. People try to convince themselves that they're the cool parents and whatever their kid wants to do is ok. Whatever. Bravo to you for being the grown up.

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answers from Columbia on

I didn't drink or party with friends until I was moved out of my parent's house and had my own place. And none of my friends' parents served alcohol to minors.

Like Julie S., I was raised to think for myself. I knew the law, understood the ramifications, and chose not to drink or use drugs in my high school years. It seems that it's the kids who think that the rules don't apply to them that get into trouble. I can only imagine how your friends' kids will fare as young adults.

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answers from Chicago on

I don't think any of you are crazy. And you all have different kids. Period.
Yours may not be into that kind of social scene. That's fine. And the others may be, and they're navigating it the best they can and arming their kids to do the same.
Your other friend is making the assumption that your daughter wants to be part of the party scene. Maybe bc all of her kids' friends do.

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answers from Williamsport on

You know you're not the crazy one. You're not doubting yourself. You're very proud of your parenting style and it's results. You know it's not wise (or legal) to let 17 year olds get drunk and crash at parties. You know it's not OK to let underage kids come over and drink alcohol and have bon fires without permits etc.

Likewise, your friends think they are doing the right thing for them in the frame of their own morals and expectations. Maybe because they're the type of parents who act like friends and spoil their kids, or maybe they've thought it through more and really think it's OK, who knows. Maybe they really think you're stifling your kid, or maybe they haven't thought it through and are justifying themselves with false assumptions about you. But whatever. You can't tell people how to parent. Not even your friends. If I passed out little judgements to everyone who parented differently than me, I'd have no friends.

My closest friends my age have younger kids. I'm 45 and we all started late, so we have the differences in parenting little kids, but it will be the same in teen years I'm sure. I parent mine much more strictly than most. But that's my business. I have absolutely no interest in what they would have to say about it, and I cast no aspersions. I sit pleasantly by in total relaxed silence while they let their kids hit them and throw tantrums say they hate them and act like brats knowing I would remove mine in a heart beat for a spanking. But. None of my business. My friends are my friends. If they want advice they'll ask. I would never volunteer, "Hey, you know if you don't crack down on that your kids going to be a hideous teenager" out of the blue. Sort of like "Aren't you concerned about your daughter's safety getting drunk and passing out places at 17?" Obviously, she's not concerned about it if she's telling you they allow it. If the daughter ends up date-raped and pregnant, they can rethink it then. Maybe for now, they just want to be the "cool parents".

My oldest daughter's BFF (both 9) has an iPhone and tons of electronics and billions of toys and is allowed to disrespect her mom and throw fits. My daughter doesn't get to do any of that and doesn't have any of that. But I'm good friends with the BFFs mom and would never criticize. I'm sure she thinks my kids are deprived. But we have a good friendship and manage to accent each others strengths in other adult topics of life.

Opinions are like a__holes, everyone has one. Apparently they don't mind the underage drinking and they've made their decision. You're not going to change their mind. And you also know you're not going to change your mind.

Keep the discussions about other topics and accept your friends for how they are, or prepare to watch the friendships fizzle. Their kids, their problem.

I went through high school in Europe. My 7 year old likes a little medicine cup of beer with his dinner sometimes. We'll let the kids have alcohol here in tiny amounts as teens if they want in the European style. I'm a liberal artsy weirdo. But NO I would never let them host or attend parties with underage drinking. Neither would my kids dad who is a rock musician and parties for a living. We had to get out on our own in the world before we could decide to go party like adults. Our parents didn't support us while we did that. And thus shall it be for our kids.

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answers from Houston on

My first thought is there is a vast gulf between parenting and permissiveness. Our job as parents is to parent not to play friend. However, each of us has to figure out what that looks like for our individual kids.

Secondly kids are individuals and their needs from us as parents are neither identical nor fixed. Two kids from the same parents can turn out totally different based on their own personalities. We as parents can only do so much and then there’s an element which involves hope, prayer, luck and/or breath holding. My parents were permissive with my brother and me. I turned out fine and never got in trouble, big or small. I would say it was in spite of my parents, though. I was able to see the bigger picture, keep myself out of trouble alone, avoid stupid situations my parents never should have allowed me to be in in the first place, understand and respect the law, etc. My brother on the other hand is a born rebel. His attitude was always – “What’s the rule; let’s go challenge it and I’ll pay the consequences later.” The permissiveness was not a good thing for him. He is now an alcoholic. I have no doubt his early, permitted exposure to drunken nonsense is a large part of his problem today. He never heard no where alcohol was concerned. It was always cool. He clearly heard the message – “I am cool. My dad buys me alcohol so he’s cool too. Together we’re both cool cuz we have my buddies over to drink the alcohol bought by my dad.” An unintended consequence was my brother learned to associate a good time with booze. In contrast to our family my friend was raised in a sheltered restrictive environment. She heard a lot of no but was more of a rebel naturally. She kept out of trouble as a teenager because her parents rode herd on her. However, when she went off to college the decisions fell to her and she sucked/sucks at decision making. She has caused herself more grief through poor decision making than you can shake a stick at. Did either set of parents do the right thing? I think it’s a lot greyer than that. Both parents should have been more honest about their children as individuals and tailored their approach to that reality. Even then you still have to hope the kids make decisions which result in more right/good than wrong/bad. A sentiment my mother expressed on her deathbed. She acknowledged how underserved my brother and I had been as children but she was also able to say the decisions ultimately became ours. Her children had to learn, grow, and adapt in spite of their raising because that’s part of what being an adult is all about.

