Advice from the fairly strict please

(77 Posts)
membershipcard Thu 02-May-13 19:34:28

We keep our booze in a locked cupboard in the dining room . There is tinned food in there too. Tonight we fancied a tin of rice pudding so DS,14, went to look. He was a while so I went to see what he was doing -- he had drank from the Southern Comfort bottle!!!

We don't make alcohol the forbidden fruit, if he'd asked for a taste he would have been allowed. He is allowed the odd drink on special occasions etc.

He asked a couple of days ago if he could sleep over at a friend's house-a female friend who I haven't met and know nothing about. I haven't agreed/not agreed to this yet but he is really hoping I will let him go.

The big question is do I let him go or do I say NO because he deviously drank the SC???

Please help me!

At 14 I wouldn't be letting him sleep over at a girl's house, SC or no SC

I never locked a booze cupboard in my life.

HamletsSister Thu 02-May-13 19:38:59

No locks here and no chance they would dare. I would remove something fairly significant as a punishment. My big thing is don't lie and break my trust or I will be all over you: monitoring online access, supervised computer time and TV etc. It has worked so far.

But, it is not such a big thing if he was caught, confessed and recognised the problem (theft?). Not sure about the girls's house - depends on the circumstances and how her parents would react / their rules.

membershipcard Thu 02-May-13 19:40:41

Sorry, should have said, there's a small mixed group of them staying over.

Do you think I'm wrong to lock the 'very full' booze cupboard?

Mynewmoniker Thu 02-May-13 19:40:52

Be careful of letting him think you are clamping down too hard, too fast. He sounds like he's got to the 'negotiating' stage of his life. As a teenager he's going to take risks/chances. Can you remember your teenage years and the risks you took?

Always ask for a phone number of any friend's parents to check they are aware he's been invited. I've known kids tell their parents they are staying at each others and they've ended up staying in a garage...yes a garage for the night!

Drinking the booze doesn't make him an alcoholic. You've let him know he's been caught out, you disapprove and that should be enough for now...if you push it he'll do it in protest.

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 19:42:12

WHY do you lock the booze cupboard??

Chopchopbusybusy Thu 02-May-13 19:42:13

I'd say no to the sleepover too regardless of anything else.
I do think that keeping alcohol in a locked cupboard is making it forbidden fruit.

I never locked a booze cupboard - that makes it temptation in my book. The rule was and is if they wanted it, they asked. They rarely did, tbh, and DS1's penchant was for vile pear cider which I never had anyway.

This mixed group, what's the arrangements for who sleeps where and how well do you know the parents?

WishIdbeenatigermum Thu 02-May-13 19:42:30

Locking it in a cupboard is making it forbidden fruit! hmm

Mynewmoniker Thu 02-May-13 19:43:06

Why are you locking the booze cupboard? Is there someone else you don't trust to leave to alone? You need to show him you trust him and you accept he's growing up.

membershipcard Thu 02-May-13 19:43:28

How old are your children hamlet?

Dd wouldn't have dared but ds is VERY different.

Mynewmoniker Thu 02-May-13 19:43:40

'IT' alone not 'to' hmm

If he wants it, he'll get it. Your cupboard being locked is neither here nor there, and in my opinion sends the wrong message.

WishIdbeenatigermum Thu 02-May-13 19:47:07

Re the sleepover- you don't know the girl, but who is she? School friend? Gf of friend. I let dd have a mixed group stay over- strictly in the living room in sleeping bags and I was very much in evidence. Parents called me first and I assured them I would be very present.

membershipcard Thu 02-May-13 19:49:35

The booze cupboard is locked because he is home alone each evening for an hour and we didn't want to put temptation in his way. But perhaps we ate wrong.

The mixed sleep over hadn't really bothered me as DS is physically very immature. I was more concerned because I don't know the girl or her mum.

hmm perhaps I've got it all wrong . It was soo much easier when he was a toddler hmm

membershipcard Thu 02-May-13 19:50:49

ARE wrong.


