If you drank as a teen, don't tell your kids

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse  March 23, 2009 02:21 AM

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I was a pretty tame teenager -- just ask my mom. Or my brothers, who would say that as long as "tame" = "goody-goody" then they'd agree. Sure, I had a mouth on me (what teenager doesn't?), and I churned out reams of bad, angsty poetry (ditto), but I didn't drink, I didn't do drugs, and I had so many extracurricular activities that I didn't even have time to date until I was in college.

But some of my friends? Let's just say that I volunteered with Students Against Drunk Driving for a reason.

Studies by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that about 75 percent of teens have tried alcohol by the time they graduate from high school. As part of the Intel Science Talent Search competition, Chelsea Lynn Jurman, 17, a senior at Rosyln High School in New York, decided to find out what caused this behavior.

A peer drug educator, Jurman wondered what, besides the often-cited peer pressure, was a factor in teen drinking. "Since most of her peers are children of baby boomers -- who may not have spent their youths in an entirely sober fashion, and who often like to be "friends" with their kids -- she wondered what effect a parent talking, frankly, about her own drinking might have on a child," Scientific American reported.

She surveyed 123 teenagers, asking them whether they agreed or disagreed with statements such as “My parents/guardians usually know where I am on weekends or after school,” how often they drank, and whether they knew if their parents had used alcohol as teens.

The results? Not what you'd expect.

Many parents assume that if you crack down on your kids they'll just sneak off and do whatever you don't want them to behind your back. So, some parents err on the side of permissiveness -- if Junior thinks we're OK with it, he's more likely to tell us if he needs help, right?

Well... maybe not.

Jurman's study found that teens who thought that their parents used alcohol as kids were more likely to drink themselves. Why? Well, if their parents drank and they turned out OK, teens think, then they can drink and they'll turn out fine, too. "The perception kids create becomes the reality," Jurman says.

But wait, there's hope. Jurman's study also found that if kids didn't think their parents drank as teenagers, the kids were less likely to experiment with alcohol.

So, what does Jurman suggest parents do to keep their high-school kids from drinking? Don't share stories about your own wild, underage adventures. Be supportive, but be strict about supervision. "Teens are less likely to drink when they are supervised," Jurman's study shows. And model good behavior; "do as I say, not as I do" doesn't cut it anymore.

Lylah M. Alphonse is a Globe staff member and mom and stepmom to five kids. She writes about juggling career and parenthood at The 36-Hour Day and blogs at Write. Edit. Repeat. E-mail her at lalphonse@globe.com.


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24 comments so far...
  1. I've never been one to think that my kids need to know every detail about what I did when I was a teen or college student. I try not to lie to their faces (not too hard - I was a goody goody teen as well), but I won't be there telling them "Yeah, I got drunk off my rear end every week in college - don't you do that, LOL" My mom told me about some of her youthful exploits - when I was a grad student. Before that, info like that was not needed by me. Kids spot hypocrisy a mile a way. If being less than forthcoming with them is best for their development at this stage, then so be it. I don't recall being traumatized by not knowing all the details of my parents' youth.

    Posted by BMS March 23, 09 08:54 AM
  1. Starting when I was very young, My folks would put a little bit of wine in my cup at dinner (mixed with a lot of ginger ale!!). We had alcohol all over the house and a well stocked bar for when they entertained their clients and employees. Every New Year we were allowed to sip champagne, same thing for all celebrations. This did not turn me or my siblings into raging alcoholics, quite the opposite. As a teen, I never drank at all and wondered why kids thought it was a huge deal. Kids would plan to "break in" to their parent's locked liquor cabinets, drink out in the woods, and sneak booze at parties, because apparently it was cool. Its the "forbidden Fruit" syndrome, and I think thats what the problem is - Rather than hiding the fact that you drank, talk about the consequences of disrespecting the limits and the damage that binge drinking does, and it is OK to say that you didn't know better. Teens in other countrieds dontt have widespread alcoholism like americans do, and they learn to drink socially and responsibly.

    Posted by mommelise March 23, 09 09:31 AM
  1. Sorry, but this column does nothing to illuminate the relationship between honest parental/teen communication and substance use by teens. The description of the 'study' is not helpful - were other variables controlled for? Did those parents who were honest about their own drinking in high school continue to drink? What are the other factors that might explain the relationship between communication and substance use?