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answers from Baton Rouge on

My kid was allowed to drink at home. She was allowed to drink at other people's houses as long as the other parents were okay with her spending the night.
A few of her friends' parents had a similar philosophy to mine. The kids could drink at our house, BUT they had to hand over their keys befor the first sip, because if they drank at all, they were staying over.
She knew that if she went out and drank, that she could call me to come get her rather than drive herself home.
And as a result of knowing that, she rarely drank. She didn't feel the need to prove anything by getting wasted.

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answers from Portland on

I wouldn't question your approach one second. I would tell your friend you didn't appreciate her remarks.

She's free to do things as she sees fit with her own child. How you raise yours is your business.

I think how people handle these talks (alcohol, sex, drugs..) with their kids is all about teaching responsibility. Sounds like your approach is working for you.

Parents differ on how to get their kids to sleep, how to potty train, when to let kids date ... so long as your child can make good decisions on her own to keep her safe, that's the important thing. You won't always be around. Sounds like girl with good head on her shoulders :)

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answers from Rochester on

You are not in the wrong. Drinking underage can have some serious ramifications. Your daughter sounds like she has a good head on her shoulders.

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answers from San Francisco on

You aren't sheltering your daughter in my opinion. The fact is, if she wants to drink, do drugs or have sex she will. One of my best friends lost her virginity at church camp, when she was barely 16, with a youth pastor! She was every bit a "good, Christian" girl, but she was also sexually curious, as most of us are at that age. So it can happen any time, any where. I would only think you were sheltering your daughter if you didn't allow her out of your sight to have experiences and make choices without adult supervision.

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answers from Boston on

Nope....you are not crazy

At home, hubbie and I have a random drink in front of our almost 14 year old...We feel that this is how he will learn to drink responsibly

No, you are not sheltering your daughter. Letting teens party (and drink) unsupervised is dangerous.

"All the other kids are doing it"? I'm sure your your friend wouldn't feel the same way if they were all literally jumping off the proverbial bridge (OK, so maybe I'm starting to sound like my mother)

Frankly, I think you and I are on the same page

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answers from Washington DC on

Keep doing what you're doing. I think that the parents who allow house parties, heavy drinking, and who knows what else for their 16 yr olds and just shrug are the ones doing a disservice to their children. It is one thing to allow your 18 yr old a glass of wine at Christmas with the family. It is another to ignore that the child is out drinking every weekend. For one, it's underage drinking (way underage) and the child could get arrested, or worse. I had a friend in college who stood up and presented a paper in class talking about how she almost died on her 21st birthday because she drank everything everyone bought her. I've told my sks that story because responsible that they are (so was my friend), bad judgement happens. I would also try to steer my child toward friends whose parents think the way you do and never ever allow weekend overnights or unsupervised parties with those families who think this is OK and "everyone" is drinking. Your friends are playing with fire, literally, if they are allowing drinking parties at their home. They can be arrested.

IMO, also, there is a difference in sheltering a child so they know nothing and sheltering as in protecting from things they cannot yet handle. Sounds like your DD is a well-adjusted young woman.

I think that there's having an open mind and having a mind so open your brain falls out. I agree with someone below who suggested that maybe it's time for you to evaluate these friendships yourself.

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answers from Chicago on

I don't think you're crazy. It sounds like you are raising a responsible young woman that is in control of herself and makes good choices. Even though I get what your friends are saying, I don't agree with it and you don't have to either. You're entitled to your opinion and if they judge you for it, then so be it.

Ironically, I grew up in that house where alcohol was no big deal with my mom saying if you want a beer, you can have it. My house was the go to party house. And having lived that, I can comfortably say that I do not want that as MY house now.

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answers from Minneapolis on

You're not crazy. Sure a lot of teens drink. AND, there are a lot of people, teens and adults, who choose not to drink. It's only because your friends' teens choose to hang around exclusively with a group of other kids who drink that they think this way.

If your friends gave you judgmental looks and comments, they were being rude.

It doesn't sound like your kids and theirs are much alike. Sometimes that just makes conversations more difficult for people to relate to one another. Do you have other things in common besides kids to talk about and to do together? I'd focus on that, or make some distance if that's not possible.

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answers from Orlando on

I would get some new friends...

