Hi's Eye

Parents’ stance on teen drinking varies from home to home

Samantha Forcht and Caitlin Hogge

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






It’s 8 p.m. and a WHS senior girl is starting her going-out routine: getting dressed, putting on her makeup and, of course, turning off her location. “My mom constantly tracks my location when I go out, even if I’m just hanging out with my friends,” she said.  She has to lie to her parents whenever she is planning on going to a party. She has to tell her parents she is going elsewhere; it’s the only way she’s let out.

On the other side of town, another WHS senior is getting ready as well, but her routine is setting up her house with the help of her mom for a party. Her mother has supplied everything, from cups to alcohol and even ping-pong balls. She is so excited to have people over and have fun, with drinking in the mix.

When it comes to parents’ positions on their children and alcohol, the views are vastly different. From promoting drinking to totally restricting it, no two parents have the exact same approach in handling these situations.

There are many different types of parenting, all valid. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the main parenting styles are authoritarian, permissive, neglectful and authoritative. Authoritarian parents keep their children on a tight leash and when their child does something wrong, they are punished. Permissive parents are more relaxed and feel as though it’s OK to fail. Neglectful parents ignore their children. Authoritative parents balance permissive and authoritarian parenting and are at a middle ground. Throughout this article, we will explore all these different kinds of parenting when it comes to attitudes toward children and alcohol.

For purpose of confidentiality, no students’ or parents’ names will be used in this story.

Vodka at a teen party. photo by WHS student

In some households, alcohol is absolutely forbidden. Whether it’s due to the fact that the parents don’t drink, or that parents are simply against their children breaking laws, the child never wants to get caught with alcohol. “My parents are really against drinking,” said a WHS senior boy. “They always lecture me about how drinking could lead to other bad influences and regretful decisions. As I’ve gotten older, my parents have eased up just a little about drinking, but their perspective will always stay the same.”

Sometimes the authoritarian parenting style can cause some children to not be as open with their parents and to lie to them about their locations. “To be honest, I don’t always tell my parents that I’m drinking,” said a WHS senior boy. “Sometimes I lie and tell them I am going to a friend’s house. I have to lie because I’m usually worried that they will say no to me drinking.”

In other households, drinking is allowed and even promoted. Some parents let their kids drink as frequently and as much as they want without question. A WHS parent said, “In many cases I’d actually prefer if my daughter was drinking at my house, because at least that way I’d have some control over what is happening.”

Some parents hope that their kids will just drink safely. If their children are going to drink, they want them to be smart and know their limits. “My parents feel that it is OK that we drink but they don’t want us to go too far with it,” said a WHS senior boy. “They want us to drink safely and with awareness.”

One WHS parent said that it is incredibly important for her children to understand exactly what drinking too much can result in. “I have let each of them binge once without consequences,” she said. “I think it’s important for them to know their own limits.”

In other households there is a middle ground with drinking. A WHS senior feels as though this is the way it is in her household: “My parents were completely against me even staying out late freshman year,” she said. “But, since I’ve never had any instance in which they couldn’t trust me, and since I work so hard in school and am older now, I’ve been able to come home at 1 a.m. and everything be alright.

One time my mom actually caught me drunk, and instead of punishing me, she just helped me get into bed and everything was fine.”

Another WHS parent chooses to look at reality and accept the fact that her child drinks. “I realize that my kid drinks,” she said. “They must do it responsibly, no binge drinking, absolutely no driving and make sure that they and their friends are in a safe environment.”

Some parents choose to ignore their children’s drinking. Instead of trying to control their drinking or promote it, they choose to turn a blind eye. “I’m really not allowed to drink at all, but they don’t say anything unless I’m noticeably and really drunk,” said a WHS senior girl.  

While some parents promote drinking, others simply sleep easier knowing their child is drinking in their own house, where they know everything is safe. “If my daughter has friends over, I never let it get over around 30 [people] and I have to be home just in case something goes wrong; I’d rather be home if something were to happen,” a WHS parent said. “I’d never encourage underage drinking, I just feel as though if it is going to happen I’d rather it be under my roof.”

WHS parents range from playing beer pong with their teens to tracking their teens’ every move. WHS Health Teacher Ms. Susan Kolesar has her own ideas about why parents react in different ways to children drinking. “I think some parents are just more approachable than others,” Kolesar said. “I also think some parents are more permissible. Still, others might even encourage or engage in drinking with their teens to be cool, fit in, or for some other motivation.”

All some parents want is for their children to be honest, no matter what. “Although I am not a huge fan of my son drinking, I don’t have as big of an issue with it when he’s honest with me,” said a WHS parent. “It’s catching him in a lie about drinking that I have issues with.”

Kolesar is a big proponent of this approach. “I think honesty is the best policy between parents and children in most situations,” Kolesar said. “Parents and teens should be each other’s greatest ally. With honest communication, most situations can be handled.”

One WHS parent occasionally lets her kids have parties. However, when they betray her trust, there are consequences. “If they throw one without my permission, the consequences are severe and life-changing,” she said. “Most recently, the consequence was five weeks grounding, three weeks lost phone. The whole house was in a state of disaster.”

From authoritarian parents to neglectful parents, there are a plethora of ways that parents handle their children’s drinking. One WHS parent’s key advice is open communication. “I think you need to know your child,” she said. “In theory, no underage drinking would be ideal, but don’t assume nothing is happening. Try to keep the lines of communication open.”

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Parents’ stance on teen drinking varies from home to home

    Features

    Retiring staff reflect on careers

  • Parents’ stance on teen drinking varies from home to home

    Features

    Women’s suffrage: How far have we come?

  • Parents’ stance on teen drinking varies from home to home

    Hi's Eye

    Club sports: A hidden gem

  • Parents’ stance on teen drinking varies from home to home

    Hi's Eye

    Hi’s Eye slices into wedding cake debate

  • Parents’ stance on teen drinking varies from home to home

    Hi's Eye

    WHS Sports Update

  • Parents’ stance on teen drinking varies from home to home

    Hi's Eye

    Time for teens to broaden news-gathering habits

  • Parents’ stance on teen drinking varies from home to home

    Hi's Eye

    Girls golf dominates, finishes 12-0

  • Parents’ stance on teen drinking varies from home to home

    Hi's Eye

    WHS students flock to Gov Ball

  • Parents’ stance on teen drinking varies from home to home

    Hi's Eye

    Prom-blem: Technology takes over

  • Parents’ stance on teen drinking varies from home to home

    Hi's Eye

    As shootings mount, district reacts