    This sort of simplified cause/effect assumption is destructive. There is no real scientific information in this column, and pretending that there is simply sets up yet another situation in which one tiny, simple-minded 'study' will, at some future point, be contradicted. One cannot draw any conclusions regarding causality based on this type of study; it is much too small, and insufficiently sophisticated. Further, this type of epidemiological study cannot provide information about cause and effect.

    It might make for a lively discussion, but please don't imply that any information gleaned in this manner is in any way reflective of 'truth'.

    Posted by CMF March 23, 09 09:38 AM
  1. Maybe the point here is...if you drink as a teenager, you DO come out ok. Do people really think lying to your children is a good way to teach them to drink responsibly?

    Posted by Mark D. March 23, 09 10:14 AM
  1. There is a big difference between just telling your kids, yeah I drank in HS/college, but you shouldn't, and then they see their parents drinking around the house each evening/weekend. I for one have been very upfront with my son, but I have given him the real story. The fact that my grades suffered significantly because of my drinking, which in turn hurt my job prospects coming out of college. I also explained how much easier/nicer my lifestyle would have been when I graduated if I had even half the money in the bank that I had spent on drinking. To back this all up, I no longer drink which I think makes the biggest impression of all on my son.

    Posted by roman829 March 23, 09 10:17 AM
  1. mommelise, Fully agreed - this is the approach we're planning to take with our kids (except we don't plan to have a well stocked bar an alcohol all over the house - we like a glass of wine once in a while :).

    Mark. D, if you drink as a teenager, SOME people come out OK. Would you like to induce your kid to take on a high risk behaviour in the hope he won't draw the short end of the stick?

    Posted by HBX March 23, 09 10:34 AM
  1. As a teacher at a boarding school many years ago, I attended a training session on preventing drinking and using drugs. It was run and taught by recovering addicts (mostly heroin, if I recall correctly). They told us the same thing--do not tell your children (or students) if you used alcolhol or drugs in high school. They told us that it seems like you're giving permission to do it, even if you tell them it was bad and not to do it. Exactly what this article states. I believe it--it makes sense and was backed up by these recovering addicts/teachers' experiences.

    Posted by former teacher March 23, 09 10:40 AM
  1. CMF is absolutely correct. This is a survey, not a study. And as mommelise implies, we are approaching this from the wrong angle. The basic assumption has always been that there is something wrong with putting teen-agers and alcohol together. The problem is teen-agers sneaking alcohol, abusing alcohol, and hiding alcoholic consumption.

    Posted by WVW in West Newton March 23, 09 10:43 AM
  1. "The perception kids create becomes the reality,"
    So if the kid perceives that their parents drank as a teen and turned out Ok, they will drink and turn out ok. Nice! Keep those lines of open an honest communication going. Take the mystery and taboo out of it and encourage responsability and control and restraint. Encourage kids to never break the law and never drink and drive.

    Posted by justin March 23, 09 10:45 AM
  1. Children learn what they live. If they see their parents drinking all the time, then they think its okay. If you hide alcohol from them then its forbidden fruit. Talk to them about abusing alcohol and as long as you don't abuse it yourself or hang around with family and friends who don't also then they should be fine. I grew up in a country which produced rum in all its forms, you could by it from the little corner store, it was inexpensive and there is no age limit for drinking alcohol, yet I never had the overwhelming urge to over indulge in the stuff. It was something that was just there, along with sun and the sea, you try not to overdo those also

    Posted by Really!!!!!!! March 23, 09 11:35 AM
  1. Someone should study whether teens who thought that their parents LIED about drinking were more likely to LIE about drinking themselves. Why? Well, if their parents LIED and they turned out OK, teens think, then they can LIE and they'll turn out fine, too.

    Posted by Todd March 23, 09 12:20 PM
  1. I would say that its not SOME people who drink as teenagers and come out ok but MOST (~99%). The few who don't likely have addictive personalities and would require help overcoming addiction no matter what point in time in their life they were introduced to alcohol. Who hasn't had that one party in High School you drank too much at, regretted it, learned from it, and moved on? Building up more and more lies about alcohol is not a way to solve a real problem (which current teen binge drinking is).

    Posted by Mark D. March 23, 09 12:56 PM
  1. >>Encourage kids to never break the law and never drink and drive.

    Fine. Then they shouldn't drink, or did you forget that underage drinking is against the law?

    It's foolish to be trying to teach responsible drinking to a child.

    Posted by Larry March 23, 09 01:00 PM
  1. >>Encourage kids to never break the law and never drink and drive.

