Decades ago, getting caught having a huge blowout while the parents are out of town was high on the list of common teenage problems. Teens drinking and using drugs in secret has always been a concern, but what’s even more disturbing is the increasing number of parents who now seem to have no problem allowing their kids to party in their presence.
Why are Parents Partying with Their Kids?
There are generally two reasons that parents allow their children to party, or worse, supply them with drugs and alcohol. Do you fall into one of these categories?
1. They want to be the “cool” parent.
2. They feel their kids will party regardless, and they want to be around to supervise and reduce harm.
If you’re guilty of having “cool parent” desires, it’s time to reevaluate your choices. Supplying a minor with drugs or alcohol isn't cool. In fact, it’s something that a teen may resent a parent for later in life, especially if he or she ends up with an addiction of some sort.
The job of a parent is to guide and protect a child, not be a friend. On top of that, when a parent allows a teen to party with other teens, they are also putting those children in danger. This may lead to angry confrontations with other parents or possibly even serious legal charges down the line. Typical teenage problems like angst and rebellion will seem like nothing in comparison.
If you’ve ever allowed your kids to drink or use other substances at home in the interest of keeping them safe, you’re making a big mistake. Even if other children aren’t involved, there’s still the possibility of someone finding out and reporting you to Child Protective Services. Kids often don’t stay quiet about things, and if a teacher or coach were to ever overhear your teen bragging about being allowed to drink or smoke weed at home, he or she would be legally obligated to report it.
What Should Parents Do Instead?
It’s good to be there for our kids and realize they will make mistakes. It's fine to be willing to pick your child up from a party if he or she ever calls you and admits to being drunk. It's not okay to provide alcohol or allow partying simply because you believe it will probably happen anyway. Don't encourage bad behavior!
Teenage problems are bound to happen, but you can help avoid them by being aware of who your teen spends time with. Get to know the other parents in your teen’s social circle, start discussions and learn their opinions on teen drinking and drug use. The more you know, the better you’ll be at making decisions that could potentially save your child’s life.