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Take beer to a teen party?(oh yes that again!)

(26 Posts)
HmmmIwonder Mon 11-Mar-13 11:56:16

DD is 14, most of her friends have turned/ are turning 15, so I know this is going to keep coming up and need to find a strategy to deal with it .
She's going to yet another 15th birthday party this week, and all the kids are talking about what alcohol they're taking. Vodka seems to be the tipple of choice shock (and how can they afford it anyway? confused).
DD is a nice kid, doesn't drink (the odd glass of champagne at Xmas party with adults) and is wary of situations where she'll be out of her depth.
One party she avoided altogether because there were some 'dodgy' kids going. At another party, she stuck to Coke , but then had the piss taken out of her for weeks afterwards, so she doesn't want to do that again.
At the last couple of parties she hasn't taken any alcohol to the party (not an option -looks too young to buy it) but has had a can of beer from other people. (She said she's only had one each time and I believe her because she didn't seem at all drunk). But that led to lots of sarky comments from friends about her drinking theirs that they'd paid for.
This isn't going to go away, so we have to work out how to manage it. From the fact that she's told me as much as she has about these parties, I think she's behaving quite sensibly, and i'm very happy she can talk to me about it.
So for the next party, i was thinking of letting her take a couple of small bottles of low alcohol beer, from home. I know I know, it's wrong to give her alcohol ! But a) we'd know what she's drinking b) she'd stick to her low-alcohol drink that she's brought, so could comfortably say No if someone offers her stronger beer or worse drinking c) she's contributing to the party and not sponging off anyone else.
I sort-of know the party girl from primary school days,they seem like a nice family, her parents will be going out for an hour or so but won't be far away.
What do you think and does anyone have any better ideas?

MrsDmitriTippensKrushnic Mon 11-Mar-13 12:18:50

Truthfully? (and I know I'll probably be in a minority) I wouldn't let my 15 yo go to an unsupervised party which involved alcohol. I could probably trust my DS1 to drink nothing more than a can/bottle too, but I don't know and definitely don't trust all the other drunken teens attending.

titchy Mon 11-Mar-13 12:38:48

I think that's an eminently sensible compromise tbh.

AMumInScotland Mon 11-Mar-13 12:41:51

She needs to find better friends hmm - does she actually like these people? People who take the piss out of her for not drinking loads of alcohol?

Like MrsDmitri, I'd be unhappy about a 14yo going to an unsupervised party where people will be getting drunk. For one thing, people might find it "funny" to spike her drink - reasonably easy with vodka. They may also be stupid and out of control, and she could get involved in their stupidity through no fault of her own. Plus, with a mixed group of teens and drink, she will soon (if not already) be under other peer pressure in terms of sex and/or drugs.

But, having said all that, if this is her friends and they're better than nothing, then yes I'd buy her some low-alcohol beer and make sure she understands to hang onto it once its open so it doesn't get "topped up" with anything stronger.

And try to encourage her to have the strength of character to spot their behaviour for the immaturity that it is.

nickstmoritz Mon 11-Mar-13 13:48:50

I would not let my DD (also 14) go to an unsupervised house party. I would not be happy with her drinking alcohol which she hates the taste of anyway. She would not be drinking because she wanted to but because of peer pressure and I am trying to help them not to give in to this. DD shrugs off the stupid comments about not having a boyfriend or not having done "certain things" that her y9 peers have done (bloody hell that is a whole new can of worms I'll tell you). She is not a shy reserved type either, she is my bubbly noisy one.

I have an older DD almost 16 and she doesn't drink yet. She has avoided some parties/situations where others have been drinking and has suffered by sometimes being left out which has upset her. However, now she is finding that she is really well respected for being herself and is getting a decent social life with the nicer girls at school and she has gained a lot of strength of character. Your DD does not have to bow to peer pressure and neither do you. BTW I love a drink and have got nothing against it and expect Dcs to try it but when THEY want to not because of other people and not Vodka..I have heard the horror stories from DD1s school which involve lots of sick, stomach pumps and peoples wrecked houses (state all girls grammar too).
But..all that said, everyone's different and you need to decide what you think is right for you and DD. But always...stick with your (good) mates and keep hold of your own drink to avoid spiking, have a mobile and if you do have a drink make it last a long time, make it a low alcohol beer or shandy.

mummytime Mon 11-Mar-13 13:52:32

My 14 and 16 year old don't go to parties with alcohol. They also don't drink Champagne at Christmas, and actually don't even want a sip of wine any more.

specialsubject Mon 11-Mar-13 14:13:52

teach her that she's not a sheep and needs to find some more interesting friends.

