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Stressed about teen drinking alcohol - any suggestions?

Discussion in 'Parents of Teens' started by kelzer, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. wilf

    wilf Approved members

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    If dead kids is what US policy makers are concerned about, then they could prevent kids deaths more effectively by:
    - not allowing firearm possession until age 21;
    - not allowing driving until age 21;
    - not allowing military service before age 21.

    The thing is, for the most part US lawmakers don't think much about the deaths of kids. They think about getting re-elected, about their "constituencies", about lobbyists and pressure groups, about funding sources, about their party's policies, about their "image" in the media, and other concerns.

    There is another model for dealing with teen drinking, namely that of most European countries. Canada is somewhere between the US and Europe - we have laws on the books against teen drinking, but these are seldom enforced (except when it comes to alcohol in motor vehicles and/or drunk driving).. :cwds:
     
  2. miss_behave

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    Out of interest, what do you guys in the US think about 18-20 year olds drinking, I mean, if you take the fact that its illegal out of the equation? Do you think it is too young? I know that most of us here find it a foreign concept that in the US at age 18 one can: get married, own a firearm, go to an adult prison, have sex, vote, drive a car, get a credit card, take out loans and fight in wars, but cannot have a beer. I have always wondered about this. Do you think the legal drinking age of 21 in any way reduces harm caused by alcohol in young adults? I know it often comes up here that the drinking age should be raised, but to me it just seems it would encourage more underage drinking and young people getting in legal trouble (which could affect their lives later on) and perhaps increase the appeal of drinking in the same way that a subset of youth smoke cigarettes just be "rebellious" and "look cool." In many cases, the more you try dissuade a young person from doing something, the more appealing it becomes.

    Has anyone lived in different countries with different alcohol laws and seen a major difference?
     
  3. emm142

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    I think that's a really interesting question, and I hope that someone can answer it. Personally, I'm always shocked by the low driving ages in many states in America, so I can understand why people from the US might be shocked about the low drinking age over here.
     
  4. Flutterby

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    The legal age for drinking has bounced around, 18,20 and 21.. it hasn't changed in a long time.. and most likely it won't change. I personally would like to see the legal drinking age for those in the military lowered to age 18.. I think if you can serve for this country you should be able to legally drink. I don't see a problem with it being 21 for everyone else.. I don't kno why they come up with the magical age of 21.. but then again, you are a legal adult at the age of 18. As for driving at 16, there are many laws in place now for getting your license at 16.. may restrictions that didn't use to be there. Not driving at certain times, how many people you can have in the car, and laws that are pretty strong if you get caught speeding or breaking any of the laws.

    Having a sip of wine at dinner, at a wedding or other special occassion is completely different than sneaking out and drinking with friends.
     
  5. Lee

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    I cannot even begin to understand how you can think that drug use and alcohol abuse do not harm others.

    It really blows me away. Especially after having a meth clinic that blew up locally a few years ago and took out a few neighbors as well...

    I can't even begin to wrap my brain around your thinking.
     
  6. swellman

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    I, too, have issue that an 18 year old can have responsibility for weapons of mass destruction and put their limbs and lives at risk but can't drink but I would rather raise the age of enlistment than lower the drinking age.

    I'm no fan of "protect the stupid" laws like seat belt laws but I would rather have them on the books, not to protect the adult morons who don't wear them, but to encourage the under 21 year olds to wear them. I wouldn't even care if they never enforced them on over 21 adults and, to be truthful, the more 16 year olds I meet the more I think a driver's license under 18 is questionable.

    While I don't disagree that there might be disparate laws concerning the health and safety of children it's irrelevant to the discussion at hand. I don't disagree that by implementing laws that address the top statistical causes of death we could further reduce deaths of children under 21 however that, in no way, has ANY bearing whether our drinking laws reduce the number of deaths. I was in college when the drinking laws changed from 18 to 21 and I can tell you first hand that it made a big difference - a BIG difference. The reason(s) why it was implemented is completely irrelevant.

    EDIT: For the most part you can still do what you want in the privacy of your own home with your own children - laws or not.
     
  7. Pauji5

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    I chimed in earlier about it being again the law to drink at 16..... back "then" we all did it....they didn't check it's, we drove to Canada....etc.....

    but this isn't then, it's now. and we supposedly are smarter now.

    I just had to say I find it absurd to hear others saying you can't control your teen, you have to let them be, they'll do what they want....THIS IS CR**!

