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How cross/severe would you be

(19 Posts)
Canyouforgiveher Tue 12-Aug-14 18:37:39

DS is 17 - almost 18. Going into final year of high school (we are in US). Will be heading away to college next year. Drinking age is 21 which is a pain. He is a good kid. He has been working all summer in a good summer job. At night he often hangs out with friends in our local town. I kind of suspected they may have flinched a few beers from the fridge and had a chat with him. The other night he arrived home having been out with his friend, drunk and high on pot. We dealt with him (he was panicky), talked to him the next morning, took his phone/computer etc. Now we are thinking about consequences.

So on the one hand I expect him to experiment a bit but want to be as discouraging as possible of him drinking/buying/smoking illegal substances. He lied to us too. On the other hand, I recognise he is a decent kid who is doing what all teens pretty much do and lying to parents is pretty normal. And he is also almost 18 which is an adult but he will be an adult still dependent on us as we will be funding college.

We are going on hols next week and his friend was going to come with us. We are going to cancel bringing his friend (wish we didn't have to - this is different friend to one he was with but has also been involved in drinking/smoking over the summer). I plan on giving him his phone back tomorrow. I think he should get computer back in a week or so. DH (who doesn't drink, has never smoked anything, and is extremely law-abiding) would probably take everything off him for the rest of the month. I think that is over the top. We haven't discussed yet.

DS hasn't complained at all about being electronic-less. He has been pretty quiet and ok with everything (while explaining to me that there is nothing really wrong with smoking). We haven't been angry with him since the initial night it happened - are talking to him as usual.

Sorry for long post. He is our eldest so we are learning as we go. Are we over the top in consequences/not heavy-handed enough? I do understand that kids try stuff but I don't want him to think it is acceptable either because to us it isn't. Ideally I want him to head to college next year age 18, equipped to make good enough choices while still having a good time. Is there a magic pill for that I can take???

embox Tue 12-Aug-14 18:40:18

What exactly is your question?
Forgive me if I'm incorrect but I think this is a troll...

Canyouforgiveher Tue 12-Aug-14 18:42:56

no not a troll. God are dh and I so overprotective that it comes across as a troll??

My question is what would your consequences be for a 17 year old who came home high and drunk? Nothing? Something? Major? Anything?

Twitterqueen Tue 12-Aug-14 18:49:57

You're in US so totally different - straight-laced, Victorian, judgemental attitudes.... (I'm UK)

He is a 100% totally normal teenager. And there are so many parents who would be glad of that.

If you were in the UK you would get a totally different response.
From what I see you are doing A OK.
Minimise, but make him see it's really not a good thing to do.
Do the patronising thing - "well obviously we expect you to go through this phase at your age and naturally we'll help you. And we know that you'll grow out of it in time...."

willowisp Tue 12-Aug-14 18:50:41

Ground him for a few days ? Explain the consequences & discuss what & where drugs can take you ? (From someone where all the druggies are still losers 20 + years later).

Canyouforgiveher Tue 12-Aug-14 18:54:30

Thanks Twitterqueen. I agree 100 percent normal so maybe we will take it from there.

I don't think US is particularly straightlaced - many of the parents I know smoke pot/drink etc. and have done more in the past - and accept that teens/college kids will too. But there is definitely less open tolerance of young teenage drinking than in UK and Ireland. Probably because of the ridiculous age 21 legal drinking thing which is actually a deterrant to normal conversations/interactions about drink.

Earlybird Tue 12-Aug-14 19:03:22

I'm not in your shoes (yet), but think one of my major points of emphasis would be that your ds should absolutely not drive when he's been drinking/smoking, and should not to get into a car with a driver who has been drinking and/or may be stoned.

Tell him to always call you for a lift home - any time of day or night - and that he won't be punished. Obviously, you are not condoning the conduct, but realistically, he's at an age where he will experiment. Just let him know his safety is your paramount concern.

Once he's off to college (in another year....assuming he's going?), you'll have no idea what he's up to.

NorksEnormous Tue 12-Aug-14 19:05:42

I would be extremely disappointed at the drugs. DS is only 4, so I have a while to go yet but if he ever came home under the influence of drugs I wouldn't be able to shrug it off ad 'one of those teenage things'

I didn't do it as a teenager, neither did my siblings or DH. I would ground him for at least a month and take away phone, play station, iPad, whatever

ElephantsNeverForgive Tue 12-Aug-14 19:11:03

Both sides of the Atlantics drinking ages are stupid, all British teens drink from -16 (my rural pubs served us at 14).

