What should I do if I catch my teen drinking?
Real Mom Problem
“How would you handle things if you found out your 16-year-old was drinking with a friend?”
- 1. Talk to your kids about the dangers of drinking, and especially drinking and driving
- 2. Remind your kids that it's illegal to drink before the age of 21
- 3. Tell your kids to call you if they find themselves in a situation where alcohol is involved or need a ride
- 4. Encourage them to get involved in sports and other extra-curricular activities to keep them away from alcohol
- 5. Always keep the lines of communication open
Real Mom Solutions
We'd all like to believe our kids would never touch alcohol and will always make the right choices, but the reality is that many teens will experiment with alcohol at some point. See how these moms handled it when they caught their teens drinking.
We Went With a Traditional Punishment
We grounded our daughter for a week when she was caught where kids were drinking, took her phone, and said no computers. She was on lockdown. We also explained that we were saddened by her choices and that our trust in her was broken. That was probably harder for her than any of the other stuff we did. We spoke again about drinking (I knew she had in the past, or I should say suspected) and let her know that until we felt we could trust her again she would be watched a little more closely.
I caught my son drinking. He came home and got sick. I offered him shots of whiskey and put the bottle up to his nose right after he puked. Then I grounded him for a month.
When we caught our son drinking, I took away everything for a week and he had to go to our youth diversion program where he had to do 20 hours of community service.
We Made Sure they Learned Their Lesson
I would make him do a research paper on underage drinking. Make him include all the laws around alcohol and the facts related to alcohol deaths and teens. I would have it typed and turned in. I would then grade it and make him fix it.
I would have her attend a youth AA meeting, even if she isn't an alcoholic.
I would have him write an essay on the effects of drinking at a young age, such as alcohol poisoning, and the legal consequences. It is a learning punishment.
We Talked Openly About Drinking
We always told our girls don't drink, but if you do drink, please, please, please don't drink and drive. Just call. Our oldest was 18 when she called one night for Dad to go get her because she couldn't drive. When he drove up she was puking on the curb. He brought her home, but we didn't ground her because she called. She said it hadn't been a habit and she wasn't going to make it a habit. And that was true. (She's 27 now and no more incidents.) I think the issue you would want to deal with is whether or not this is something she's doing as a pattern, or whether it was a more isolated incident. And she definitely has to earn back your trust to have any freedom. Trust = freedom in our house. No trust = no freedom.
I never see anyone mention asking their kid why they want alcohol or drugs in the first place. What's missing in your life that alcohol or dope will fix? And what have the dopers accomplished that you want to be like them? I suggest approaching your teens with these questions gently, like a conversation, not an accusation. And you will need real answers. "Everybody does it" isn't an answer.
I would have a nice in-depth conversation with him about the results of drinking and complications it can cause. I would also lay out what the punishment will be if he drinks again.