Teenager gets drunk... (wwyd?) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 07-21-2010, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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REALLLLLY drunk.

First, let me say it wasn't my teenager, and my teen wasn't even in the country when this happened.

My dd's friend has been extremely sheltered her whole life. She was never allowed to even walk to the school bus stop by herself until her junior year in high school. Then, after 16 years of keeping her on a short leash, they suddenly let it go. She's gone a little nuts with her newfound freedom.

She's been drinking for a while now. Only once (that I know of) they did something very, very dangerous. But, I didn't get involved. Maybe I should have. (a group of friends got drunk, then went walking three miles away and accepted a ride from a stranger who drove them another seven miles in the wrong direction before dropping them off in front of a store)

Anyway.. last week, she got drunk again. They had two designated drivers who stayed sober. She was so drunk that some man took her into the men's restroom at Mcdonalds and held her head in the toilet so she could throw up. Then Mcd's kicked the kids out because she was so obnoxious. The other kids were trying to sober her up. Eventually they took her home and she tried to get in her own truck. (the friends took her keys home with them so she couldn't drive)

She passed out in her kitchen floor, and the 12 yr old found her and tried to wake her up. The 17 yr old was still Yakking all over her house, so the 12yr old woke up Dad. Dad helped her, and got her through the night, but then in the morning woke her up and made her do yardwork all day. LOL (but, it was 114 degrees this weekend)

Anyway... obviously, she could have easily died. She could have had alcohol poisoning, or been hurt or taken advantage of at the party. She was very fortunate to have friends who kept a close eye on her. But, they are also teens... so, they can't be held responsible.

Mom wants her to move out. Dad wants to send her to some cabin in the middle of Wisconsin, Grandma thinks they are being too harsh.

I have no idea what I would do in the same situation.

What would you do?

*background.. mom and dad are divorcing. They just lost their business, and are losing their home in about two months. So, this is not the only family crisis.
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#2 of 18 Old 07-21-2010, 03:30 PM
 
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Well first of all, these parents have obviously screwed up somewhere along the line. The first and only time I ever got REALLLLLY drunk as a teen, I called my dad and had him come get me because he had already prepared me for what to do if I ever made some bad choices and needed help. He let me know that I could trust him to take care of me and deal with the consequences after I sobered up.

My dad put me in bed, gave me something to barf in, and then in the morning he made me eat an omelet (BLARG) and we talked about why I did what I did, how he could trust me not to do it again since I had such a bad experience, why getting drunk is not that grown up or cool, etc. and that was that.

Wanting her to move out? What the crap? Seriously? Obviously these parents are jsut freaking out and have no idea what to do. They need to talk to their kids rationally about drug and alcohol abuse, re-tighten the leash on the daughter to a REASONABLE extent, and make a plan for what she can do to stay safe if she makes bad decisions again.

My DD's not old enough to be getting in this kind of trouble, but I plan on handling drugs, alcohol and the occasional teenage slip-up with drinking just the way my dad did.
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#3 of 18 Old 07-21-2010, 03:55 PM
 
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I agree the parents obviously screwed up.

And now they are trying to wash their hands of her. There would be no moving out, no cabin in the woods (I have read horror stories about places designed to "help troubled kids").

I also plan on handling these things the way my dad did, well maybe a little less harsh... He did have a habit of setting my alarm for 5am and cranking the volume...

Basically I agree with all of what the PP said, particularly about re-tightening the leash to a reasonable extent. That honestly seems like the biggest mistake these parents made, they sheltered their DD from everything and then just let go. That spells trouble, how on earth is she supposed to learn how to set reasonable limits for herself if she isn't allowed to?

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#4 of 18 Old 07-21-2010, 04:58 PM
 
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Well first of all, these parents have obviously screwed up somewhere along the line.
Ah, but this kind of statement now will shame every parent that had a teenager that decided to get drunk at some point in their life.

* I have a lot of trouble saying "parents obviously screwed up" because a 16 y.o. person decides to make a bad choice for themselves. My parents had 4 children, some made better choices than others growing up, all with exact same parenting.

