Teens and alcohol - have you got it right with yours?

(32 Posts)
ribba Wed 01-Jan-14 17:51:17

I have a nearly 14 year old and this NYE has been the first where I have been aware of discussions re alcohol and some parents providing it for their kids.

I am wondering if you have a teen who has a sensible attitude to drink, how you've cultivated that and what you've done re drinking at home, parties etc? I am a bit horrified that kids in year 9 are drinking but want to think about this realistically and what my boundaries are.

Bowlersarm Wed 01-Jan-14 17:56:22

My teens are fine around alcohol - they nag me about my drinking.

13 year old DS hasn't tried alcohol yet.

15 year old DS had about half a dozen beers last year.

17 year old DS drinks at parties. Maybe three times a month? He has vomited twice from too much over the past year and a half.

Faverolles Wed 01-Jan-14 17:59:59

We've always let our dc try a little bit, ds1(13) has never liked it.
However, this year, loads of his friends have been drinking as much as they want hmm and ds is jealous and thinks we're mean parents, because we won't hand over pints of cider.
The same friends all have GTA5, so we're doubly nasty to him.

exexpat Wed 01-Jan-14 18:02:27

DS is 15 (in year 11, so his friends are turning 16) and has been having the odd glass of wine/beer at Christmas, big family meals, on holiday and so on since he was about 13.

He went to his first major teenage party last night and came back a little tipsy, but not rolling drunk, and didn't seem any the worse for wear this morning. He's never been really drunk (throwing up etc), doesn't drink at home (even though there is wine & stronger stuff around) and so far seems to have a sensible attitude - but of course he's only just hitting the teen drinking years, and I'm sure he will overdo it at some stage.

MintSpys Wed 01-Jan-14 18:04:31

My ds (15) went to a party last night. We let him take 3 cans of cider and I had a good chat with him about sensible drinking.
He had an extra beer while there. My dh collected him at 1, he was tipsy but in control.

I think keeping communication going is so important and providing some sort of structure. If you refuse totally you run the risk of total rebellion.

(My parents were v.strict)

Coconutty Wed 01-Jan-14 18:07:12

DS is in year 12 and all of his friends drink regularly. He has been sick twice, last time was from a rugby club do where they were drinking far too much.

I don't mind him drinking but have discussed sensible drinking and the importance of remaining safe.

One of his classmates isn't allowed to drink at all. He went to a party last weekend and drank a bottle if gin. Ended up comatose in the toilet.

I think you need a realistic mind set but also try and encourage honesty.

I hear too much from DS sometimes and wish he could sugar coat it a bit tbh.

BackforGood Wed 01-Jan-14 18:09:55

Ds is 17. Lots of his yr are turning 18 this year. Hes not really bothered about it tbh. When he went into 6th form was the 1st time it really came up at house parties. We used to give him a couple of cans to take and he was happy with that. Now he sometimes takes a couple of cans or is just as happy with pop tbh . Hes always been allowed to try a taste if we have some at home, but we dont drink that much. More oftenthan not he says no thanks.
Dd1 is 15 and doesnt like the taste - doesnt want to try when offeed.
Not sure its anything weve done particularly but we do tend to talk about stuff like drinking, smoking, drugs, doing other things?

I think this is a big no and- and I will probably get a flaming for this- something I associate with poorly educated parents in deprived areas. I am a teacher and have taught in several schools- one in particular with a very low literacy rate etc amongst parents in a very deprived area and another that is quite the opposite- highly educated parents, good level of take up post 18 education etc.

At the school in the deprived area we ha a real problem with kids drinking seriously aged from around 13. There were a large percentage of kids in years 9 onwards who had no parental supervision when it came to alcohol and many provided it happily and thought we were being "snobs" and "overreacting" when child protection got involved (as they often had no choice but to). This had a huge impact on results and on how the kids did at school. Kids discussed "going out for a few" just like you'd hear adults doing (except they were doing it on street corners). It also lead to a lot of sexual activity:teen pregnancy that I don't think would have happened as often if the kids hadn't had such free access to booze.