HmmmIwonder Mon 11-Mar-13 14:21:54

Thanks for your replies. DH and I do tell her all the right things about not giving in to peer pressure, not doing things you don't want to, etc so she knows all of that stuff and tbh I think the way she talks openly to me about these parties shows it does go in, and she is doing the best she can to tread the fine line between doing what she, and we, feel comfortable with and not being a 'goody-goody'.
Yes some of her friends are immature and insecure, as she is in some areas too - of course they are, they are 14/15!
we will no doubt be talking more about the party as the week goes on, about who's going etc, so will find out more what kind of party it is.
As i said she has made an excuse before to avoid going to a party she didn't like the sound of (that was 14-15 yr olds, with alcohol, and the parents away overnight, teenage older brother in charge - now THAT'S irresponsible madness, IMO!) .
I do sympathise with her, though, peer pressure is huge at that age.
Ideally I'd like to talk to the parents but I don't have any contact details for them and DD would freak at the very thought!!
nickstmoritz - i know the can of worms you mean. My DD is in Year 10 and tells me about things some of the kids get up to - having a small bottle of beer seems very mild in comparison. So she is keeping a distance from a lot of stuff she's not ready for and i respect her for it, and trust her judgement because of it, though like any young person she needs guidance.

nickstmoritz Mon 11-Mar-13 14:31:06

Does your older one know the people going to the party? What does she think of them if so? You sound very together and your girls sound like they can be trusted. If the party does get a bit out of hand or your DD isn't comfortable then she can call you and get picked up early.TBH sometimes it only takes one or two in the friendship group to say they aren't drinking alcohol to make it ok for those swaying about on the fence to say the same and if they all agree to stick to soft drinks then no-one will be pressured. They might be relieved that someone has said it first.

jellybeans Mon 11-Mar-13 14:33:27

I let my DD go to them since about 16. She has only been to a few and all were nice friends and nice kids who also went. They also drink at Rangers camps etc with the older guiding group. I usually let her take a couple of bottles of low alcopops but it is naïve to think that is all they will drink. I just have to trust that DD is sensible. After all she will be at Uni in a couple of years...

BinarySolo Mon 11-Mar-13 14:41:08

Could you send her with becks blue (alcohol free stuff) and either remove or swap the labels?

WeAreEternal Mon 11-Mar-13 14:47:45

The best advice I can give is to tell her that no matter what happens she can always call you and you will never be mad at her and encourage her to always tell you what she is doing, let her know that she is able to tell you things.

Realistically she is probably going to try a drink, but she is growing up and hopefully she is sensible enough to say no

I have two brothers and a sister and growing up we all went through this type of thing, everyone does, the thing that made me confident to do what I wanted was knowing that my parents were always there (they gave me the advice above) so if anything did happen or I ended up in a dodgy situation I always felt like I could call my parents, where as most of my friends lied and sneaked around.

secretscwirrels Mon 11-Mar-13 15:45:50

DS1 is 17 and parties here didn't feature alcohol until Year 11 when they were all turning 16.
I agree that you have to be pragmatic and she has to learn to handle these situations but I still think 14 is too young.
I would not let her for to any party where there is no responsible adult present. A big brother does not count IMO. I have made myself very unpopular once or twice when I have said no to a party.

GraduallyGoingInsane Mon 11-Mar-13 20:46:16

WeAreEternal said it! I've always told my DDs that if they need rescuing they call. If they can't speak freely (for fear of being overheard and labelled a 'snitch' or any other reason) they are to say ''you ask the questions" to which my first one would always be "do you need me to come for you?" This way, they can communicate their need for help by yes and no answers if needs be. I've promised that no matter what, I'll come and there will be no consequences. There might (and honestly, probably WILL) be a conversation about what happened, but no groundig, no shouting, just me being proud they stayed safe.

DD1 has used this once. It was bloody hard not to shout - she'd left the party and gone into the nearby town. She was definitely tipsy, and the idea was clearly to try to get into adult clubs. One of the group had offered drugs around. DD called. I picked her up, she feigned 'being caught'. I was angry that she was drunk and had deceitfully gone to town, but so proud, and so relieved that she made the right call in the end. No consequences, a long chat, and some alterations to her friends, alls well that ends well.

I have 4 DDs. My eldest 2 (year 10 and 12) have both been to parties with alcohol. I've always taken each party on a case by case basis - if they've been friends with the party kid for many years, or I know and trust the parents, or it's very close by, and parents will be back after a few hours, it's more likely to be a yes. Camping in the woods in the middle of nowhere with boys from another school who are a couple of years older was a no. If it was a blanket no to all parties, I suspect DD would have stopped asking and started lying, and then would have ended up at that party. Compromise is key.

I've bought both DD1 and DD2 alcohol - low volume stuff like weak alcopops generally, beer would be ok. Spirits are a no. DD1 favours Buck's Fizz - and at 0.5 units a glass I like it too! If DD3 asked now (year 8) I'd say no, too young. Year 9 summer onwards is my (totally arbitrary) threshold. I'd also make sure I picked them up (as opposed to sleepovers) at least at first. Then they can't get too 'drunk' as mum would see!

Good luck, you sound like you're doing all the right things. Kids are bloody hard!

nickstmoritz Mon 11-Mar-13 21:09:05

I like your tips on phoning and will use your "codeword" idea. Great thinking. My main concern would be them getting home safely and being able to call me whatever the situation.