21 is just daft, it just ensures every single young person has broken the law and pisses of tourists with older DCs no end.

Therefore he'd be in no trouble for drinking, a bit of trouble for getting drung and grounded big time for the pot.

I've never done drugs, my dad would have killed me and I've never vaguely seen the attraction.

DDs know I will be very angry if tbey put random unknow chemicals in their bodies.

TheFairyCaravan Tue 12-Aug-14 19:13:28

I've got 2 teens.

I would be annoyed at the drugs, but not so much the drink. You've punished him already by taking his phone and computer and aren't taking his friend on holiday. I don't think there is anything else to do.

What stands out to me for your post is, he is a good kid. He has worked the Summer, he has had a blip. They all do it. He is still that good kid!

lljkk Tue 12-Aug-14 19:53:29

I was a druggie 1980s teenager in the USA.
So naturally I'm completely baffled why anyone thinks this is a troll. confused

At nearly 18 you can't control very much what he does. You may be able to limit his funds to get illegal substances and you can explain why you will go to great lengths to protect him from them & deter him from using them. I'd go more down the "disappointed in you" line than any other.

FarFromTheMaddingCrowd Tue 12-Aug-14 23:07:12

The only point I would make is - are you US citizens? If not, then your DS could get into trouble with immigration if caught breaking the law.

Cinders12 Tue 12-Aug-14 23:12:21

I agree he's just normal. What you don't want to do is alienate him in any way.

Middleagedmotheroftwo Tue 12-Aug-14 23:19:45

At his age, and in UK, I'd have no problem at all with the drinking. Taking drugs is stupid, and I'd be disappointed, but at 18, its his Iife to lead niw he wants to. He could be living independently, in which case you'd be unable to punish him anyway.
The 21 drinking age in USA is stupid too.

ancientbuchanan Tue 12-Aug-14 23:26:59

V normal, great that he was panicky, though.

I'd point out the safety stuff, which I completely agree with, and also say that it Is never ever worth running the risk of a criminal conviction, which would be with him to declare all his life and the US is pretty stiff about. All sorts of avenues get closed.

Then I'd say that he's had his chance, and leave it at that. If there is a next time, sanctions would need to be much stronger.

Also say, that if he finds it hard to resist peer pressure, and it can be, you don't mind being blamed. And if he needs an incentive, like you'll take him somewhere if he has not done x by w, you can cone up with one, real it otherwise. ( eg my parents have promised me to take ne to x if I don't smoke and drink until I am at least x .) The reason is to give him a protective shield against peer pressure. Which he can then combine with " which means I'm fine to drive you home".

We did something like this for Ds, on another issue, where he was being put under huge peer pressure. We were able to be blamed by his peers, who sympathized with him, but he was relieved underneath it all.
You sound great, he sounds great too.

ladygracie Tue 12-Aug-14 23:29:34

Why are you not taking his friend away now? I think that is more than enough punishment really.

Canyouforgiveher Wed 13-Aug-14 01:03:31

Thanks everyone, this is very helpful. Most of the comments got across the range of reactions we have had. I don't think this is a major thing (other than the drugs being illegal - the drink being illegal isn't major) but I don't want to minimize it nor do I want or overreact because I want him to continue being the person he is - relatively responsible, nice to us, good kid, etc.

My son has already accepted his friend can't stay with us - we said it in the heat of the moment at the time (the friend was only going to stay with us for a few days) I actually might have relented if he had been upset about it but he is ok. The other things - phone computer etc will go back to him. I think he feels he had a good run without getting caught this summer so it probably ok with a few restrictions.

bigTillyMint Wed 13-Aug-14 01:17:44

It is normal teen behaviour.

His reaction suggests to me that he is deep down glad that you have reacted like this - that you are prepared to stick up for your values and that he in some way regrets his behaviour and that he has made you disappointed in him.

LeftHandedMouse Wed 13-Aug-14 10:32:04

I think you've been a bit harsh stopping his friend going with you on holiday.

You did say the friend wasn't involved in the drink and drugs so why remove an otherwise good role model?

It sounds like he didn't enjoy the feeling of being out of control that much?

I genuinely think the embarrassment of being caught, having to confront his parents the next morning is enough. It's no wonder he isn't reacting badly to his 'punishment' he probably realises he has got off relatively lightly and has learned a lesson.

He's presumably relying on you for his college years too?

Still plenty of opportunity to say 'Look you understand what you've done, you know we don't approve and we're trusting you not to do it again. We were looking forward to having <friend> on holiday too so let's stick with that plan. Knowing full well if it happens again, you're toast ! :-)"

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