Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A "room for improvement" Parenting Story

Parents heed this blog. If you are going to have a group of 9th grade girls(or any age teens for that matter) at your house getting ready for a school dance...BE HOME!

A parent has a 9th grade daughter who was going to a dance at her high school. Part of the fun for girls going to dances is to head over to one of their friend's houses in a group to prepare and pre-party, where hilarity ensues. Having a daughter now grown, I actually have very sweet memories of these getting ready parties. Music and mayhem followed by the parade out the door of coiffed, made-up, and dressed to the nines, beautiful girls.  But I digress. This parent had called the mom whose house the girls were going to earlier in the week and was told that the parents would be home supervising this dressing event. There was an assumption that a ride would be provided to the dance by the parents hosting, and so this parent didn't really give it another thought. On the afternoon of the dance, the parent dropped her daughter off at the house thinking all was well in the world. Parents home, ride to dance, done! Unfortunately this mom didn't think she needed to call the parent again to check on the plan as the other parent sounded firm about being home. But I guess their plans changed, and now those parents would not be home. The host parents entrusted their 15 year daughter to relay that information to her friends, who were "supposed" to relay the information on to their parents. Oh yeah, the girls find out that the parents aren't going to be home, and they are going to run home and tell that to their parents. FAT CHANCE. Huge huge huge mistake in judgement on the host parents part. "F" for putting 15 year olds in charge. No 15 year old that I know would have been honest with their parents about this lack of supervision. They are in major party mode, and are only thinking how much more fun this is going to be now that they are "home alone". I'm sure you know what happens. Yes, girls brought alcohol to the house, pilfered from their own homes. Girls drink the alcohol, and one girl in particular drinks a lot of alcohol, so much so that she falls down drunk during the dance, vomits all over the floor and is brought to the ER for possible alcohol poisoning.  Perhaps if the person who drove the kids to the dance had noticed and interceded the girls might not have gone to the dance in a compromised and potentially dangerous state of being. However the person the host parents had entrusted to drive the girls to the dance was a 20 year old cousin, not exactly the picture of maturity himself. So there you have it."F" for leaving these kids to their own devices particularly before a big social event when kids are particularly hyped to party, and " F" for putting a older teen in charge of the transportation.  Luckily the other girls had only a small amount of alcohol, or so they said, and it was only this one girl who was in such sad shape.

 Here are the takeaways:
  1. Do not leave teens alone in a house especially before a major social event
  2. If your teen is going to "pre-party" at a friends house, make sure you communicate to that parent that if their plans should change, and they can't be home, that you want to be contacted by them personally.
  3. If you are hosting such an event at your home, you should call the other parents personally and let them know the plan, and that they should talk to their kids about the alcohol issue. If anyone is found with any, the parents will be called to pick up their kid. 
  4. Never ever depend on a teen to relay messages about plans like this. They are motivated to find a way to have a good time and if that means a lie of omission, so be it. They want to keep their parents in the dark. How else can they expect to have a good time!
  5. Lock up your alcohol. Your teens are getting their booze from your house.
This may sound like I am excusing the behavior of this group of girls. Of course there should be consequences, but this was a set-up for failure from the beginning. As parents, you have to get that all this party stuff is new and exciting. Your teens are curious and impulsive, a scary combination. Your job is to anticipate possible holes in "their plans" understand that all parents are not responsible and that the buck stops with you!

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