No such problems at the other school I mentioned where alcohol is considered an adult pursuit and the kids just don't drink.

For what it's worth I did drink underage but only once I got to sixth form and what I could get away with WITHOUT my parents knowing!! And that didn't do me much good as the first year of my A levels my grades weren't great as I'd discovered Thunderbird and partying! God knows what I would have been like if I'd been boozing at 13 or 14.

Claybury Wed 01-Jan-14 18:14:05

We offer our DD15 and DS16 an occasional drink when appropriate at home. They always say no.
DD doesn't like the taste. DS thinks of it as a 'drug' I think and won't drink with us. I don't think he drinks often at all, but he smokes weed. Often the druggie teens do not touch booze. Small mercies...
It's not always to do with the way are brought up. Although I would agree with not being heavy handed and prohibitive and always good to talk with them about safety.

ribba Wed 01-Jan-14 18:22:52

This is really interesting - thanks for replies so far. Seems although most kids are trying it around year 10/11 rather than yr 9. It hasn't really come up so far with ds although he did have a sip of cider on Xmas day ( didn't really like it).

exexpat Wed 01-Jan-14 18:42:40

Somedizzy - I'm not sure that your experience is representative. My family is about as highly educated and middle-class as you can get (almost 100% private schools and Oxbridge); I was drinking with my parents' approval at 14 or 15 (in pubs from age 15 - they didn't check ID in those days), and there was plenty of alcohol around at parties held by school friends. DS is also at a private school, as was pretty much everyone at the party he went to last night, and most of his friends are allowed alcohol by their parents.

I don't believe there is a school where teenage pupils 'just don't drink' - maybe they are just more discreet about it, or because of more privileged backgrounds and larger houses they can do it at home rather than on street corners.

I think openness and encouragement of moderation is more effective than banning alcohol.

Bloodyteenagers Wed 01-Jan-14 18:44:59

My dc's have a good relationship with alcohol.
Started letting them have a spritzer on special occasions. Had discussions about being responsible with alcohol, just like other things. That like a lot of things, it's fine in moderation. Over the years they have been to lots of parties, some they have had a couple of drinks, other times not a drop.

NoComet Wed 01-Jan-14 18:54:47

Our pubs and village discos served us from 14. We couldn't afford to get drunk.

I don't see anything wrong with DD1 having the odd drink
at home from that age.

I would be very cautious of drink at unsupervised teen parties, but she is Billy no mates and never invited.

She is not at all bothered, she gets to hear about all the trouble and falling a out the following Monday.

DD2 is only Y8, she is far more sociable and I'm sure the time will come. At present she doesn't even have a small drink at home because she doesn't like it. (DD1 would have had a little bit even at 12)

Heathcliff27 Wed 01-Jan-14 19:54:00

I thought my 18 year old DS had a good grasp of alcohol use till 4am this morning. He never expressed any interest in alcohol before he turned 18, not to my knowledge anyway. Since he turned 18 in April he has had a few nights out when he's been home from uni for the weekend. They always follow the same pattern, comes home drunk, soppy and apologetic drunk, always makes it to the toilet, vomits, sleeps it off, no hangover.

Not last night, got taken home in a taxi by an unknown female (who i have since traced and am very grateful to her). He was incoherrant/periods of unconciousness, he had obviously been either in a fight or had fallen, his face a mess, suspected broken nose. After much vomiting we thought it was following the usual formula..... Around 6.30 a lump formed on his forehead, he started getting agitated and shivering. I phoned nhs24 as was unable to rouse him, blue lighted ambulance was with us within minutes, his heart rate and blood pressure had reduced dramatically.

Fast forward to emergency dash to hospital, oxygen given, stomach pumped then drip with fluid started. He started to come round early this afternoon with no recollection of where he was, where he had been the night before, much confusion about the days of the week and repeating himself.