    I have a 15 1/2 and 13 year old son and this is just nonsense. They are busy, well adjusted, have friends, go out, etc.....but WE MAKE THE RULES..... It isn't a democracy. It is a privledge to live our lifestyle. I don't understand how people are so afraid to be the parent and set down rules. It seems so many parents are afraid to draw a line in the sand. There are consequences for all types of behavior in life, and why shouldn't there be for teenagers as well? It takes one lie for the trust to be gone.

    and while we might seem like hard asxxxs, our home is always filled with kids who like to come over her and have fun!
     
  8. nanhsot

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    Since this was directed at my prior post, I feel compelled to reply. I'm not sure if you read any of my subsequent posts or not, but we certainly do have rules, expectations, and consequences. I'm not sure why you have this directed at me, as I agree with what you wrote and stated so several times.

    Taken out of context it would seem I don't believe in rules or drawing a line, but that's not at all true. I do believe taking a rigid and unbending line is dangerous, just as having no line is. I believe that the teenage years is a time of great flexibility as a parent, I will bend as long as my teen is being trustworthy, and I'll be rigid when not.

    Taken out of context you make me seem like a parent who believes in letting kids do what they want. That's simply not true, and my words support that.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
  9. caspi

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    I completely agree with everything you just said!
     
  10. Christopher

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    I absolutely did not. Don't be ridiculous.

    Alcoholism, drug use and underage drinking absolutely does harm and kill others. That comment is offensive to all those families who have lost loved ones to drunk drivers, overdoses, etc. Don't be ridiculous.
     
  11. zakksmom

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    Well said Wilf..

    Well said..
     
  12. zakksmom

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    I'm an old 80's fart to..
     
  13. emm142

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    I feel like clarifying my position on this. Basically because I agree with my own opinion. :p

    When I first posted, it was in response to the OP. She clearly wanted some ideas about how someone with diabetes could drink and still be safe. It seemed fairly apparent to me that she was okay with her son having a couple of drinks but not okay with him drinking excessively (and I'm sure there were consequences imposed for the night of 5 beers).

    Other people chimed in with the opinion that the only reasonable way to approach alcohol consumption is to disallow it entirely. I felt that some people were saying that either you take the line "you cannot drink at all" or just allow alcohol freely and in excess.

    Personally I think that restricting the options like that is just wrong. Some parents do allow alcohol in moderation and not in excess, and yes, it does often work. I've seen it work. So it is not true that you need to either prohibit alcohol entirely or allow it with imprudence.

    To those people who say that the attitude my friends and I have towards alcohol is the exception rather than the rule (hi Karla :)) I would probably agree with you. I do see people getting trashed every night and it is unusual to be able to restrain oneself to a couple of glasses of wine of an evening. But, you seem to assume that my personality just happens to be like that and that it is sheer luck that someone with a personality like mine ended up with parents who allow them to drink alcohol. I would disagree with that. I think that my attitude towards a lot of things, and the fact that I am sensible with alcohol, derives in large part from the way I was raised.

    The UK has a slightly different attitude towards alcohol than the rest of Europe, but my dad's side of the family are French - I spent a lot of my childhood staying in France and with my cousins who are French. We did used to have sips of our parents' wine when we were young (7/8 and up, maybe?). I have never once seen either of my parents (or other family members) drinking to excess, and alcohol has been presented to me without stigma or the attitude that we drink to get trashed. I don't think it is luck that my personality and upbringing happened to coincide - I think I am like this because of the way alcohol was presented to me as I grew up.

    That isn't to say that a total prohibition of alcohol couldn't also work. In fact, I am sure that it could work. My whole point in this discussion is that having the view that alcohol is okay in moderation for a 16 year old is not doomed to failure.

    Obviously, the legality is a completely different issue, and I fully concede that it's usually not a good idea to teach your child that they are above the law. As far as I am aware, different provinces in Canada have different rules about the age of alcohol consumption inside and outside of the home, and I still haven't seen anything about the laws in the OPs specific area.
     
  14. Becky Stevens mom

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    I have to disagree and agree with you on this Wilf. Unfortunately, many people are killed every year by drunk drivers. Sometimes they kill themselves but often its innocent people:( I do feel that the drinking age could be reduced back to 18 as it was when I was 18. Ive always felt that any person who can go to war and fight for their country should be able to have a drink. I think we need to have strict drinking and driving laws. I absolutely agree on the war on drugs though. It has done nothing to stop people from doing drugs or selling drugs. Thankfully my state is taking some baby steps in the right direction by decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of pot. This will save us millions and save people the hassle of being thrown in jail for doing something that does not harm anyone else in the privacy of their own home.
     