ATE wrong

MsBuzz Thu 02-May-13 19:51:34

Check the details with the girl's parent/s. At 14 yrs old my ds told me he was staying at a friends, the friend told her parent she was staying at mine and it turned out they were both at a third friend's house drinking cheap lager, yuk.
Don't worry about him taking a swig from the SC - worry if he drinks the whole bottle. Can't you remember trying the contents of your parents booze cupboard - I can, and I've never really enjoyed drinking alcohol since. Trying it doesn't make you an alcoholic.

HamletsSister Thu 02-May-13 19:52:56

Children are 11 and 13. They know that we trust them and that trust, once broken, is hard to replace. However, I am a teacher (of teenagers) so not naive. Most of our friends have children the same age / older and no problems at all. We all have full booze cupboards and the kids are all aware of it. My children have tasted alcohol and the older one would have more but I can't see it being stolen as the chance to share in it would be lost.

membershipcard Thu 02-May-13 19:56:06

If I tell DH when he gets home it will be a big issue and he will not be allowed at the sleepover!

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 20:35:19


But don't you just discuss with them and say no booze?

Mine wouldn't nick booze and we have shedloads.

What Hully said.

KristinaM Thu 02-May-13 20:42:33

We don't lock our booze but we don't have much .DD 13 has been offered a Taste many times but she hates it . We make sure to offer her vile things such as whiskey and not cider or white wine.SC sounds good choice .

Last time she tasted some alcohol she was sick later so she has connected the two , which is great

I woudl allow the sleepover as long as I'd check with the other Parenst .if they seemed like normal people

I think we are very strict compared to most families.

usualsuspect Thu 02-May-13 20:45:58

He only had a swig.

I would have just laughed tbh.

usualsuspect Thu 02-May-13 20:47:34

I would allow the sleepover after checking with the parents.

BIWI Thu 02-May-13 20:49:18

Locking up your booze is really weird and is bound to make it much more appealing to your teens. If it's readily available it is much less attractive.

<speaking as the mother of an 18 and 21 year old>

mrscog Thu 02-May-13 20:51:00

I do lock my booze cupboard but its so my 14 month old can't access it! I wouldn't make a big deal of the swigging, just make it clear it's not acceptable, and tell him to ask if he fancies a taste.

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 20:55:00

If you go in for the whole power thing of "I'm the parent you're the child" and lay down the law and lock booze cupboards etc, you must expect "rebellion." They will have to be "sneaky" because theyhave no other option. That is the dynamic you have created. If you go in for talking and negotiation, you are more likely to give and get respect for rules that have been mutually agreed.

Mintyy Thu 02-May-13 20:55:15

I think you need to separate the two things in your head.

A sneaky swig of Southern Comfort is pretty normal behaviour for a 14 year old, I would have thought?

Not sure about mixed sex sleepovers though!

membershipcard Thu 02-May-13 21:00:08

Oh, what a minefield ,

I thought we were doing it right... Allowing limited alcohol, tastes of ours etc etc but locking it up when we aren't at home.
But perhaps not. hmm

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Thu 02-May-13 21:04:17

Why are you locking the tinned food up? hmm

Maryz Thu 02-May-13 21:05:12

Hully, yours might not.

One of mine definitely wouldn't. One might. One would have cleared us out, so better to keep it locked.

Didn't you steal booze from your parents when you were a teenager? I have revolting memories of gin/brandy/schnapps (an inch from each bottle) cocktails [bleurgh]

Having said that, a curious swig is a lot different from nicking the bottle to take to the sleepover, so don't link the two. And stop keeping food in your drinks cupboard confused.

Maryz Thu 02-May-13 21:07:44

I can't believe so many of you leave booze lying about. Do you know exactly how much you have?

Maybe that's why all of dd's friends seem to have unlimited access to alcohol - they are nicking it from their parents grin

I remember ds1 getting drunk for the first time. I was all shocked. Now I totally meh.