    Fine. Then they shouldn't drink, or did you forget that underage drinking is against the law?

    It's foolish to be trying to teach responsible drinking to a child.

    Posted by Larry March 23, 09 01:01 PM
  1. So when your child asks if you drank as a teenager, a parent should lie? Don't you think teenagers are smart enough to know/sense when their parent is lying? So lie to your teenager when you tell them not to lie to you? Do as I say, not as I do, or not as I did?

    I don't think lying is the way to go. But there's a difference between saying, simply, "Yes, I did drink as a teenager" and maybe adding "but in retrospect I don't think it was a good decision" versus regaling them with stories about all the "cool" or "fun" or "hilarious" things you did when you and/or your friends were drinking underage. -- LMA

    Posted by factsNOTfiction March 23, 09 01:05 PM
  1. "The basic assumption has always been that there is something wrong with putting teen-agers and alcohol together" WVW...it's a good assumption. There are studies that show that those who start drinking early are much more likely to become alcoholics or addicts than those who wait until their brains and bodies have matured to introduce themselves to alcohol. Teens don't have the maturity or impulse control to drink safely and not do stupid things like drive, or wander away from a party in the wee hours or the morning and pass out face-down in a swamp. Teens don't drink because they enjoy the taste of a good glass of wine or a robust beer. They drink because it feels good.

    I have the benefit of being able to tell my kids that I didn't drink until I was 21 and know that I am telling the truth. I am also able to point to my brother the addict as an example of what happens to people in my family who start drinking at 15 or 16. There are many kids who drink as teens who will be fine, but a significant number of kids WILL NOT be OK. Hopefully parents in families with a history of alcoholism and addiction will be aware enough of the pattern to warn their children and be extra-vigilent and will be able to trust the parents of their children's friends to be as vigilent. My message to my kids is that "most of your friends will drink and will be fine and will head off to college and good jobs and nice lives. If you drink early you're one the unfortunate ones who WON'T be fine. You'll kiss your future good-bye and spend the rest of your life in and out of re-hab so WAIT a few years and give yourself a chance to have a normal life."

    Posted by Jen March 23, 09 01:23 PM
  1. hm a 17 year old who says that kids drink because their parents did.
    yea. im sure all the 14 to 17 year olds she interviewed, 1 told the truth, and 2. werent just looking to blame someone, like kids always do.

    a better number would be what percentage of kids age 14 to 17 drink regularly.
    if people actually knew that number you would all freak the *&^% out.
    i guarantee 75% is on the low side.
    if you child goes out every friday and saturday night. they are drinking.
    if they ar just going out to hang around. Bingo!
    i dare you to check up on your kids, but you dont.
    if you all realized how many of your precious little girls ae drunk out of their minds bythe middle of each night, youd throw up. in coleges head to the frat houses and apartments, and youlll fins at least 2 or 3 girls completely passed out , i wont trouble you with what happens to them after that. parents are the most naive people inthe world. especially those be my friend parents. boy are you dumb.
    think about the worst you ever did, and know your kids now have accesss to a thousand worse vices, and you start to get a grip.
    Hers all you have to remember about teen drinking, 2 girls within what 3 months or so died walking home from drinking. they went attacked or anything just died.
    wake up. or maybe your kids wont. if you dont belive me, go on the net , make sure you have a good antivirus and do a search for like drunk teen girls, or evenjust teeen girls. and if you can sit there as a parent and not be scared out of your wits, you arent a good parent. oh and please do not hink i am endorsing porn somehow. this stuff is allsick and kids are now part of the norm.

    its scary as hell people, i kid you not.

    Posted by steveh March 23, 09 01:47 PM
  1. To be a credible authority figure as a parent, you can't tell your kids it's OK to drink, smoke, and do drugs at the same time the rest of the world is telling them these things are bad for them. It's a mixed message to a kid and at least subconsciously, he/she is going to think, "My parents don't care enough about me to forbid me from doing things that are bad for me," because teenagers don't yet have the benefit of life experience to give them perspective on these things. Some of us may have boozed our brains out, smoked a ton of pot, etc. when we were kids, and we turned out OK, because we were not the one with the addictive personality and so we were able to grow up, get serious, and stop the excessive partying eventually. Not everyone can do that, and if you tell a teenager that you did it and you turned out OK, so they can too, they're not going to understand that. That's why the kid we all grew up with who had the "cool" parents who let him do whatever he wants was always a screwup. Kids secretly wanting their parents to provide boundaries is not just a cliche.