BackforGood Sun 17-Mar-13 16:28:47

I have to agree with the majority that it's NOT OK to be drinking alcohol so casually at this age. I have a dd of 14 (who doesn't even want to try a sip, but that's fine with me) but also a ds of 16 who had had the odd beer or cider at home with us as a 14yr old. Alcohol didn't start to appear greatly at peoples parties though until 6th form with him and his peers. Even then, they are cool with people who prefer not to. It doesn't appear at dd's friends' gatherings.

MooMooSkit Sun 17-Mar-13 16:37:33

No. Under 18's if they had a teeny bit of alcohol at parties (i mean alcopops and maybe wine with lemonade) FINE but I'd expect parents there to make sure no other alcohol was being brought in. These threads do always tend to go the same way and it's a general no to all of it.

cory Tue 19-Mar-13 09:40:26

My standpoint is that supplying alcohol for an underage person is illegal (whereas serving them in your home is not) and dc will have to wait a long time before I get in trouble with the law to keep their social standing up. If they decide to break the law, then that is their look-out, not mine. I am always happy to talk about ways of handling a situation.

Dd (16) does go to parties where there is drink but does not dare to drink herself, partly due to medication. She does know we would come out and rescue though and has used that to rescue a friend instead.

TheSecondComing Tue 19-Mar-13 09:47:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cory Tue 19-Mar-13 16:47:35

I don't see any evidence (from my own teens or from what dd tells me) to suggest that the child who is sent to a party with bottles of beer will be less likely to try his friend's vodka than the child who hasn't been so kitted out. Possibly the opposite as even beer does affect judgment and weakens resistance.

Also fwiw I do care about my breaking the law. I think dc have to accept that my feelings and my career and my standing with the local authorities matter as much to me as their relationship to their peers does to them. I am not a more important person than they are, but I am not any less important either.

But mainly I think there is a big difference between them wilfully doing something illegal though they know I have tried to stop it, and them wilfully doing something illegal encouraged and abetted by me. If they want to try something I disapprove of, then they will have to accept that it is their responsibility, not mine.

It may be hopeless to try to stop them from experimenting with drugs in a few years time. But I am not going to be supplying the dope to keep them off the heroin.

TheSecondComing Tue 19-Mar-13 19:51:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Zinkies Tue 19-Mar-13 23:33:40

"My standpoint is that supplying alcohol for an underage person is illegal"

This may or may not have much bearing on the OP's question, but that isn't, in general, the case in the UK. I'd prove this by linking to the relevant legislation, but that's quite difficult here as I don't know exactly what you think is illegal.

If it's important to anyone what the law is, you can read it here:

cory Wed 20-Mar-13 12:54:53

It's not an ivory tower, TSC, I am well aware that they may be trying all sorts of things. I am not naive enough to think this will necessarily keep them off drink. I don't think any method can be guaranteed to do that.

All I am saying is, ok if you are grown up enough to make that decision you are grown up enough to accept full responsibility: don't try to hide behind me! If I don't want to do this, I will not be emotionally blackmailed by any threats that you are likely to behave more dangerously if I don't. If you choose to behave more dangerously (around drinks or in other ways), then that is your decision, not mine.

Zinkies, my understanding is that it is perfectly legal for me to serve my child alcohol in the home; also that beyond a certain age it is legal for me to buy them a drink when we're eating in a restaurant; but that it is illegal for me to go into the COOP and buy a bottle of wine and then pass it onto dc. And kitting them out for a party would seem to fall into that last category.

BackforGood Wed 20-Mar-13 17:49:46

I totally agree with Cory
TSC - I'm not sure mocking other posters helps in a debate - argue the points, for sure, we all have differing opinions which is what makes for a good thread, but don't try and ridicule people please. It's also fairly relevant that you are talking about your dd since she went to college. I think there's a big difference between a 6th former / college student, and the OP's 14 yr old.
I too have a dc in the 6th form, and things are very different from when they were 14.

Zinkies Wed 20-Mar-13 22:41:50

cory: "that it is illegal for me to go into the COOP and buy a bottle of wine and then pass it onto dc." No, that's not the case. A lot of people think it is because of these two offences:

"buys or attempts to buy alcohol for consumption on relevant premises by an individual aged under 18" (relevant premises are licensed premises), and

"buys or attempts to buy alcohol on behalf of an individual aged under 18"

People misinterpret the latter offence. It means buying alcohol for them as their agent. It actually says this in the explanatory note:

"Subsection (3) makes it an offence for a person to act as an agent for a child in purchasing or attempting to purchase alcohol, for example, if a child gives money to an adult to buy alcohol in an off-licence for consumption by the child. The offence also applies where a member of a club has alcohol supplied to a child or attempts to do so. Subsection (4) makes it a further offence for a person to buy or attempt to buy alcohol for consumption by a child on licensed premises, for example, where a father buys a drink for his son in a pub. The offence also applies where a member of a club has alcohol supplied to a child (in circumstances where he actively caused the supply) or attempts to do so. Subsection (5) provides that this offence will not be committed if a person aged 18 or over buys beer, wine or cider for a person aged 16 or 17 to
consume with a table meal on relevant premises (see the definitions in section 159), in circumstances where the 16 or 17 year old is accompanied by an adult. This provision thus re-enacts the existing exemption in section 169D of the Licensing Act 1964."

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