TheSecondComing Thu 02-May-13 21:17:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

membershipcard Thu 02-May-13 21:18:18

The food in the locked cupboard is only stuff that won't fit in kitchen cupboards and is usually only reserve BOGOF offer duplicates.

Maryz - glad you came along and don't think m crazy for locking it up, but it was just a swig. smile

Wossname Thu 02-May-13 21:19:24

I am quite confused about you locking the rice pud away.

Wossname Thu 02-May-13 21:20:25

X post. Rice pud rebellion averted.

usualsuspect Thu 02-May-13 21:20:52

My DS and his mates drank a bottle of champagne that was in my fridge once.hmm

bigTillyMint Thu 02-May-13 21:25:06

It hadn't crossed my mind to lock the booze away (but what about the cold beers/wine in the fridge?) - I would expect to be able to trust them (12 and nearly 14)

Re mixed-sex sleepover, as it is not a gf/bf thing, I would want to just check with the mum/dad hosting about arrangements, etc. No experience of this as mine have only done single-sex sleepovers for the last couple of years, and I wouldn't be letting DD have her bf sleepover, but maybe a party's different?

As an aside, I would be wanting to have had "the" chat(s) already!

JeanPaget Thu 02-May-13 21:26:45

I agree that locking up the booze isn't the best option. I think having a swig of your parent's gin and topping it up with water is part of being a teenager. I think it makes alcohol more tempting, and gives them the impression that you don't trust them which I find always makes communication and honesty more difficulty.

The mixed sleepover thing I think is entirely dependent on your son - his maturity/friends. DS2 I let go to a mixed sleepover at that age, but I think I'd have been a bit hmm at letting DS1 do the same when he was 14ish.

bigTillyMint Thu 02-May-13 21:28:02

BTW, where do you keep the key for said locked cupboard? Round your neck, or he will find it anyway?!

BastardDog Thu 02-May-13 21:28:19

I'm thinking of my ds whose only 13 and thinking that at 14 he'd not be sensible or mature enough to manage a mixed sex sleep over. So I'd be saying no to that.

The booze, I'd be cross, but not horrified, it seems like a fairly normal thing for a teen of that age to do. There would be a consequence issued though as a result, for the breach of trust.

That sounds hypocritical doesn't it? A bit do as I say as opposed to dont get caught doing what I and millions of other teenagers did. But that's parenting for you, not easy and no rule book.

membershipcard Thu 02-May-13 21:35:58

We have always encouraged honesty and discussed trust. Sadly ds has let us and himself down.
Oh I don't know how to parent teenagers

DeafLeopard Thu 02-May-13 21:37:45

If 14yo DS was left in the house on his own I think I would be locking up the booze.

I remember regularly sneaking my parents booze, as did all my friends.

The swig wouldn't bother me too much - DS is allowed a taste of anything that he wants - current favourite is Baileys hmm

Re the sleepover - quick chat with the host to see what the sleeping arrangements are.

bigTillyMint Thu 02-May-13 21:40:08

membershipcard, me neither!

I can't imagine DD swigging the booze, but I fear that it may be a different case with DS by the time he is 14!

membershipcard Thu 02-May-13 21:43:49

That is what's got to me...
If he'd asked for a taste of the SC I would have given him some. So why, oh why did he take a swig when he's trying to prove he's sensible enough for a mixed leepover?

I Will ring mother of unknown school-female-friend.

livinginwonderland Fri 03-May-13 08:27:49

i think locking up booze is silly. my parents left it all on the shelf in the kitchen within easy reach of anyone over the age of about 10. yes, as a teenager i nicked some and topped it up with water or tried some when nobody was home, but nothing major.

i just think it creates temptation if it's locked up. i know i get more curious if someone says "you can't look in there!" - the same applies to teenagers!

