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is this normal alcohol behaviour?

(13 Posts)
takingfive Tue 13-May-14 13:08:39

I really need some Mumsnet wisdom on this one. My DD is 17 and a lovely girl at heart. And I have been very supportive of her, loving and giving, I think we have a good relationship.

But I'm aware that she has always been prone to tell lies or be very conservative with the truth. Recently I've become aware that she is smoking and is regularly drinking. I don't like her smoking but she has promised not to smoke in front of me or her younger brother. In return I won't tell her dad! However, she has got a part time job which pays very well and this seems to have led her to drinking more and now I have found vodka hidden in her bedroom.

My dad is an alcoholic and hides his drink. So now I'm petrified but I don't know what to do for the best.

takingfive Tue 13-May-14 13:46:25

Sorry, should have said that she is not taking good care of herself either which I'd put down to exam stress but now I wonder if it's the drink. I don't know whether to talk to her gently, get angry, involve her dad, other family members. If I ask her about it she is likely just to lie.

takingfive Tue 13-May-14 15:45:16


Beeyump Tue 13-May-14 15:53:15

Don't get angry, please don't. I just saw this in active threads, and would never normally comment on something in 'Teenagers' because I don't have any! But I was one, not very long ago, and displayed behaviour similar to your DD.

It doesn't mean that your DD is an alcoholic. (I was and am, which maybe makes my post worrying for you, I hope not.)

I just think you should try to talk to her generally about how her life is going, if she is particularly worried about anything. Be there for her. I really feel for you.

littlegreenlight1 Tue 13-May-14 16:12:07

I havent got the alcohol issue yet but I wanted to wave.
My 16.5 year old took up smoking as her one and only way to rebel. I tried getting angry, I tried being cool, nothing stopped her. She has smoked for about 12 months now and there is nothing I can do about it. She earns her own money and somehow gets tobacco. Argh.
She is also in the midst of exams and has a constant cold and looks rough because she doesnt look after herself no matter what I do (feeding her, vitamins, water bottles!) but I really have to pray it is a "phase" and she will stop being such a "errrr I still havent found the word for it" soon.

So Im not really much help, I know she has drunk but Im yet to find bottles (probably soon) but I feel your pain I really do, mine is gorgeous and funny and sparkly and so clever but she is going through a real "I know best" phase which just makes me cringe.
Having said that she is revising for sociology with her friend in the kitchen and I dont understand a word, they are soooo clever. So Ill try not to moan today.

Probably cross your fingers, show her (as you sound like you do) that you are there for her and support her in all she does.

Cleanthatroomnow Tue 13-May-14 16:19:05

Just wondering why you would keep this information from her Dad? It's pretty serious stuff. Does he not have a right to know?

Wolfiefan Tue 13-May-14 16:20:36

You won't tell her dad! She's conservative with the truth? You do see the irony?
How well hidden was the booze? I think you have two options. Either explain you found it and are worried (health risks of smoking and drinking and history there) or leave it and see how quickly the bottle goes down before leaping in and telling her off.
FWIW. I remember hiding things I felt were private at this age. Could it be hidden from younger siblings rather than just you?
Many people have a cheeky one before heading out. Could it just be that?
I would also consider how alcohol is viewed in the house. Could she have a drink now and then at home (soon be barbecue weather!!) to help teach responsible behaviour.
Disclaimer: I have no teen children and may well be talking complete rubbish!!

ProfYaffle Tue 13-May-14 16:25:35

I think there's a world of difference between an alcoholic hiding alcohol and a teenager hiding alcohol from Mum.

I'd second Wolfie's idea to talk about alcohol in general and model responsible behaviour. I wouldn't have a problem with a 17 year old having a few beers at home.

No teenagers disclaimer from me too!

borninastorm Tue 13-May-14 16:34:47

I've got a 15 year old DD and a 20 year old DS1 (and a 4 year old DS2). DS1 hid that he was smoking from me for a long time. I was disappointed in him when I found out and I was angry but I was more angry that he'd hidden it from me, I thought we had a better relationship than that.
But looking back I understand that he chose to hide it rather than face my disappointment and I think it also gave him something to rebel against as I'm a pretty liberal mum.
I've been pretty laid back about alcohol so he's never felt the need to hide it from me cos he could always have a beer in the house or have wine with me with dinner.
So, what I'm trying to say is I don't think your DD is an alcoholic, I think she doesn't quite know where you stand on her drinking alcohol and rather than deal with any anger or disappointment from you she's decided to hide it from you.
I'd talk to her openly and honestly about alcohol, tell her you understand that girls her age drink and you're happy with that (if you are) and you don't mind her having a few drinks in the house (if you are) - so long as its not every night and not during the day.

littlegreenlight1 Tue 13-May-14 16:42:10

I do remember hiding booze in my wardrobe as a teen. Id stash what was left from one weekend for the next.

FWIW re: not telling dad, youre being a mug. And this is from someone whose daughter smokes.
She smokes in my garden, hell I dont like it but at nearly 17 she would be tramping the streets late in the evening if I didnt allow it plus we have a lot of smoking friends who may come over for bbq at weekend, so Im used to smoke around. Plus she will do it where ever and whenever else she feels like on way to school/work/friends houses.
BUT I made it clear I was telling her father. He went nuts, but what really gets me is that she wont smoke around him. I feel like she respects him more than me and that is what your daugther is doing to you. Getting away with not telling dad is not a good choice to make!

takingfive Tue 13-May-14 16:43:55

Thank you for replying. I don't know why she is hiding it but it worried me because of my dad. Yes I do get the irony of me not telling her dad about stuff but they have a crap relationship and it would be yet another drama that I don't think I can cope with.

She said something about me not knowing the half of it the other day when I said I didn't think she drank much because I do have a beer or a cider with her now and again and she rarely finishes it.

She refused to expand on what she had said, I must have just caught her off guard and i haven't thought about it again until now.

Maryz Tue 13-May-14 17:26:17

Have you talked to her about her grandfather? Have you said to her that you are worried not that she is drinking (all teenagers drink) but that she is hiding it.

Make a list of questions for her:
How much do you drink on a Saturday night?
Do you drink at home alone?
Have you ever had a drink before school?
Have you ever not remembered how you got home?

That type of thing. Give her the list, and tell her you don't want her to answer you, you want her to go away and have a read of it and have a think, so she can decide whether or not her drinking is a problem. Explain that genetically she may have a tendency to alcoholism, and you would like to help her to find alternatives to alcohol if she feels the answers are worrying.

Don't get cross or have a row; don't corner her for answers. At this stage you want to get her to think - if you push her she will lie.

Go back and talk to her 24 hours later and see whether she opens up at all.

Don't promise not to tell her dad. She has to think you are a team, even if (short term) you want to protect her a bit, because in the unlikely event it is a serious problem you will have to involve him.

takingfive Tue 13-May-14 18:09:13

That sounds good. I will write down some questions for her. I'm really not sure about telling her dad though. I can't see it helping in any way sad

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