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Teenagers and alcohol - help please!

(7 Posts)
Snagglybaggly Wed 26-Nov-14 23:56:20

My 17 year old DS has friends (boys & girls - i think there will be about 8 of them) coming over. They're going out to eat, going to an alcohol-free party and bobbing in and out of our house before, in between and afterwards. We have rather a lot of alcohol in the house, mostly left over from a party last Xmas (we hardly drink!) which includes quite a lot of spirits. We also have some wine and beer ready for this Xmas.
My DS is quite mature in some ways & resonably sensible - although very naive - and we have a great relationship. His friends that I have met are lovely - but they are all teenagers, and there will be a group of them. Im conscious that as they are going to an alcohol free party, the reason for gathering at our place may not be unconnected to the amount of alcohol they think may be available beforehand at ours! And our DS has asked whether he could have some beers for the night.
Am I right to be worried about alcohol? Would I be naive NOT to hide the spirits? But if I did that, what message does this send about trust to my son? Also, would other parents think it acceptable for their children to drink beer at our house? (Unfortunately I dont know the parents to ask). I suspect they will all have alcohol on them anyway - but that is different to drinking ours! I don't want to be a killjoy, but Im also conscious that I have a responsbilty here.
It's the first time that Ive had to deal with this situation, so I am finding my way. I have already spoken to my DS about some ground rules but Id love to hear how other parents have handled this type of situation.
Some of them are also sleeping over, but that's a diffent challenge!!
This is my first post on Mumsnet BTW!
Looking forward to hearing any thoughts, suggestions and shared experiences (good and bad). Many thanks x

BrowersBlues Thu 27-Nov-14 00:38:03

Snaggly, this is a very tricy situation. Your son is 17 and it is perfectly legal for him to have a drink at home. I allowed my DC to drink the odd glass of beer thinking that it would lead them to become moderate drinkers and not have to drink behind my back. I am not so sure that it was the best idea because once they turned 15/16 they went out drinking with their friends and it was not moderate.

Whatever you do please get rid of the spirits. Beer might be ok but no way should they be drinking vodka etc, no way on this planet!

I bought my DS about 4 cans of beer once to go to a concert. He got some vodka from someone on the bus, drank a lot of vodka and ended up assaulting someone and was held in a prison cell overnight. The police did not look very impressed when I admitted that I sent him away with some beers.

It is a pity that you don't know the other parents. I knew some of my DS's friends parents who mostly said they were ok with a few beers. One parent was categorically not ok with it.

I am sure other mums will say its fine but honestly it doesn't rest easy with me. You have to balance it out and consider whether imposing a blanket ban would embarrass your DS.

It is not an easy decision and I will be curious to see what other parents think. Basically I think a few beers, closely monitored is ok. I don't know if they are the kind of kids who may smuggle in some harder drink to drink at yours but I would definitely keep an eye on it.

nequidnimis Thu 27-Nov-14 09:46:42

My teens regularly have friends over, including before and after parties, but it has honestly never occurred to me to hide the alcohol so I am quite surprised that you are so worried about this situation.

It doesn't sound like your DS has done anything to make you mistrust his motives but if you are worried why not tell him that you are going to hide the spirits so that none of his friends are tempted by it, and so that he isn't put in the difficult position of having to say no.

I would not be buying beer either - buying a couple of cans for your DS to enjoy at home is quite different to you being the soft-touch parent who will supply it for all of his friends. If they want beer they should talk to their own parents.

Whilst all of mine had the occasional alcoholic drink at home from about 15 onwards, I would not assume that other parents would be happy with this arrangement, and I would be cross if other parents bought alcohol for my children.

SecretSquirrels Thu 27-Nov-14 09:48:54

An alcohol free party at 17 is unusual. I doubt if any of their parents would object to them having a beer. Letting them loose on the spirits is another matter.
I also think that at 17 it's not your role to ask the parents, they are almost adults and you have no reason not to trust them. I would ask them if they are allowed beer and let them have it.
I certainly wouldn't be hiding the spirits, you would be treating them like children at best and potential thieves at worst.

sweetfluffybunnies Thu 27-Nov-14 11:38:07

I would hide the spirits and I would not provide beer or cider, but would not mind if people brought their own to drink. We have done this a few times and it has worked out okay.

You may trust your own son not to drink spirirts, but how well do you really know his friends? And ime it doesn't take a lot of vodka for a teen to become very drunk, and probably ill.

ChillySundays Thu 27-Nov-14 13:36:42

I would allow bring your own and get a few cans for your DS. I would not be impressed with a parent buying for my DS (16) but I would buy for him but that it decision to make.

Are the drinks in a cupboard? If so, then no one should be finding them - I would expect my DS to not to let people go through my cupboards. I would also expect him not to let anyone help themselves to wine from a rack.

ChillySundays Thu 27-Nov-14 13:37:09

I would allow bring your own and get a few cans for your DS. I would not be impressed with a parent buying for my DS (16) but I would buy for him but that it decision to make.

Are the drinks in a cupboard? If so, then no one should be finding them - I would expect my DS to not to let people go through my cupboards. I would also expect him not to let anyone help themselves to wine from a rack.

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