BIWI Fri 03-May-13 09:03:41

Because at 14 they aren't really mature yet - they are still swinging wildly between being children and trying to pretend they're 21! They are very much motivated by 'the moment' and are also hugely selfish creatures. There will have been little thought process beyond "I wonder what that tastes like?" and "I'm going to swig a big of that". Rather like when they are toddlers and pick anything up or put everything into their mouths. They are experimenting.

Locking it away just makes it even more desirable.

BIWI Fri 03-May-13 09:04:09

swig a bit, obviously! (although it might have been big - who knows?! grin)

BIWI Fri 03-May-13 09:05:59

Is the sleepover just the two of them? And are they an item or just friends? IME, boy/girl platonic friendships are very commonplace, so I wouldn't be assuming that anything is going on.

And at that age, presumably the parents will still be around? I'd definitely chat with the parents about it. If anything, just to confirm that they are going to be at her place, and that they're not all telling their parents that they are somewhere else!

cory Fri 03-May-13 09:09:14

I can't see that it is such a dreadful thing to keep booze in a special place with limited access. Going by my own memories and dd's accounts there is absolutely no correlation between where the booze is kept and how likely it is that it will be taken by teenagers.

The girl who swigged vodka in dd's science class had parents who drank quite a bit and left bottles all over the house. As for the teens who have brought vodka to the last few parties dd has attended, I am not sure where their parents keep the booze but it is clearly in a place where they don't notice it disappearing from.

We have very little booze in the house but I feel sure I can trust dd to stick to the agreed rules. Wouldn't make any difference where it's kept.

And feel equally sure that there are some of her friends that I wouldn't trust an inch if I were their parents.

My parents don't drink at all, dh's parents drank quite a bit and let him taste, we both have a sensible attitude to alcohol: I think it's more about the people we are than about minor circumstances at home.

ivykaty44 Fri 03-May-13 09:13:26

do you lock up the tinned artichokes as well?

ivykaty44 Fri 03-May-13 09:16:47

mixed leep over? Is that what you think will be happening? They will be leeping over each other...

I don't think a boy of 14 is going to be sensible is is not part of their nature, yes they are lovely and they can be very thoughtful and sensible some of the time but I think you are expecting far to much for the poor boy.

Taking a swig of sc is the type of behaviour of a teen

MumnGran Fri 03-May-13 09:19:56

I never locked anything away. It wasn't about being/not being strict, because I was very strict about respecting one another, and other peoples property. However, on sleepovers, I would stay in the room which had the drinks cupboard.....not everyone's DC follow the same rules. smile

As for the sleepover. Its the age and stage - with the huge proviso that you speak directly with the parents hosting to confirm that they will be on site the whole time (and that alcohol won't be permitted, or left lying around to abuse). If I didn't know the parent personally, I would also chat around friends to find someone who does know them .... just to doublecheck that they are responsible people!

DowntonTrout Fri 03-May-13 09:25:55

Just a thought about the "trust" thing. It is one sided on your part, you say you trust him but you lock the cupboard, that is not trust.

You trust him not to have a swig when it suits you but the restof the time, when you are out of the house for example, it is locked away, therefore no trust is in place. That is a very mixed message you are sending.

As for the sleepover, speak to the parents. That is what I would do/ have always done. They know the rule is that if i can speak to the parents and check its all above board, that's fine. No confirmation from parents= no sleepover.

DeepRedBetty Fri 03-May-13 09:29:59

We don't lock the booze, and dtds (14) and their friends don't seem interested. Also I know exactly how much white wine I have at any time... and frankly I'd be delighted if some of the more peculiar bottles of weird southern European liqueurs vanished grin

My dad did keep the cupboard locked, but this was after my little brother and no.3 sister, both preschool in age, used an entire bottle of 18 year old Single Malt in a game in the garden. Apparently they were 'washing stones'. They seem to have tried it, thought it was vile, and must be 'cleaning stuff like Mummy has in the kitchen'. My mother had been busy with no. 4 sister for five minutes.

flow4 Fri 03-May-13 10:16:47

The trouble is, locking up booze is what you do after trust is broken (and I do, because it has). But you locked it up before, so you proved to him you didn't trust him. If he's generally a trustworthy boy, he will have seen that as unfair - he may well have thought I may as well, cos they don't trust me anyway.

