Posted by: Cool mom | 2012/02/08

Do i allow my 16year old son alcohol on his

i realy seek urgent advice,my boy turns 16 in a few weeks and asked for a braai at home with a few of his friends. Today he asked me if some of his friends may have a few ciders(alcohol) because all of them sleeps over and their parents do allow them to take alcohol on " special occasions" ? Me and my son always had and still have an open communication and understanding and i know for a fact that he does not drink or smoke...because last year he asked me if he could try smoking " hubbly"  because al his friends does, so i took out the pipe and allowed hm to smoke infront of me( i dont smoke hubbly but keep the pipe locked for friends who does). I do, however drink alcohol over weekends, and always keep it in the freezer. He was still a little boy when he was curious of how it taste and i let him taste, and he didnt like it, up till now he''s asked 3 times to have a little bit of shampaigne on festive seasons,and i let him, and thats why i think he never bothers to drink because he tasted it and he knows to ask me whenever he wants to. the problem is however, all of his friends are drinking behind their parents'' back,and he so much wants this party with his friend, i already told him that there will be no party if that''s his friends intentions, but i just want advice as to how i can make him understand that i am his mother first before i a can be his friend, i told him as such and he understood, as he always does,but i need him to understand why i am saying No, and i need to know How i am saying No,because i can see he feels under pressure, and he even told me that he understands but does not want to look like the " nerd" ??

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Our expert says:
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That he is cautious and asks you about it, is a major safeguard. It sounds as though he understands that he is fortunate that you are his mother before being his friend, but at 16 it's reasonable for him to wonder why, as you HAVE allowed some alcohol on special occasions, you feel on this occasion it is unacceptable. Actually, it isn't clear to me, from your mesage, why you feel so strongly that this is not right on this particular occasion -- is it maybe more about the other boys might be expecting or getting up to ? Presumably you will be at home and a chaperone ? In communicating your concerns and refusal to him, its important to be clear about your concerns.
Maria makes an important point about the illegality of serving alcohol to minors, tough I;m sure it isn't expected to apply to every occasion at home when a young teen is given a sip of sherry.
As others point out, there's no need for Him to appear uncool, as the responsibility should be clearly yours ( and invoking the law ).
Smoking the bubbly is probably more of a threat to his health and that of others, than a little alcohol, by the way.
Purple's approach ounds very like my own.
There is some expert debate about this, as in countries like France where it is usual for children to sip small quantities of wine ALWAYS at home and wih food, that their adult alcholism rate is lower than ours. But that might, if a genuine effect, be related to a broader sared culture rather than policy within a single family.
I'd think it worthwhile to hav a calm discussion with him on broader isues of being cool versus uncool, peer pressure, and so on, to fore-arm him to face arguments from some friends

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Our users say:
Posted by: Jenna | 2012/02/10

You can be a cool mom without breaking the law. These kids have to realise that, well, they are still underage.

I used to be friends with a girl that had a cool mom too. Biggest mistake of my life hanging out with that lot. The mother let us drink alcohol (not a little, a lot), drink with boys, have sleep overs WITH the boys. Of course, at that age you think it''s all cool and gravy, but it will esculate. Next he''ll ask if he can try weed.

Don''t do it.

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Posted by: Kelly | 2012/02/09


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Posted by: Purple | 2012/02/08

Being a " cool mom"  is not always the right way to go. It is great to have open communication with your child and I strive to do the same with my children. However, it is a fine line between being a parent and being their friend.

A parents role is to guide and prepare a child for adulthood. Smoking hubbly is like smoking an unfiltered cigarette, so you aren''t teaching your child much about caring for his health by allowing him to do that. Having an open relationship means discussing the pros and cons with him and then saying that as a parent you don''t want him doing it. Yes, he will still probably do it behind your back, but he will try it and stop. It is a time of experimentation and learning and breaking away from parents. If you let him do pretty much whatever he wants, he isn''t getting to experience this normal part of development.

I am certainly going to let my children have one beer or cider at a family braai when they are in about grade 10 or older - but it will be one and it will only be at home when everyone is having one - and only one. My verkrampte parents even used to let me have shandy''s in that situation (and my parents were seriously strict and quite unreasonable about many things - and I still feel that way even with adult eyes). However, I will not allow alcohol at a teenage party and I will not allow my child to attend parties where the parents in charge allow alcohol at the party - even if I am hated and treated like an ogre.

Personally, I wouldn''t allow it. As you have an open relationship with your son, an appeal to reason will probably work and he''ll understand why. Yes, he and his friends will probably sneak some in and drink it at the bottom of hte garden - but at least they respect you enough as the adult to do it out of your sight. If they do it openly and don''t care whether you see or not, it means you are like the middle aged person in a night club who thinks they are really cool but everyone is laughing at because they haven''t realised they have grown up yet.

Giving toddlers sips of alcohol is not a good idea - their little kidneys get put under strain trying to process it. I don''t drink often (maybe one or two drinks every few months or so), and when my son has asked, I''ve just said " no, wine is for grown ups only" . Both my kids have had some exposure to a bit of alcohol in my breastmilk though :-) as I still have some champagne on my birthday and valentines day and hubby''s birthday.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: qwerty | 2012/02/08

He doesn''t have to look like a " nerd"  - you can squarely take the blame for this one and be the bad guy.

You are saying no because:
1: as Maria points out, it is illegal to serve alcohol to a minor  and
2: you cannot take the risk of someone else''s child possibly leaving your house intoxicated. (I know you said they''re sleeping over, but you can''t stop them from leaving if they wanted to)

If anything goes wrong here you will be held responsible, not your minor son. (even if someone has an accident in your house unrelated to drinking, you will have a hard time proving it wouldn''t have happened if everyone was sober)
So you are completely within your rights to say no.

Reply to qwerty
Posted by: Maria | 2012/02/08

No, you don''t allow alcohol, because that will teach your son that your values are worth nothing, and you will go against them in the face of peer pressure. Not to mention that it''s illegal as far as I know to serve alcohol to minors. You did well to raise a son who is open and honest with you, I hope that when my daughter reaches his age we have such a good relationship.

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