After a couple of hours he was more lucid and less confused although still had a memory loss of the entire night before.

He is home now but under supervision for the next 48 hours.

Paramedic told me had he been alone in his student accommodation and not home with us he would almost certainly have lost his life today.

Sorry, way off on a tangent but its good to get all this out and its still so raw. I doubt i will sleep tonight again, i will be watching over him.

My chest has pains and tightness when i think how it couldve been. He has had a major scare as well.

I suppose my long winded point is, i thought he was under some degree of control of his alcohol use.

Annonynon Wed 01-Jan-14 20:08:17

Heathcliff how awful, thank goodness he's safe now

To answer the op I'm (at the moment) really pleased with my teens attitude to alcohol. Ds2 is 15 he has has small tastes of alcohol before but last night was the first time he's really had any, he had a small amount drank plenty of water andwas fine. Ds1 is almost 17, he has had a beer or two before but last night he tried stronger drinks for the first time. He got quite tipsy but not excessively so, drank water and stopped when he felt it was getting too much. They've both asked questions about which drinks are worse/stronger, how much is safe etc etc which I'm happy to guide them with as much as I can and I know they haven't experimented outside of our home

In an ideal world ds1 wouldn't have been tipsy last night but he is the last of his peer group to drink, several of his friends have been very ill because of it and he said he wanted to do it the first time at home with us where he felt safe

invicta Wed 01-Jan-14 20:17:26

Heathcliffe - cyber hugs to you all!

My year 9 ds had some pear cider last night, and some champagne ( well, fizzy white wine alternative) last night. He's had pear cider at the odd barbecue during the summer.

I don't think there's any problem in year 9 upwards having a small glass of wine/pear cider in a controlled environment such as birthday party, Christmas etc, but I wouldn't allow free reign for him to drink when he wanted.

exexpat Wed 01-Jan-14 20:30:54

Heathcliff - how awful, and how lucky you were there. Hope he makes a full recovery, and learns a rather scary lesson from last night.

Scenarios like that are actually one reason why I think it's good if teenagers start experimenting and finding their limits/learning to resist peer pressure while they are still technically underage - and living at home where someone will keep an eye on them - rather than in the throes of freshers' week at university or on a holiday to Magaluf with their mates.

candylicious Wed 01-Jan-14 21:36:42

My DD is 14, 15 in August and a lot of her friends are 16. My DD drinks at home, on special occasions and did do at a wedding in Oct with me supervising. My 10yo DS had a Pimms whilst chilling with me in the garden this summer, with extra lemonade of course I've always let them have a sip and a try. I have found that they have less of an attraction to alcohol with it not being so taboo. I think sometimes we are too busy trying to protect them and forget to teach them properly about things.

I consider myself lucky as my DD seems to be very mature about the whole thing. I have no doubt she will have her time coming home legless and throwing up, but how many of us can say we've never done that wink

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Wed 01-Jan-14 23:13:08

Oh Christ Heathcliff that's scary.

DD17 has been having the odd small glass since 14, had a massive vodka frenzy at 15, complete with faceplanting and a month's grounding, drank nothing for a year, is now fond of a weak Bombay and Fevertree once a week (the little pseud wink) and last night came in merry and threw up neatly. "Hello Daddy, I've had a lovely time".

Better than my own sullen tippling at the same age.

Travelledtheworld Wed 01-Jan-14 23:40:27

DD is 15 and a couple of weeks ago one of her school friends had a party where several girls sneaked in bottles of spirits. Result was several vomiting, ill girls and a horrible mess in friends bedroom.

So I got a selection of spirits and some wine out of our drinks cabinet here at home and offered DD a few samples. We discussed the strength of different drinks and how dangerous spirits can be.

She sipped them all very cautiously and declared them all disgusting.....

longingforsomesleep Thu 02-Jan-14 00:44:34

Oh Heathcliff goodness me. How terrible. What an absolutely awful scare for you and your ds. How is he now?

