A dad of 13 and 17 year old boys gives permission to his 13 year old to have a party at their house. He is home during the party, with full knowledge that these 13 year olds are drinking in the basement. He did not provide them with the booze, but knew they were drinking. Luckily there were no incidents, but you can be sure that this dad's kids got a clear message. It is fine by me to party at our house.
Fast forward to last week. Parents go out for the evening, innocently leaving the 2 boys at home. Now it's the 17 year old's turn and he decides to have a party during the time his parents are enjoying their evening out. Surprise, surprise, a HUGE number of kids showed up, and the neighbors called the local police. Many teens scattered, leaving the booze and the host behind. The 17 year old teen was led out of his house in handcuffs and charged with a minor in possession of alcohol and distributing alcohol to minors. Talk about ruining a lovely evening out without the kids! I haven't heard yet whether the parents were charged with violation of the Social Host Law, but that wouldn't surprise me.
This is why you cannot give your teen permission to drink in your home. Even though you MAY say, you are only allowed to drink when we are home. (which by the way is against the law), what your kids hear is, "We are allowed to drink in our house...cool" The, "you are only allowed to drink when we're home," part does not compute. Teens hear only what they want to hear which in this case is: We can drink at home!! Parents home, parents not home not a part of the integrated information, and it is unrealistic to think that it would be. Parents must must must must must be consistent about messages about alcohol. Your job is always to keep your teen safe. You are not stupid though, and know that teens party, but definitely NOT at your house or with your booze. And you hope that all your daily lectures you are giving them this summer as they leave your house to hang with their friends about safety are parked away in that teenage brain. So maybe they'll have a beer or two, but not the whole six pack. Everything you say and do has real meaning, good and bad!!