It's not a big deal in itself, but you can probably learn from it: if you want him to prove himself trustworthy, you need to give him trust; if you act like he can't be trusted, he'll probably prove you right.

In this situation, I don't think what he's done deserves punishment, but I do think you need a conversation about trust.

The sleepover is a separate issue imo. If you think there's no risk of inappropriate sexual behaviour, talk to the parents and let him go.

Maryz Fri 03-May-13 10:26:29

If you have children you can trust, you don't have to lock up your booze (or your car keys, money, passports and other valuables).

If you have trustworthy children, of course you think others are mad and asking for trouble if they lock up your booze.

My first experience of this was when ds1 had a boy from school for a sleepover. They were 13, and took and drank a bottle of red wine from my kitchen.

I felt really terrible that i hadn't kept a better eye on them. When I told the other mother, she laughed and said "oh, well, they are teenagers now, what do you expect" hmm

That was the day I stopped trusting ds and also stopped trusting his friends' parents. I also started drinking locking up all the alcohol.

Hullygully Fri 03-May-13 14:09:21

Yes Mary, you are right of course. I have two relatively well-behaved easygoing teenagers but that is simply my good fortune. And who knows what the future holds.

I am the strictest mother in the world, according to DS2 who is 15.
I wouldn't let him sleep at a mixed sleepover last week because neither he nor I knew the crowd who were going very well. We picked him up at 11.30. I also didn't let him go to a party where the parents were out and the supervising adult was a big brother.
On the other hand I did allow DS1 to go to several mixed sleepovers when he was 13 and 14. I knew the friends and the parents.
It would never have occurred to me to lock up booze or anything else for that matter. And, like Hully I know I am lucky.
Has he got form for stealing stuff?

Cerisier Fri 03-May-13 15:29:05

We are obviously not the strictest of parents. DD 14 is sitting here watching LOTR and has a can of Budweiser. DH also has one. It is late here though as we're in Asia.

I agree with those saying they'd only lock up the booze after a breach of trust.

Mixed sleepovers- yes if I know the parents and there is an adult in the house.

membershipcard Sun 05-May-13 07:21:08

Just an update...
The sleepover is offsmile I asked for the mums phone number and another parent wanted to go and see the host-mum. And suddenly it was all off, they just going out for something to eat instead. I feel happy that it's off without me saying NO

The booze cupboard s still locked and will remain locked. There is accessible drink around the house. Beers in the fridge, opened wine on the bench etc. my theory is if he drinks what he can find unlocked he will be drunk. But if he drank lots of the stronger, locked up stuff it could be a lot more serious.

Btw...the booze cupboard is known as the 'Christmas cupbard' as that is where I put all the prezzies and Christmas goodies. This is the original reason for having a lock on it.

Mynewmoniker Mon 06-May-13 15:43:37

So the place up the road from me that has thieves locked away...they must be Santa's helpers, mem? grin wink

pixiepoopoo Thu 09-May-13 14:21:22

You lock up rice pudding in a cupboard!!!

mumeeee Thu 09-May-13 20:57:19

Another one here who would never think of locking booze away, We don't have that much generally but always mainly wine and beer. Our children are in their 20's now but when they were teens they would not have taken our alcohol and we always trusted them not to.
I wouldn't have allowed mixed sex sleepovers though.

deleted203 Thu 09-May-13 21:02:11

I don't lock the booze cupboard. But I wouldn't let a 14 yo (of either sex) sleep at a friend of the opposite genders house. Not if it was a person I did not know. And probably not if it was a person I did know, TBH. It is entirely the wrong age for 'mixed sleepovers' IMO.

elmerelephant Tue 14-May-13 22:03:01

I dont lock my alcohol away either, last year my son took a bottle of jack daniels, I told him how upset and disappointed I was that he had taken it, and said that if he wanted to drink we could discuss it.
I still dont lock away my alcohol, because I trust my son.

