My DS is 16, almost 17, just finishing 10th grade (started a year late, long story). He was invited to a end-of-year party being thown by another 10th grader. When he asked me if he could go, I asked if there would be adults home. He said yes. I asked if there would be alcohol. He hesitated before honestly answering Yes. I asked if he planned to participate in the drinking, he answered Probably.
When I was in high school my BFF's mom hosted all the parties. She knew there was underage drinking but she had rules that we were all required to follow if we wanted to have these parties. No one ever got hurt, no one drinking ever drove, and we weren't allowed obvious containers (plausible deniability I guess). She recognized that we were going to drink and party anyway, but in the comfort and safety of her home we were semi-supervised, safe and in the event of an emergency she was there.
While I am not willing to accept responsibility of underage drinking in my home, I think am willing to allow my son to attend a party where it is happening. He is a responsible guy, gets all A's in advanced classes and is active in sports. He knows he can call us at any time if he or his friends are in trouble, no matter what. I have confidence in him to make good decisions but have never seen him in a peer-pressure type situation. We have agreed in many cases that until he gives us a reason not to, we will trust him. His maternal grandfather and bio-mom both suffer from life consuming alcohol and drug addictions, so we (including DS) are all aware of his vulnerability.
So fellow moms, what are your thoughts? DH and I are leaning toward letting him go, but I'd love to hear your opinions.