Mar 22, 2007

When Parents Want to be Buddies

(Toledo, OH) One of my teens came home last weekend after spending the night at a friend's house and complained that she thought she had food poisoning. When my wife checked her MySpace page later that day, however, she learned that the source of the illness was the alcohol she drank the previous night.

What's worse, the mother of the kid hosting the party was the provider of the booze. This "parent" is of the mindset that "kids are going to drink, so I may as well have the party here where I can supervise it."

What bunk.

Ma'am, your job is to parent your child and to set clear boundaries. At sixteen, your kid is hardly ready to make informed decisions about intoxicants, and frankly, neither is mine. I resent the fact that you are an irreponsible idiot, and that you set such a lousy exmple for my daughter.

And, while you are free to turn your house into any kind of debauched adolescent saloon you want, be advised that I will have no qualms about passing along information to the police should I catch wind of another adult-sanctioned teen drunk fest at your abode.

Finally, look in the mirror and ask yourself this question: "Do I want to be my kid's buddy, or do I want to do the hard- but- necessary job of parenting?"

End rant.


Anonymous said...

I can not believe people do this.

Do you know this parent very well?


historymike said...

"Not well enough" is the smart-aleck answer.

Yes, we briefly met her a few times; nice house, friendly person.

Just a clueless moron.

And this happens all too often. It seems that hardly a week goes by without reading about some similar parental stupidity.

Anonymous said...


If you have any friends in law enforcement, you may want to informally drop a hint about what is going on so that they can watch the house for future parties.

I hope that your daughter wasn't driving after the party. Things could have turned out much worse than just "food poisoning".

Good luck.

Billy Pilgrim said...

Mike, I concur a hundred percent. While I may not have much room to talk on this issue as a recently relapsed boozer, I think there is a MASSIVE difference between a 20 year old college freshman having a few drinks on the weekend, and a 16 year old getting alcohol from a trusted parent. No 16 year old is mature enough to handle the repercussions of alcohol and drug use--even few adults can. Parental bonds always change when a child becomes a teen, but there must be balance between the newfound comraderie among two adults and the obligations parents still have to instruct and discipline. Partying together is certainly not the answer.

Hooda Thunkit said...

"Modern" parents...

Makes what other "enlightened" things go on with her family and in her house.

Is the dad as clueless Mike?

News Grinder said...

Mike, why wait till "next time"? I'd move on this now. It was criminal.

Anonymous said...

Huh?(deletes this bookmark)

MP said...

16?!?! 16?????!!!!!!


I join your opinion, good sir. Parents who are "buddies" are not parents at all.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Some people just shouldn't be parents.

liberal_dem said...

Good post, Mike. it gives other parents a heads-up on this situation.

After all, alcohol is the drug of choice in America.

historymike said...

Anonymous #1:

Yes, I have some cop friends, and I passed it along.

historymike said...

Billy Pilgrim:

Agreed about college-age teens. High schoolers have trouble wiping their own noses, let alone be screwing around with booze (and worse).

Besides, parents have to be the ones to draw the line. Yes, kids will still find ways to get booze and drugs, but giving the parental OK to them is insanity.

historymike said...

Not sure about the dad, Hooda. My understanding is that the parents are divorced - I'll have to dig further. Maybe he could raise a stink.

historymike said...

News Grinder:

Pretty tough to get the Toledo PD to give this much attention after the fact, but they would be quicker to act if the party was in progress.

historymike said...


Tough call, that. I do see a lot of incompetent and ignorant parents, but I'm not sure I would want to see the idiots sterilized. Sounds too Hitlerian.

historymike said...

Agreed, ld, and too many people think booze is harmless. As many as 4,000 people each year die from alcohol poisoning, according to this study.

Anonymous said...

Most kids in other countries are legal to drink at 16, at least beer and wine, and by 18 they can have booze.

This country is still based in tea toddling Puritan ethics as a fake staged movie set.

So what? We all drank at 16, but in this case at least there is a mom present to make sure there isn't any out of hand violence, a gang rape or anyone getting behind the wheel of a car.

Prudish parents are usually the ones who find themselves with kids who are really getting into the bad stuff behind their backs and then into some bad trouble with the law.

Besides, a bit of experimental drinking in the teen years (which everyone did and still does) and there will be less of an urge to over board binge drink when they go to college.

Take off your yoked collar black garb and keep it real.

historymike said...

(adjusts yoked collar and black garb, climbs back on soapbox)

So, Anonymous, should parents just sit idly by as their kids engage in all sorts of behaviors for which their maturity level is inadequate?

Should we let them screw in their bedrooms, just because they're "just going to do it anyhow?"

Let 'em fire up the bong and the crack pipe, since it's just "experimentation?"

You sound like someone who has never parented a teen. Good luck to you if you ever do, and God help your kids if you already have teens.

And - as far as the mother in question - she's not "supervising" so much as she is promoting teen drinking. She bought the booze and thinks there is nothing wrong with a bunch of kids drinking to excess (there were more than a few kids with "food poisoning" Sunday morning, some as young as 14).

You are assuming a lot about this person. There were kids drinking and driving, kids puking in the yard, and kids having sex at this house (I admit I left some of the details out of the post).

