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One For My Baby

Parents have been arrested for throwing their children a booze infused party.  Perhaps I’m being a bit incendiary with the phrase; “throwing their children a (party)”  However, I suspect that teenagers and their tons of friends did not buy the alcohol themselves, and certainly not with their own money.  The justification that these gated community Queens parents make is the standard: “I’d rather they did it at home.”

Can we just tease that apart a bit?  It’s sounds so wholesome on the surface, doesn’t it?  “Baking: I’d rather they did it at home.”  It suggests supervision and perhaps even an informal tutorial.  Nobody is hosting wine tasting parties for their teens (to my knowledge.)  These kids are drinking to get drunk.  That is the goal.  Drinking as a social behavior takes a level of sophistication and social ease that teenagers rarely possess.  They drink to get drunk, they use prescription drugs to get high or stoned, they use street drugs (and freaking aerosol cans!) for the same reason.  Would these same parents host a few dozen teenagers and pass out methamphetamine?  It happens (usually not in gated communities) and (with any luck) those children go into protective care.

I’m all for parents teaching children how to be fully functioning adults.  If they feel that teaching their child to drink responsibly is part of that, so be it.  But hosting your kid’s friend’s booze bash is not about that.  It’s about wanting to feel cool.  Children from this gated community are going to the hospital for alcohol poisoning (delivered by parents to avoid detection.)  Do you know how much alcohol needs to be ingested to result in poisoning?!  Banish all thoughts of Liesl having her first sip of champagne at the ball.  You’ve got to power drink serious alcohol (or be a toddler) to be poisoned.

They’d rather they did it at home.  What does that mean?  One parent suggested that he’d rather his kid was drinking at home than at the beach.  Why’s that?  Is drowning a concern?  What about the dozens of teenagers getting drunk in your house?  Are they all sleeping it off in your bonus room?  How do you feel about your cherub getting drunk at their friend’s house?  Is that okay?  I’m guessing not.  I’m guessing you want the party at your house.  You know what would make you even cooler in a 16 year old’s eyes?  Invite tattoo artists to the next bash.

Let’s put aside class discrepancies (people of means don’t usually lose custody of their children for indiscretions) and even issues of physical danger for a moment.  Instead let’s focus on what this behavior actually teaches children.  1) The rules don’t apply to you 2) It’s not breaking the law if you don’t get caught 3) Behaving irresponsibly is not only a natural part of adolescence it’s a healthy part of middle-age.

Kids do stupid things.  It’s their job.  It’s only by going too far that they find their own limits and comfort levels.  The best protection you can offer a child is a strong sense of self.  A teenager who feels he/she has worth is less prone to trying to prove it in questionable ways.  The same could be said for parents.

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Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Childhood, Well-Being

 

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