Sheila, “Drinking – With the oldest being diabetic and the temptation to drink looming, I let her sit with adults before she was legal to share a fancy drink or a cooler. I didn’t want her to experiment unsupervised. I was terrified her blood level would go low, and her friends would leave her behind fearing trouble.
Throughout her teens and now into adulthood, she is merely a social drinker. Now 26, she can take it or leave it.” Tip 12
Sheila was born for Motherhood. She was actively engaged with her three kids, a Cub Leader, involved in school programs, and so much more. Parenting seemed effortless for her.
Sheila was as great an indoor Mom as she was an outdoor Mom. Michael loved sleep-overs at Sheila’s, and I loved he was a part of their very special family.
Although Sheila and I were on two ends of the spectrum when it came to teen drinking, she graciously encouraged my perspective, and is always up for a good-ole-debate.
I’ve noticed parents deal with the issue of drinking in a number of different ways. Strategies ranged from, “He can drink only here.” to “He can drink anywhere but here.” and everything in between.
Even entire countries are vastly different in what they will, and will not, allow. In some countries there is no age restriction, others the drinking age is 16, some 21, and some banned entirely. If Sheila was Switzerland, I was Kuwait!
The wide variations in addressing the usage of alcohol is so intriguing. It is no wonder why we struggle as parents.
In my case family baggage, came into play when planning for alcohol to rear its head. I come with a highly alcoholically-charged background. Alcoholism runs rampant, through my family tree, from roots to leaves! I was hyper-sensitive to the effects of alcohol, and did not allow it in our home while raising Michael, not a drop! I was Kuwait!
Of course I knew, it was uncommon for teenagers to wait until the legal age to consume alcohol. I did promoted that, from age 6 – 18. I would highlight research and risk, explaining it was illegal to drink under 19, and if he did, it could involve the police.
In areas where the law is clear, I feel parents can take a ‘free pass,’ a total ban. I would rest on the law, the stated rules, whenever I could. In terms of driving, seat belts, movies, video games, social media, and drinking. I would point to the law, or the rules. If there was a rule stating you had to be 13+, 16, or 19, then I was not to blame. It was a non-negotiable. “Take it up with the courts.”
I myself, welcomed any rationale enabling me to delay risk. The law was my easy way out. I felt if I were to condone breaking one law, or bending the rules for any particular reason, how could I demand strict adherence of another?
In my opinion, it is the thought and careful consideration which makes the difference. Providing rationales to the kids, and informing them on risk and responsibility is important.
Education is key.
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Next week, Lisa on bullying.