Talk to your son about the issues surrounding alcohol

cory Wed 15-May-13 08:43:56

I think if this thread shows anything it shows that teens are all different and that you deal with the teen you have, not the teen some other parent has.

I don't lock up alcohol but I do lock up the paracetamol because past experience has shown me that this is where the danger lies for dd. Ds otoh would almost certainly be safe from that danger; if he was our only child I wouldn't lock up anything except possibly the chocolate brownies.

My db got into trouble over alcohol as a teen, not because of any alcoholic tendencies on his own part, but because he was a socially insecure teen who was terrified of losing his place in the gang. Otoh I wouldn't worry about that situation for dd at all, as she has never shown any signs of being easily led.

Explaining the dangers works with some teens, not with others.

I would not lock up my booze, but then I never have much in the house , I can see how loads would be a temptation to a teenager with his friends round. my kids know if they touch my wine or sprits I will be very mad, its mine not theirs, if they want a drink I will give them one, but they are 16 and 19 and only really like beer or cider which I don buy often. As to the sleepover if there is a group and the parents are happy with it I would let him go

Emmy02 Thu 23-May-13 13:32:32

why do you keep a "very full" cupboard of booze? Do you and your DH drink a lot? You are making it tempting for him. Maybe you should keep minimum amount of booze, and not draw attention to it by keeping it locked away and warn your DS you will know if he takes any.

Lifeisontheup Thu 23-May-13 14:21:14

I've never thought of locking my booze cabinet, DS is alone in the house from getting home until one of us gets home from work and I think it would send the message that we don't trust him. He has the occasional can of cider (he's nearly 17) and the older ones have a drink if they want to.
Youngest did try a swig of gin once when we were on holiday which I think put him off spirits for life!
We don't particularly like sweet alcoholic drinks so perhaps that makes them less attractive to teens. I can't imagine many like single malt and I would notice if any of that disappeared.

lulu6867 Fri 24-May-13 15:27:05

Never mind locking the booze why do you lock up the rice pudding?!!

brass Tue 28-May-13 13:04:19

I think if this thread shows anything it shows that teens are all different and that you deal with the teen you have, not the teen some other parent has.


tiredaftertwo Wed 29-May-13 09:19:47

Isn't it funny how half the time the thin gs you worry about miraculously fall through as you ask questions? smile

One of my dc has been going to mixed sleepover since early teens - they are a mixed group. Those of you who suggest ringing the host's parents, do you yourselves actually do this? I only ask because I always said I would and then when it came to it it was clear that would provoke massive confrontation at my house, so went for other ways....

mathanxiety Thu 30-May-13 06:01:43

The sleepover was probably planned for the parent's absence and when other parents started sniffing around it got hurriedly cancelled. Someone in your DS's friend group is a bit what my mother would call 'fast'. Or maybe there's more than one individual. Is your DS trying to get in or stay in with a cool group that boasts about drinking? What do you know about his friends?

Personally I have never locked up any booze. I don't know how it has happened but the DCs have so far responded to Hully's sort of talk. DS had one bender that I am aware of when out with friends, and he woke up in the emergency room the next morning with nurses and doctors spinning him stories about running naked around town. Sort of funny to hear him ask did it really happen ...

OTOH, I would never allow a mixed sleepover.

LoveBeingUpAt4InTheMorning Thu 30-May-13 06:16:47

grin @ mixed leepover

flow4 Thu 30-May-13 08:33:54

Cory, "Deal with the teen you have, not the teen some other parent has" is a gem! It's gone straight to 2nd place on my list of good advice for surviving the teenage years, after Maryz's "Detach, detach, detach"! grin

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