Hi, We just found out last night that our 14 year old son has been sampling the liquor in our house. We are not big drinkers and don't have a lot of alcohol in the house, just a bottle of rum, one of whiskey, a "sample" sized bottle of whiskey, and my husband had gotten me a bottle of plum wine last month. I had had one small glass at the time, and last night went to have another. The bottle was almost empty! When we checked, the "sample" bottle was empty as well. Our son admitted to drinking it when he is at home alone. He says he only takes a sip at t time, but that is neither her not there. We were so angry that we have put discipline on hold until we can calm down. I want to impose some type of logical consequence, but cannot determine what. Does anyone have any thoughts? Any suggestions will be welcomed. Thanks.
MY thoughts... first and foremost, I'd remove all the alcohol from my house. Then, I would look into some kind of counseling or teen therapy group for alcohol or drug abuse.
When I caught my then 15 yr old son smoking marijuana, I immediately pulled him out of the school he was attending (where he was getting it from) and put him in a charter school, and I then called my HMO and got him drug counseling, and made him attend a 12 weeks of teen drug group meetings.
He hated every minute of it, but I think it made the point we were hoping it would. They have to realize how SERIOUS this is, and I feel if these things aren't treated seriously, it gives them the impression that it's ok.
At 17 now..he's still in the charter school, but has gotten a new group of kids to hang around with, and he has a job at Subway that helps keep him busy... and he no longer smokes cigarettes or marijuana...
I think it's important that you understand why he did this - perhaps it was just experimentation and won't have any long term effects. I remember being 14 or 15 and doing a similar thing, but I'm 23 now and certainly no alcoholic!
Ask him what made him drink, then explain to him what the dangers of alcohol abuse are - the long term liver damage, that cannot be undone or replaced, and make him realize that alcohol isn't bad but that he is really too young to be drinking it, and it must be used responsibly.
I think some punishment is obviously required and that you should definitely make sure he doesn't carry on stealing your alcohol, but don't go too far or it may just make him want to rebel further and make the situation worse. I'd also be cautious about removing the alcohol from your house - he may just try and find it elsewhere, whereas at least if you keep it around and monitor it carefully, you will know if he carries on drinking.
Thanks, I'm hoping it was just experimentation. My husband and I are not what I would call big drinkers, but we do have an occasional drink. For now, the few bottles we have are locked up in the gun cabinet and my husband and I have the only two keys. Our first thoughts of course were to just ground him for "life", but we know that is not realistic. My current thinking is to limit the amount of time he is left home alone (he had to accompoany me on errands last night) and limit free time with his friends since he has lost our trust. He will still be involved in his organized sports, church and other supervised activities. I don't think we're quite ready to go the therapy route, but I will educate him on the perils and hazards of drinking. Thanks again.
Your son is a young male. Hormones are flying in his body and experimentation is inevitable. I would not punish him just have a serious discussion about it. My parents never grounded me for drinking but they had serious discussions with me about the negative aspects of drinking. Im now 21 and I am perfectly fine and far from an alcoholic. "I would look into some kind of counseling or teen therapy group for alcohol or drug abuse," that is possibly the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Therapy because he has a few drinks of alcohol is beyond irrational. Do you know what alcohol abuse is? Alcohol abuse is when you are always drunk and at the bar.
I also think limiting his social life is another huge mistake, with huge consequences. I think cutting off most of his social life could affect him alot more than him drinking occasionally. Sheltering is the worst method to use on any child. Kids drink, thats just how it is. My parents were drinking a little when they were his age and im sure that you have had a few drinks when you were underage.
As long as he onyl drinks occasionally and it doesnt affect his grades, I dont see why its the end of the world.
If my parents punished me for drinking and kept me in the house during high school I would end up having no friends and being socially impaired for the rest of my life.
Locking up the liquor is good, and it is your responsibility as well.
Not wanting him home alone too much is also good.
But it's not something to enforce.
Rather, it's something you can express with "I" language ("We are concerned about your being home alone too much. Would you like to come with me to the _ _ _?").
It totally freaked me out when my youngest daughter went through something similar.
Her father never matured emotionally beyond age 14 because he began drinking at age 9.
I had to do some confrontation with her--get proof of behaviors I was already sure about, and then confront her with the proof.
I also had to lay out the facts. (Like, "This is not a dress rehearsal; this is your one and only life.")
She just turned 17 and seems to be putting the drinking thing behind her. I hope. At least she's with a good group of girlfriends right now and focusing on choosing a college.
But I don't think I'll want to slack off just yet on knowing where she is and who she's with every moment. More importantly, she knows I know.