    Posted by J March 23, 09 02:06 PM
  1. I would like to add that I don't hide alcohol from my kids. They see my husband or myself occasionally having a glass of wine with dinner. But they also see us decide who is the designated driver before we order. And when we had a relative die of alcohol related illness, we made sure that they understood why he had died, but why not everyone who drinks dies - trying to model responsible consumption.

    At the same time, they don't need to hear about my wild college parties in detail. Same as they don't need to know about the first time their father and I had sex. My point is that you can be honest with your kids without spilling every single detail. Seriously, there are some things you do not NEED to know about your parents...

    Posted by BMS March 23, 09 02:14 PM
  1. mommelisse - couldn't agree w/ you more. if alcohol is tolerated and understood as a part of cultural identity (in europe, it sure is), people are much less likely to abuse it. on a trip to southern italy to see family in 1997, my cousin got drunk a few times here and there because there wasn't an age limit. it got old within 3 days and our italian friends were laughing at him for getting blasted every night for 2 days straight, because, well...what's the point? they don't do it over there, certainly not as often or with inferior products like bud light.

    if you were someone who abused alcohol and drugs as a teenager, what possible good does this info do for your child? simply raise them from the beginning with a bottle of wine at dinner every night so they can see that alcohol in moderation is okay, and they will follow your example.

    Posted by FJ March 23, 09 03:16 PM
  1. When these articles say that 75% of teens have tried alcohol, does that include every kid who has ever taken Communion or sat through a Passover seder?

    Hi, slb. If you click on the link in that sentence, it'll take you to more information about the CDC's data. The 75 percent refers to kids who have experimented with alcohol recreationally, not those who might take a sip during a religious ceremony. --LMA

    Posted by slb March 23, 09 11:35 PM
  1. Do you know why I didn't drink in High School? Because I was scared to death of my parents. They made it very clear that drinking was not allowed, or acceptable, and that if I was ever even SUSPECTED of having ingested alcohol, my life would be reduced to a shuttled trip to school and back each day, seeing nothing else beside the walls of my no-TV, no-phone bedroom. Not wanting that to happen, I didn't drink. Knowing my grandparents, I'm pretty sure that my parents both grew up with similar expectations. Guess what? It worked.

    Posted by realfan2004 March 25, 09 04:45 PM
  1. Realfan, maybe it worked for you, but it hasn't worked for millions. The US has the highest rates of binge drinking death and alcoholism AND the most draconian alcohol laws in the developed world. Think the two are unconnected?

    Mommelise is spot on - teaching responsibility is far more sensible than the no no approach that has dismally failed this country. Stop living in a bubble and thinking somehow the US is different to anywhere else in the world, and look closely how other cultures deal with the problem of Alcohol. For what its worth you will not that Iran (where you can face death penalty) has massive problems with hard dugs

    Posted by stevef March 30, 09 12:02 PM
  1. My kids are surrounded by kids whose parents drink at every single function. We are non-drinking parents of 4 and I can count on one hand the number of parents that we know who do not drink. I am very worried about my kids when they are teens- alcohol is going to be very accessible to them- their has been alcohol at birthday parties since my kids were babies!
    I just started a blog about it. to see if there is anyone else like me out there with similar stories... http://unsaucymommy.blogspot.com/

    Posted by Unsaucy Mommy April 9, 09 01:55 PM
 
24 comments so far...
  1. I've never been one to think that my kids need to know every detail about what I did when I was a teen or college student. I try not to lie to their faces (not too hard - I was a goody goody teen as well), but I won't be there telling them "Yeah, I got drunk off my rear end every week in college - don't you do that, LOL" My mom told me about some of her youthful exploits - when I was a grad student. Before that, info like that was not needed by me. Kids spot hypocrisy a mile a way. If being less than forthcoming with them is best for their development at this stage, then so be it. I don't recall being traumatized by not knowing all the details of my parents' youth.