DramaAlpaca Thu 02-Jan-14 01:05:40

Heathcliff that was scary. Hope your DS is feeling better now.

As regards the OP's question, we have tried to educate our three teenage boys about alcohol & its effects. We've allowed them to have the occasional beer with us at home from the age of 15, and talked to them about safe & responsible drinking. DH & I both felt that banning it would make it more attractive to them. It's not easy to monitor what they are doing outside the home, but we've encouraged them to stick to beer, avoid spirits and drink plenty of water.

We had one unpleasant incident when DS1 was 15 when he overdid it out with friends & almost ended up in hospital - he'd been drinking brandy & hadn't realised how strong it was, hence our later advice about sticking to beer. DS1 is now 20 & seems to be very sensible most of the time when it comes to alcohol - he did overdo it a bit last night but that is understandable as it was NYE - and he has told me he has rarely touched spirits since that occasion when he was 15 because he was so ill.

DS2 also seems to be reasonably OK. He likes to try different things but doesn't overindulge too much. DS3 is 16 and although we would allow it, has no interest in drinking as he doesn't like the taste.

i think it's interesting that my two SILs have both been extremely strict with their DC, not allowing them to drink at all until they are 18. As a consequence of this their teens frequently disobey orders & drink underage behind their parents' backs. One SIL's 16 year old DS asked my 20 year old DS to buy him vodka yesterday - he was told where to go!

Coconutty Thu 02-Jan-14 08:52:11

Just remembered my friend who hadn't let her twin DCs drink at all. In year 11 just after Christmas they started going to parties where there was alcohol available and went a bit crazy.

She was horrified that this was right before GCSEs and said she wished she had introduced it slower and earlier.

GraduallyGoingInsane Thu 02-Jan-14 09:11:40

Heathcliff, how scary for you and your DS! Is he ok now? Thank goodness you were around!

My eldest DD is 17 and drinks a couple of times a no that parties. Once she got to 6th form I was ok with her taking alcohol to parties, as I'd rather she made mistakes at home than at uni where I'm not around to pick up the pieces. I've always encouraged weaker, long drinks as opposed to spirits, so she tends to take things like Buck's Fizz or the fruit ciders. She has been sick a couple of times but nothing too serious.

When she was a much younger teen she went to a party which ended with her ringing me for help thank God as she was off her face and wandering by herself in the town centre, her friends having gone into a club. I've always advocated being able to call for help no matter how much trouble they've got themselves into.

DD2 is in Year 11 and I'm aware there is often alcohol at parties that she goes to. As yet she hasn't got too obviously drunk, but she is much more nervous than her sister so probably more cautious. DD3 is Year 9 and whilst it wouldn't shock me if she'd been at parties with alcohol, I certainly wouldn't encourage it at that age. She's more like DD1 in her approach to risk so I have more of an eye on her.

All 4 of mine are given very tiny amounts at home on special occasions. On NYE they all had a glass of champagne at midnight - DD4 (Year 6) had 1/3 glass of champagne topped up with orange juice. When we go on holiday we often go to a vineyard (DH is into his wines) and they can taste the wine if they fancy it. That way it's not forbidden fruit.

Heathcliff27 Thu 02-Jan-14 11:06:51

Thanks everyone, he's much better. We all had a good sleep last night and it serms much better now this morning. I think with him it was purely the amount he drunk combined with mixing just about every drink available, he wasnt out in any pubs, just going from house to house where the measures are stronger too. Not that i'm excusing him at all, just seeing what was different to other nights he's been out.

I've never discouraged alcohol nor encouraged it. When he was 16/17 we would offer a couple of bottles of lager at xmas/new year and he would drink it. We ourselves would probably be called binge drinkers. We very rarely drink at home and dont go out that often but do get drunk if we're out.

I have 2 younger children who were in my bedroom when the paramedics were with him, its made me wonder how i should be with them at age 15 upwards, should I let them try more than he did? Plenty time to decide, at the moment I just want all alcohol as far away from me as possible.

Thanks for your support.

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