  15. wilf

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    We're obviously having separate conversations here.

    I'm talking about a teen having a couple of beers, and the fact that in my view there are better ways of dealing with that teen that occasionally has a couple of beers with friends than to criminalize their activity.

    You are tendentiously conflating and mixing the issue of underage drinking with drug abuse, drinking and driving, overdoses, and (by association) pedophilia. This is not helpful in terms of promoting a rational discussion of what is clearly a hugely challenging issue.

    It may be time to start a new thread, as the poor OP's original question has been all but lost from sight at this point.. :eek:
     
  16. wilf

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    Lest there be any mistake about my position on drinking and driving, I am ferociously against drinking and driving and believe that the existing laws should be made even stricter and better enforced through more widespread testing.
     
  17. kelzer

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    Well, I really wish I had started this thread in the summer. I am a teacher and since it is report card season, have not been able to keep up with the posts. So many issues have been raised in the discussion. I want to go back to a few pages ago when people were discussing where teens get their alcohol. Unfortunately, in our situation, we live near the Quebec border where kids can buy alcohol at age 18. Therefore, all you need is a friend a couple of years older (the kids at my sons high school hang out with kids across the grades) to buy your alcohol. I am told that it is very easy. I wish we had a drinking age of 21 like many of you in the States, although I have heard the arguments against it. Drinking in high school is quite common here -not that that makes it acceptable. In fact, my girls were among the minority in not participating in this (well, not until they were at the end of high school and even then, rarely). I know my son is feeling a lot of peer pressure about this. He told me last night (in one of our many talks about this) that he loves his friends but hates feeling different if he doesn't drink. He has a lot of remorse for his "bad night" and the stress it has caused me, as well as the potential dangerous consequences for him. We are still working with him to navigate these difficult years but I think it will continue to be challenging. For us, parenting through discussion and reason, not an iron fist, has worked well for the past 21 years. This is the first real challenge we have faced and we have considered many of your suggestions. Good food for thought! This weekend, no worries, he is still "restriction privileges" so will be home with us most of the time. My dream is that he will not drink at all - my more realistic vision, is that he will, on occasion have a small amount of alcohol which he reports to us and manages well in terms of reduced basal rate, snacks etc. My worry continues to be that he, like many, will likely make mistakes in the future. I will remain ever vigilant (gifted with a great sense of smell, paranoia and a resignation to being tired).
     
  18. wilf

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    As long as the "War on Drugs" involves criminalizing marijuana users (who are after all the vast majority of "illegal" drug users) it is doomed to failure.. :(
     
  19. Pauji5

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    I wasn't aiming this directly at you,,,many others shared this type of thoughts... but you did say"

    "It's impossible to keep a good relationship with a teen and not bend some of the time. Safety is important, clearly, but so is maintaining that relationship. It's a give and take, and in the teen years I am learning to give more than take. It's harder than I ever imagined."

    and to me, this means you are willing to bend and give. It is a parents job to mold responsible and productive members of society, and if we give in, where does that leave us?

    Many younger people say they can "handle it" or just drink to be social" but the thing is, they aren't parents. If we don't draw the time, who will?
     
  20. nanhsot

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    Yes, I am willing to bend and give. Doesn't mean I allow them to drink, just means that when trust is earned I give freedoms/I bend. I give trust where trust is earned. I allow them into a situation where they may fail, they may make bad choices. We have to give them some room to grow away from us in safe ways. If they do make bad choices we then draw back, deal with it. But hopefully the lessons learned early on help them not make the bad choices, but I feel it is imperative that we sometimes give into what THEY need, what THEY want, despite our own misgivings. We trust them.

    Can you truly say you never bend for your kids, you never give in in a situation you thought you'd never give into? Bending to me means that if my kids present logical, rational, respectful reasons to do something that I may not have wanted them to do, I consider their side of it, I look at who they will be with, and sometimes I bend.

    I simply can't imagine NEVER giving in, NEVER bending. I believe strongly that the best way to teach and to get respect is to be respectful. I respect my kids so long as they are being trustworthy, honest, forthright. So long as they have earned the right by being productive members of the family, by being respectful, by being good honest hardworking people, yeah, I bend.

    Doesn't mean I buy them a beer though. I do not give my kids permission to drink. Saying I will bend and give does not equate into giving permission for illegal and immoral activity. It means I trust them NOT to do so.
     

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