    Posted by BMS March 23, 09 08:54 AM
  1. Starting when I was very young, My folks would put a little bit of wine in my cup at dinner (mixed with a lot of ginger ale!!). We had alcohol all over the house and a well stocked bar for when they entertained their clients and employees. Every New Year we were allowed to sip champagne, same thing for all celebrations. This did not turn me or my siblings into raging alcoholics, quite the opposite. As a teen, I never drank at all and wondered why kids thought it was a huge deal. Kids would plan to "break in" to their parent's locked liquor cabinets, drink out in the woods, and sneak booze at parties, because apparently it was cool. Its the "forbidden Fruit" syndrome, and I think thats what the problem is - Rather than hiding the fact that you drank, talk about the consequences of disrespecting the limits and the damage that binge drinking does, and it is OK to say that you didn't know better. Teens in other countrieds dontt have widespread alcoholism like americans do, and they learn to drink socially and responsibly.

    Posted by mommelise March 23, 09 09:31 AM
  1. Sorry, but this column does nothing to illuminate the relationship between honest parental/teen communication and substance use by teens. The description of the 'study' is not helpful - were other variables controlled for? Did those parents who were honest about their own drinking in high school continue to drink? What are the other factors that might explain the relationship between communication and substance use?

    This sort of simplified cause/effect assumption is destructive. There is no real scientific information in this column, and pretending that there is simply sets up yet another situation in which one tiny, simple-minded 'study' will, at some future point, be contradicted. One cannot draw any conclusions regarding causality based on this type of study; it is much too small, and insufficiently sophisticated. Further, this type of epidemiological study cannot provide information about cause and effect.

    It might make for a lively discussion, but please don't imply that any information gleaned in this manner is in any way reflective of 'truth'.

    Posted by CMF March 23, 09 09:38 AM
  1. Maybe the point here is...if you drink as a teenager, you DO come out ok. Do people really think lying to your children is a good way to teach them to drink responsibly?

    Posted by Mark D. March 23, 09 10:14 AM
  1. There is a big difference between just telling your kids, yeah I drank in HS/college, but you shouldn't, and then they see their parents drinking around the house each evening/weekend. I for one have been very upfront with my son, but I have given him the real story. The fact that my grades suffered significantly because of my drinking, which in turn hurt my job prospects coming out of college. I also explained how much easier/nicer my lifestyle would have been when I graduated if I had even half the money in the bank that I had spent on drinking. To back this all up, I no longer drink which I think makes the biggest impression of all on my son.

    Posted by roman829 March 23, 09 10:17 AM
  1. mommelise, Fully agreed - this is the approach we're planning to take with our kids (except we don't plan to have a well stocked bar an alcohol all over the house - we like a glass of wine once in a while :).

    Mark. D, if you drink as a teenager, SOME people come out OK. Would you like to induce your kid to take on a high risk behaviour in the hope he won't draw the short end of the stick?

    Posted by HBX March 23, 09 10:34 AM
  1. As a teacher at a boarding school many years ago, I attended a training session on preventing drinking and using drugs. It was run and taught by recovering addicts (mostly heroin, if I recall correctly). They told us the same thing--do not tell your children (or students) if you used alcolhol or drugs in high school. They told us that it seems like you're giving permission to do it, even if you tell them it was bad and not to do it. Exactly what this article states. I believe it--it makes sense and was backed up by these recovering addicts/teachers' experiences.

    Posted by former teacher March 23, 09 10:40 AM
  1. CMF is absolutely correct. This is a survey, not a study. And as mommelise implies, we are approaching this from the wrong angle. The basic assumption has always been that there is something wrong with putting teen-agers and alcohol together. The problem is teen-agers sneaking alcohol, abusing alcohol, and hiding alcoholic consumption.

    Posted by WVW in West Newton March 23, 09 10:43 AM
  1. "The perception kids create becomes the reality,"
    So if the kid perceives that their parents drank as a teen and turned out Ok, they will drink and turn out ok. Nice! Keep those lines of open an honest communication going. Take the mystery and taboo out of it and encourage responsability and control and restraint. Encourage kids to never break the law and never drink and drive.

    Posted by justin March 23, 09 10:45 AM
  1. Children learn what they live. If they see their parents drinking all the time, then they think its okay. If you hide alcohol from them then its forbidden fruit. Talk to them about abusing alcohol and as long as you don't abuse it yourself or hang around with family and friends who don't also then they should be fine. I grew up in a country which produced rum in all its forms, you could by it from the little corner store, it was inexpensive and there is no age limit for drinking alcohol, yet I never had the overwhelming urge to over indulge in the stuff. It was something that was just there, along with sun and the sea, you try not to overdo those also

    Posted by Really!!!!!!! March 23, 09 11:35 AM
  1. Someone should study whether teens who thought that their parents LIED about drinking were more likely to LIE about drinking themselves. Why? Well, if their parents LIED and they turned out OK, teens think, then they can LIE and they'll turn out fine, too.