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answers from Jacksonville on

I think you are doing just fine. I think it is a mistake to "host" parties for underaged kids providing alcohol. BIG mistake.

I have a 16 year old son and 13 yr old daughter. Son has friends over and goes to friend's homes. No alcohol. WE have beer/wine at home semi-regularly. And wine with communion every week at church. We've allowed the kids to share in champagne toasts at home on special occasions (they both disliked it), but only a partial glass, and only at home, without friends over, and when STAYING home (my parent's 50th wedding anniversary, for example).

Do I think my child will abstain from alcohol until he is legal? No. I'm not an idiot. But I don't need to encourage it or make him thing it is perfectly fine for him to experiment while it is still not legal.

Our kids do see us model responsible consumption. Not heavy drinking, not big parties with lots of adults over-consuming. A couple of beers over the course of the evening for my husband, on the weekends, and he doesn't drive after.

I suspect daughter won't care for it when she gets around to it. She doesn't even like to drink soda.

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answers from Minneapolis on

My thought is that both you and your friends are trying to justify their choices and you all feel defensive. I've made the choice not to be friends with certain moms because we feel differently about underage drinking. For the record, NOT every teenager is drinking but sure there is still a lot of it.

I had a conversation with my daughter when she was 16 that it was very easy to be so concrete in her beliefs to never drink underage when she never allowed herself to be in a position of temptation. For myself, I wanted her to be tested while still in the safety of home and she's always declined. She does attend some parties where there is alcohol, but isn't invited to a lot b/c they know she doesn't drink. She's strong in her convictions and I'm proud of her for that, but I also don't think that one stupid night of having a drink would throw off the entire course of her future. I like her to be well-rounded in everything with school, sports, church and life.

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answers from Phoenix on

I agree with you and do the same for our kids. We are Christians and do not drink at ALL in front of our kids, nor do we have it in the house. In the 7 years we have been together, I have seen my husband drink socially maybe 5 times. I don't drink at all.

We have a 12 and 15 yo. I was speaking to a friend from church and kids and alcohol came up. She said something about she tells her girls they can't drink until they turn 21. I asked her why she doesn't encourage them to NOT drink at all? She was like, well, I guess I was just thinking they had to wait until they were of legal age. It literally did not even OCCUR to her to tell them it's ok to NEVER drink alcohol. That made me sad. Especially being a Christian, I would have thought she would have considered that but didn't because her husband and her drink socially and think that's "normal" and what people do.

My kids about 5 years ago were at my moms spending the night when she mixed alcohol with new meds and it freaked them out. My daughter called me to come get them and we did. They have been "anti-alcohol" since then, which is ok with me.

My 15 yo has gone to a friends house when others were there but no drinking has come up. We also try to be open about all the teen concerns and I feel confident that both of them tell us, me especially, if something is going on or they are concerned about something.

My best friend is a Christian, believed it was ok to drink in front of her girls when they were young and at home and taught them alcohol was ok in moderation. Well, now she has 2 girls who are borderline alcoholics and she knows what we tell our kids and she WISHES she had told her girls the same. Because the sad thing is the kids think they can just stop at one and it won't be a problem but we all know that isn't always true. So why start?

So don't worry about what other moms think of you and what you are doing. Keep doing what you feel is right. Good job so far and good luck.



answers from Chicago on

Do what works for you and your daughter. You all actually judged each other and the great thing is that you don't have to agree on how you choose to raise your kid. I'm not trying to be my 17 year old daughter's friend. I have my own friends and they are well over the age of 17. I would not endorse or co-sign any situation that permits underage drinking period. Although, others feel differently. Great! My daughter has actually been in situations where others were drinking and she was confident enough to say no and not participate.

I have a friend who allows her son (over 21) and his friends to smoke weed and drink at her house, has done so for years. She's a heavy drinker herself, so they all hang out together....but that works for a THEM. Don't feel like you should do what they are doing.



answers from Anchorage on

Here is my thoughts. IF she is really just doing what you think she is and is happy and well adjusted then great, but I had a mother I knew would not approve of drinking or the fact I was not a virgin, so I didn't tell her. That line about "why would I want to drink" sounds just like something I would say to put her mind at ease and keep her from nosing around further. I went to parties when I was supposed to be doing other things. I lied and snuck around so she would think I was still her perfect daughter. I kept my grades up and did the things I was supposed to do so no one would suspect. I have told my kids that I understand that parties and drinking are often part of being a teen. We have talked about the dangers of drinking and how it can effect your decision making, and how dangerous it can be to have sex while drinking, especially as boys since even if they are drunker then the girl they will be seen as rapists. We have made it clear that if they drink and drive they will be in a world of trouble, and to make sure they stay safe that they can call us anytime for a ride, no questions asked. There is nothing wrong with wanting your daughter to behave a certain way, but just be careful your expectations don't cause her to feel she has to hide, because if you don't know the truth you can not give her good guidance for what her life is really like.

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