This was the headline in the Boston Globe on Saturday. Not the summertime part, that's mine. In 2010 (the justice system works verrrrry slowly) police were called to a home after getting complaints about noise and underage drinking. One of the party goers was taken to the hospital for alcohol poisoning. Mom was convicted of supplying alcohol to minors and for allowing them to drink in her home. Her sentence is six months in prison. Harsh, I know. But clearly the judge is sending a message to all you parents out there who think that if you allow teens to drink in your home, you are keeping them safe.
We are heading into prom season, warm weather and for teens, party time!!! I have said this a million times, and I will say it a million more times, allowing teens to drink in your home IS NOT SAFE!!!!!! Just because you bought a couple of six packs for the kids and you're thinking;"if I just give them a couple of beers, and then they get a little buzzed, then they won't have to go out partying in the woods." You only know about the beers. What they have heard is this is a house where we can party with permission. "Are you f##king kidding me? Let's get trashed." And trashed they get by packing in any booze they can in their pockets, water bottles, backpacks, pocketbooks, iced tea bottles, coke bottles, etc etc etc.
Do not be naive parents. Do not assume you have any control once you have opened Pandora's box. And as I have said many many times, it is not your right to give permission to another parent's child to drink. You do not know their medical history, their psychological history, their family history, and any drama they might currently be dealing with. And pretending you don't know that kids are drinking at your house is a sham. YOU KNOW!! Be a presence. You may not be able to catch every swig, but at least the kids won't be so relaxed into thinking they can kick back and swig away. You may be saving a child's life by being that pain in the ass parent.
Be clear with your teen that by allowing drinking in the house, he/she is putting you at risk for being arrested. Nothing like a little guilt. Read them the above story. Your kids love you, and wouldn't like visiting you in the slammer. After all, who else would make them their macaroni and cheese and do their laundry? If kids are coming to your house for pre-prom or post-prom parties, or just cause parties, make sure you have a limit on the number of kids who can come. Ask your teen to provide you with a working guest list. Make sure kids enter and leave your house only through the front door, so you can assess their safety. Make sure that any basement/playroom doors to the outdoors are either alarmed or locked. Teens love love love to come in and out as they please, bringing in more people and more contraband. Be aware and be prepared!
Because we are heading into heavy duty party season, you need to have some good, serious discussions about the whole drug and alcohol issue as it relates to safety. Your I Get It moment; " You know honey, I know that now that the weather is warm, and you and your friends have more free time, partying is probably going to be somewhere in your plans. It scares me to think that you might drink too much, and not be aware of how the alcohol can affect you. When you power drink, and do shot after shot, your body just can't tolerate that much alcohol. It can shut down, you could black out, you could trip and fall, you can aspirate on your own vomit, some really ugly things. I need to know that you have a plan to keep yourself safe. I don't want you drinking or doing drugs at all, but I know how easy it is to get caught up in the moment. Let's figure this out together. I love you, and I couldn't bear it if something happened to you."
Be prepared for the eye-rolling, disgust and denial. Do not let it deter you. Love is a pretty strong deterrent.