    Posted by Todd March 23, 09 12:20 PM
  1. I would say that its not SOME people who drink as teenagers and come out ok but MOST (~99%). The few who don't likely have addictive personalities and would require help overcoming addiction no matter what point in time in their life they were introduced to alcohol. Who hasn't had that one party in High School you drank too much at, regretted it, learned from it, and moved on? Building up more and more lies about alcohol is not a way to solve a real problem (which current teen binge drinking is).

    Posted by Mark D. March 23, 09 12:56 PM
  1. >>Encourage kids to never break the law and never drink and drive.

    Fine. Then they shouldn't drink, or did you forget that underage drinking is against the law?

    It's foolish to be trying to teach responsible drinking to a child.

    Posted by Larry March 23, 09 01:00 PM
  1. >>Encourage kids to never break the law and never drink and drive.

    Fine. Then they shouldn't drink, or did you forget that underage drinking is against the law?

    It's foolish to be trying to teach responsible drinking to a child.

    Posted by Larry March 23, 09 01:01 PM
  1. So when your child asks if you drank as a teenager, a parent should lie? Don't you think teenagers are smart enough to know/sense when their parent is lying? So lie to your teenager when you tell them not to lie to you? Do as I say, not as I do, or not as I did?

    I don't think lying is the way to go. But there's a difference between saying, simply, "Yes, I did drink as a teenager" and maybe adding "but in retrospect I don't think it was a good decision" versus regaling them with stories about all the "cool" or "fun" or "hilarious" things you did when you and/or your friends were drinking underage. -- LMA

    Posted by factsNOTfiction March 23, 09 01:05 PM
  1. "The basic assumption has always been that there is something wrong with putting teen-agers and alcohol together" WVW...it's a good assumption. There are studies that show that those who start drinking early are much more likely to become alcoholics or addicts than those who wait until their brains and bodies have matured to introduce themselves to alcohol. Teens don't have the maturity or impulse control to drink safely and not do stupid things like drive, or wander away from a party in the wee hours or the morning and pass out face-down in a swamp. Teens don't drink because they enjoy the taste of a good glass of wine or a robust beer. They drink because it feels good.

    I have the benefit of being able to tell my kids that I didn't drink until I was 21 and know that I am telling the truth. I am also able to point to my brother the addict as an example of what happens to people in my family who start drinking at 15 or 16. There are many kids who drink as teens who will be fine, but a significant number of kids WILL NOT be OK. Hopefully parents in families with a history of alcoholism and addiction will be aware enough of the pattern to warn their children and be extra-vigilent and will be able to trust the parents of their children's friends to be as vigilent. My message to my kids is that "most of your friends will drink and will be fine and will head off to college and good jobs and nice lives. If you drink early you're one the unfortunate ones who WON'T be fine. You'll kiss your future good-bye and spend the rest of your life in and out of re-hab so WAIT a few years and give yourself a chance to have a normal life."

    Posted by Jen March 23, 09 01:23 PM
  1. hm a 17 year old who says that kids drink because their parents did.
    yea. im sure all the 14 to 17 year olds she interviewed, 1 told the truth, and 2. werent just looking to blame someone, like kids always do.

    a better number would be what percentage of kids age 14 to 17 drink regularly.
    if people actually knew that number you would all freak the *&^% out.
    i guarantee 75% is on the low side.
    if you child goes out every friday and saturday night. they are drinking.
    if they ar just going out to hang around. Bingo!
    i dare you to check up on your kids, but you dont.
    if you all realized how many of your precious little girls ae drunk out of their minds bythe middle of each night, youd throw up. in coleges head to the frat houses and apartments, and youlll fins at least 2 or 3 girls completely passed out , i wont trouble you with what happens to them after that. parents are the most naive people inthe world. especially those be my friend parents. boy are you dumb.
    think about the worst you ever did, and know your kids now have accesss to a thousand worse vices, and you start to get a grip.
    Hers all you have to remember about teen drinking, 2 girls within what 3 months or so died walking home from drinking. they went attacked or anything just died.
    wake up. or maybe your kids wont. if you dont belive me, go on the net , make sure you have a good antivirus and do a search for like drunk teen girls, or evenjust teeen girls. and if you can sit there as a parent and not be scared out of your wits, you arent a good parent. oh and please do not hink i am endorsing porn somehow. this stuff is allsick and kids are now part of the norm.

    its scary as hell people, i kid you not.