Moreover, I am "keeping it real." I think a parent's job is to set limits and enforce the rules when kids go past those limits. Kids die every week in this country from alcohol poisoning, and that is very "real."

Maybe Americans are prudish, but I have to worry about what I can affect, which is my own little sphere.

Finally, quit knocking the Puritans. They loved beer, liked to screw, and get a bad rap from ignorant moderners about their morals. They just had major issues with things like adultery and witchcraft.


The Screaming Nutcase said...

"Prudish parents are usually the ones who find themselves with kids who are really getting into the bad stuff behind their backs and then into some bad trouble with the law."

In my experience, it's been absent parents that are a problem--whether they are "prudes" or not.

After all, a crack whore wouldn't be considered prudish, would she? But how many crack whores do you know with well-adjusted kids?

Anonymous said...

Mike, I'm wondering if a call to CSB might get more prompt action than a call to TPD?

Rick said...

This is a tough balance!

Anonymous said...

So Mike, you never did some boozing and maybe a little then some when you were in your teens?

If you say no, let's hope your nose doesn't grow because most teens do a little "partying" to some extent.

It sounds like this mother is the extreme in the wrong direction, but there is a balance.

If a couple of kids have a few beers at her house, with a cut off point as well as the understanding that all who drink must stay over the night or have a sober ride home, I see no harm done.

In fact I would say it is safer than if the kids drank to a dangerous level in the woods or a home were the parents were not present.

There is a balance without putting the kids in danger and excepting the inevitable by living in reality of what teens are going to do no matter what you try to impose on them.

Screaming Nut- if you want to face a more realistic example, why don't we explore the effectiveness of that absurd "abstinence only" program waved around by the Xtian religionists?

You know, the one with the 85% failure rate?

As a parent one can either believe in the fairytale of that silly concept or live in the real world and make sure your child is safe from unwanted pregnancy and the risk of AIDS and have condoms available.

The phase of the teen years is based in experimentation, as much as a parent would prefer to keep their child in a box, we all know that it is impossible.

One can face these years as either a dictator or a guide, and probably the best is a little of both.

It's all about finding that balance.

historymike said...

"Balance"? Hardly.

It's illegal behavior, pure and simple, and if I condone illegal behavior as a parent, I may as well let my kids hold up liquor stores, sell dope, or engage in any other illegal behavior.

And yes - I have made many mistakes in my life. That does not mean that I should be wishy-washy and let my kids make the same mistakes (or worse).

As far as "fairy tales," I would suggest that parents who think that they should sit back and let kids screw up their lives - under the delusion of "experimentation" - are the ones living in a fantasy world.

You want to lower the drinking age? Get some petitions, and maybe I'll sign them. But until the day that booze is legal for 16-year-olds, then I will do my job as a parent.

McCaskey said...

I for one will not be signing any petitions to lower the drinking age.
It's fair do say that some 16-year-olds could handle booze responsibly, but not enough that the age should be lowered for the majority that, in my opinion, could not.
I also feel that advocating drinking for 16-year-olds with the stipulation of parental supervision would simply make it MORE COOL for those 16-year-olds to do it WITHOUT the supervision, when given the chance. "Hey, Mom says two's my limit with her present. I can drink THREE with her not around."
Finally, there's simply way too many kids out there who don't get enough support, nurturing and attention from their parents. Putting alcohol in their hands legally at 16 in a recipe for disaster.
I'm not a prude. At 53, I've done every drug expect heroin and crack cocaine (although my drug days are long since over). Sure, before 18, I snuck a beer now and again. But, you could count 'em on one hand (well, maybe 7 or 8 fingers). Same with pot.
We simply should not be pushing adult-oriented indulgences onto teenagers. We should not be involved in speeding up the process. We should be trying to DELAY it, and try to allow these kids to remain children as long as we possibly can.

historymike said...

Well said, as usual, McCaskey.

Anonymous said...

Most parents who do what this mother did, make the assumption that their kid is therefore only drinking with them. That couldn't be further from the truth. She has just given them a sanctioned place to drink illegally. She is kidding herself.

McCaskey said...

HM: this is a post that should included over at Toledo Talk and SwampBubbles (I really, really hate typing that) with a link to your site.
The volume of responses I'd think would be impressive and interesting.
Just a suggestion.

Anonymous said...

If a couple of kids have a few beers at her house, with a cut off point as well as the understanding that all who drink must stay over the night or have a sober ride home, I see no harm done.

Are you assuming that the parent providing the alcohol has complete disclosure of each child's medical history and whatever prescription medications that those kids might be taking? Or did you not give that matter any thought before deciding that you "see no harm done"? (I'm guessing its the latter.)

I suppose I don't have a huge issue with an indivdual parent making a decision on what will happen in their own home with their own children as far as alcohol consumption is concerned. But in no way, shape, or form do I think it is even remotely acceptable for a parent to provide alcohol to someone else's minor child behind their back.

I have seen firsthand some pretty nasty side effects/complications when people have consumed alcohol while on prescription medication (or with other types of medical conditions). How many teens are going to offer up that kind of personal information to their friends and/or friend's parent who is providing alcohol? Most kids don't want to be stigmatized like that.

Just something to think about that you might not have considered before saying that you "don't see any harm" in a parent providing alcohol to someone else's kids without parental consent...