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I was also touched by how many of the responses conveyed a sense of parental humility. I have worked hard to be a very good parent, but boy, did I fail on this front … a lot.
I was also pleased that many parents wrote about having absolutely zero tolerance for even having one drink, then driving. We were unequivocal with our children: Call us; call another parent; take a taxi; stay where you are. And as they got older: In my experience, there were some drug and alcohol educational programs aimed at teenagers that proved to be ineffective. But I think we owe a huge thank you as a society to what groups like M.
Forty-five years ago, one of my friends was killed while driving drunk. It was a terrible, unforgettable loss. Anyway, to our readers. Many, like Alessandra in Bergamo, Italy , promoted the European approach of letting teenagers drink at family dinners, starting at their freshman year in high school, as a way of teaching moderation and demystifying alcohol:. This way you have less people driving around drunk. To me, this system makes much more sense than the American one.
In fact, the opposite is true: Almost every adult who has a drug problem started using as a teenager. Understand their habits and their maturity level and implement a strategy accordingly. JenRS from Newton, Mass. Accept that they will drink, pound moderation into their heads, ground them when they break the rules.
It is a very, very hard issue, and I agree the very hardest I have had to face as a parent, but I think you need to think of the endgame: I give Mimi from Scarsdale credit for being honest. Bribe them into sobriety:. They promised us an attractive sum of money at high school graduation if we abstained. It gave me an out when I went to parties where their was drinking.
Many readers, like Post Motherhood , wrote that alcoholism in the family creates special problems:. I have talked with our children starting at that time about the generations of excessive alcohol intake — and alcohol anxieties — plaguing their paternal family history. Our policy was no alcohol and no one appeared to be drunk. However, we later discovered that the kids were hiding liquor bottles in cabinets and mixing vodka surreptitiously with soda.
The only way we could have ensured there was no alcohol would have been to thoroughly search every corner of our apartment just beforehand to preclude any smuggling ahead of time, and then frisk every guest upon arrival.
Breaking up the party did not accomplish much, either, since apparently most of the kids just headed to another party across town. And we got a view from inside an ambulance from Alison of Irvington, N. Having them call for a ride is well and good, Nicole of Boston wrote, but what do you do once you have them in the car? Did it happen just the once, and they were so embarrassed that they never went to another party? Did they call you every other weekend to pick them up some place?
If it did happen a few or more times, did you have to re-evaluate your approach in light of the fact that maybe your kid was having problems? No questions, no trouble, no lectures. He was terrified of my stare, evidently, he told me that when he grew up. That stare was his mirror into himself, his own self-esteem reminder.
But I can tell you my four were brimming over with healthy self-esteem, and unhealthy drinking was still a problem in our house. When they were still teenagers and they did something stupid, often I was the one called in to talk to the principal or a teacher, and at those moments, when I felt I had failed as a parent, it was my self-esteem that suffered. The Motherlode blog has a weekly email.
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