    Posted by steveh March 23, 09 01:47 PM
  1. To be a credible authority figure as a parent, you can't tell your kids it's OK to drink, smoke, and do drugs at the same time the rest of the world is telling them these things are bad for them. It's a mixed message to a kid and at least subconsciously, he/she is going to think, "My parents don't care enough about me to forbid me from doing things that are bad for me," because teenagers don't yet have the benefit of life experience to give them perspective on these things. Some of us may have boozed our brains out, smoked a ton of pot, etc. when we were kids, and we turned out OK, because we were not the one with the addictive personality and so we were able to grow up, get serious, and stop the excessive partying eventually. Not everyone can do that, and if you tell a teenager that you did it and you turned out OK, so they can too, they're not going to understand that. That's why the kid we all grew up with who had the "cool" parents who let him do whatever he wants was always a screwup. Kids secretly wanting their parents to provide boundaries is not just a cliche.

    Posted by J March 23, 09 02:06 PM
  1. I would like to add that I don't hide alcohol from my kids. They see my husband or myself occasionally having a glass of wine with dinner. But they also see us decide who is the designated driver before we order. And when we had a relative die of alcohol related illness, we made sure that they understood why he had died, but why not everyone who drinks dies - trying to model responsible consumption.

    At the same time, they don't need to hear about my wild college parties in detail. Same as they don't need to know about the first time their father and I had sex. My point is that you can be honest with your kids without spilling every single detail. Seriously, there are some things you do not NEED to know about your parents...

    Posted by BMS March 23, 09 02:14 PM
  1. mommelisse - couldn't agree w/ you more. if alcohol is tolerated and understood as a part of cultural identity (in europe, it sure is), people are much less likely to abuse it. on a trip to southern italy to see family in 1997, my cousin got drunk a few times here and there because there wasn't an age limit. it got old within 3 days and our italian friends were laughing at him for getting blasted every night for 2 days straight, because, well...what's the point? they don't do it over there, certainly not as often or with inferior products like bud light.

    if you were someone who abused alcohol and drugs as a teenager, what possible good does this info do for your child? simply raise them from the beginning with a bottle of wine at dinner every night so they can see that alcohol in moderation is okay, and they will follow your example.

    Posted by FJ March 23, 09 03:16 PM
  1. When these articles say that 75% of teens have tried alcohol, does that include every kid who has ever taken Communion or sat through a Passover seder?

    Hi, slb. If you click on the link in that sentence, it'll take you to more information about the CDC's data. The 75 percent refers to kids who have experimented with alcohol recreationally, not those who might take a sip during a religious ceremony. --LMA

    Posted by slb March 23, 09 11:35 PM
  1. Do you know why I didn't drink in High School? Because I was scared to death of my parents. They made it very clear that drinking was not allowed, or acceptable, and that if I was ever even SUSPECTED of having ingested alcohol, my life would be reduced to a shuttled trip to school and back each day, seeing nothing else beside the walls of my no-TV, no-phone bedroom. Not wanting that to happen, I didn't drink. Knowing my grandparents, I'm pretty sure that my parents both grew up with similar expectations. Guess what? It worked.

    Posted by realfan2004 March 25, 09 04:45 PM
  1. Realfan, maybe it worked for you, but it hasn't worked for millions. The US has the highest rates of binge drinking death and alcoholism AND the most draconian alcohol laws in the developed world. Think the two are unconnected?

    Mommelise is spot on - teaching responsibility is far more sensible than the no no approach that has dismally failed this country. Stop living in a bubble and thinking somehow the US is different to anywhere else in the world, and look closely how other cultures deal with the problem of Alcohol. For what its worth you will not that Iran (where you can face death penalty) has massive problems with hard dugs

    Posted by stevef March 30, 09 12:02 PM
  1. My kids are surrounded by kids whose parents drink at every single function. We are non-drinking parents of 4 and I can count on one hand the number of parents that we know who do not drink. I am very worried about my kids when they are teens- alcohol is going to be very accessible to them- their has been alcohol at birthday parties since my kids were babies!
    I just started a blog about it. to see if there is anyone else like me out there with similar stories... http://unsaucymommy.blogspot.com/

    Posted by Unsaucy Mommy April 9, 09 01:55 PM
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Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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