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17 is a hard age...

Posted by on Feb. 5, 2014 at 4:53 PM
  • 4 Replies

I found out recently that my 17 YO DD had been doing some things kinda behind our (DH and I) backs.  For example, she was going to parties without mentioning to us that the parents weren't always home and sometimes alcohol was being served.  However, she does not drink (just the smell of any kind of alcohol turns her stomach), so she is always the Designated Driver when she attends these parties.  This has been confirmed by several of her friends, and also when I snoop and read her texts and FB messages, she does get some gentle ribbing about the fact that she doesn't drink.  Nothing that would make her feel bad, just some friendly teasing (I actually think her friends are quite grateful to have someone in the group who can be counted on not to get drunk). 

The way we found out about this was that she was out on a Friday night and I was trying to get hold of her and she wasn't answering, so my husband tracked her iPhone and it wasn't where she'd told us she'd be (a friend's house).  Turns out she was with this friend and others at a Hookah Lounge.  Again, she doesn't actually smoke the Hookah (she finds it disgusting), but several of her friends do, so she hangs out with them there.  None of them are old enough (supposed to be 18), but apparently it isn't something the police feel is worth their time, since no alcohol is sold in these places, so they don't do anything to deter the 16 and 17 year olds from patronizing these establishments. She basically decided to come clean about everything once we found out about the Hookah thing.

When I asked why she lied about these activities, she said it was because she has a hard time dealing with our disapproval.  We basically told her that we realize she is almost an adult and we understand that she needs to make some decisions for herself, but she also needs to be aware that just being present when underage drinking and smoking are going on can be enough to get her into legal trouble, even if she isn't participating.  She said she does understand, and she doesn't do it often, which is true (she has been to the Hookah Lounge 3 times, and about the same number to parties where alcohol was served), but bascially just wants to hang out with her friends and they occasionally want to engage in these activities. 

She is going to a surprise birthday party this weekend where the parents will be home, and are providing beer.  They've requested all attendees to sleep over so no one will be driving under the influence leaving the party.  I guess I'm just concerned that the more she is exposed to this, the more likely she will be to succumb to peer pressure,  throw caution to the wind and just try it (if she can get it down without vomiting, of course).  But, at the same time, she will be 18 in a few months and if I forbid her from going, I feel she will be very resentful and also more likely to lie about her whereabouts.  She's had a bit of a rough time finding the right 'group' of friends, and even though these kids participate in activities she's not interested in, they don't give her a hard time about not participating, which I think is why she likes them. 

She is an Honor Student, in National Honor society, on the board of her youth group, in another philanthropic club at school, etc., etc. She is basically a good kid, well-liked and college bound.  I guess I'm just growing increasingly concerned about outside influences?  Two of her school friends whom she's known since middle school have dropped out of school due to pregnancy. They weren't close friends but I knew them and never would've expected this.  I think some of her friends occasionally smoke pot as well; again, she and one other girlfriend have never tried it, but at what point will the peer pressure get to be too much?  I am grateful that she is once again talking to me about this stuff (it stopped for awhile when she was keeping things from us), but at the same time, knowledge isn't always power...sometimes it can drive you crazy!

Sorry this is such a long ramble, I know there really are no answers, I guess I just needed to get it off my chest. Anyone else dealing with similar issues?

by on Feb. 5, 2014 at 4:53 PM
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by on Feb. 5, 2014 at 5:06 PM

I have a 21 yr old and 15 yr old. I dont know why teens feel like they need to lie to there parents. you seem to have a very smart daughter that makes good decions and choices, not all of parents have that. Teenage yrs are rough yrs for them and for us parents. As much as we try to protect our kids we always cant.

by Susie on Feb. 5, 2014 at 5:16 PM
She needs consequences for her actions.
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by on Feb. 5, 2014 at 6:59 PM

She is a young woman and no longer a child. She will make her own choices .

by on Feb. 6, 2014 at 9:04 AM

At least you have a daughter that seems to be making smart choices to not participate, however, when you continually hang with those that 'do', I don't believe that your daughter won't eventually participate, simply because she is being left out.  I have a 17 year old, as well.  She doesn't speak with us about anything.  She HAS done all of the above, and was simply caught.  She feels justified in what she was doing and claims she can make her own decisions about stuff, but has also said that 'she learned her lesson, so we should trust her, now'.  There were consequences, other than the natural ones, as well.  She knows our disapproval, and that gives her, for some reason, all the more incentive to be sneaky.  She has landed in the ER for alcohol poisoning (her reason, bf breakup and that was how she handled it...drinking away her sorrow), she was caught with another 'friend' who was pulled over while he was driving...smoking pot.  The consequences were huge.  Both natural, and ours that we imposed.  Hanging with the wrong friends who do this stuff, only encourages each other to participate.  Our daughter IS resentful since we had found out what she had done.  We test her for drug use occasionally and each and every time she comes home on the weekends from friends, we test her with a breathalizer to see if she had been drinking.  Not to say she hadn't been drinking earlier in the evening and by the time she drives home, it has worn off, we won't know that part.   I HATE to do this, but she had lost trust....and this all leads to the resentment, as well.  We are between a rock and a hard place with our daughter.  It would be nice if we had the openness as you seem to have with your daughter, however, I have heard it time and again not to fool yourself if your child hangs with those that are doing these things, your child most likely is, as well.  I see many parents that have the attitude that, well, if we serve alcohol to my kid and their friends, we'll just let them spend the night here so they are 'safe'.  Are you kidding me?  This is promoting illegal activity and those parents would be in so much trouble if one of those kids decided to leave in the night and got into an accident and it comes back that they were drinking at a house that the parents served alcohol!  wow.  How stupid of these parents.  How ignorant of the parents allowing their kids to stay at someone's house who allowed this!  One of my daughters friends, mom, thought nothing of serving alcohol to her daughter and friends as long as they spent the night.....when I found this out, my daughter has been forbidden to spend the night there, or anywhere for that matter, since she had been deceitful to us.  All the reason for being resentful to us, right?  Probably.  But, we are her parents and are trying to be responsible at it, not allowing illegal activities.  When she finally matures, she, in time, hopefully, realize we loved her that much.  You are right, 17 IS a hard age.  But, I think 18, 19, and 20 are, as well.  I also have two older kids, and it didn't get any easier....while I didn't set any rules after 18 (other than being home at a reasonable time and, at least a phone call if not,...yet, still no drinking allowed until 21 or drug use at all, if living in our house!).  

Right...there are really no answers.  Every child is different.  Every parent, parents a different way or in the way they feel is best for their child.  We all want our children to be safe.  And, sometimes it takes something terrible to happen to drive that through our kids head that what they participate in, may not be safe at all and that there are consequences, as well.  My ramble....

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