* At the same time, I have to admit, I also have a lot of trouble imagining kicking out our teenager under the similar circumstances. We have always agreed that DSD will always have a home here, no matter what happens in life.

Looks like the kid needs help while the life as she knows it is falling apart all around her.

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#5 of 18 Old 07-21-2010, 05:56 PM
 
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I'm guessing you are talking hypothetically in that you are not going to have any say in the decision making process of this family but that you are curious what other parents would do in this situation?

So going with that this is how I would handle this situation if it happened in our family.

First off I would have faced it from point ONE, hitching rides from strangers while drunk? Super scary stuff.

We are a very close family so if dh and I were going through a divorce I am pretty positive that the situation would be incredibly upsetting to my kids. If one of them started drinking an getting that drunk then it would be an immediate put on the brakes in our house. The kids would be so more important than what ever my dh and I would be going through. I would have a long talk with my husband about the situation stressing a goal of helping our daughter. Then have a joint conversation with her on why we are concerned (if at possible depending on how bad it had gotten between us). Then I would have dh spend the day with her and then I would spend the day with her trying to get to the root of how she is feeling and what she needs from us to help her.

I can not imagine starting divorce proceedings without going to a family counselor so if we had not already started that then I would definitely start NOW.

I have already had talks with my oldest about what to do if she gets stuck in a bad situation but since this family has not then that would be high on my list of things to do. You know the whole "If you need a ride call us" type of conversation.

Pass that since I am a practicing Christian I would pray pray pray and try everything I could to reach my daughters heart and help her heal and work through that pain.

What I would NOT do is even think about kicking her out or sending her away, I also would not just ignore it. This is a physical manifestation of some pretty serious emotional trauma she is going through and it needs to be dealt with lovingly and immidiatly.

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#6 of 18 Old 07-21-2010, 08:17 PM
 
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I have a 16yo and an 18yo. We've had that talk any number of times. They both know that the time of night doesn't matter - I will come and get them no matter what.

My 18yo doesn't drink. At all. Yes, he's tried it, but doesn't like the taste nor how stupid people get.

My 16yo? Will have a drink here at home, the occasional beer. Her friends do drink, and I know they do so when the girls all hang out at someone's house (except ours - I won't serve alcohol to anyone else's kid). She doesn't drink on those occasions, because she feels someone has to be responsible and keep the others from being stupid and getting in trouble. She knows to never get into a car if someone who's been drinking is behind the wheel, and to do her best to keep her friends from doing so - they all know I will take them all home if necessary.

These parents aren't thinking of their child, IMO.
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#7 of 18 Old 07-21-2010, 10:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by SashaBreeze View Post
I'm guessing you are talking hypothetically in that you are not going to have any say in the decision making process of this family but that you are curious what other parents would do in this situation?

.
No. No say at all. I'm just trying to put myself in their position. My daughter and I have had the talk many, many times. The other night when we were talking about her friend, I reminded her that I will come get ANY of them, no questions asked at any time. I've always said I'd come get her. (my dd) but, I decided to say "Don't forget, I'll come get any of them"... even if my dd isn't with them, I'll still go get one of her friends too. I also told her that the 17 yr old friend really needed to be seen by an adult... not just shoved in her front door. I would have looked at her, and made the decision to either call her parents, or keep an eye on her at my house. But, either way, and adult needed to be involved WAY before someone woke dad up. I made my daughter look up alcohol poisoning so she'd understand why.
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#8 of 18 Old 07-21-2010, 11:05 PM
 
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If it were my teen, I'd find an in-patient alcohol rehab center and send her right away. Like now. With all the crazy stress in her life, she could be seriously depressed and self-medicating with alcohol. It's only a matter of time before she gets raped, hospitalized, kills someone with her car while drunk, or dies.

And IMO, it doesn't have to mean that the parents screwed up. Sure, it's a likely factor. But it's not necessarily so.

Wife to a wonderful dh and mom to four beautiful kiddos, dd (3/04):, ds1 (1/06), ds2 (10/08), and ds3 (7/10)
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#9 of 18 Old 07-22-2010, 01:36 AM
 
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I agree with the grandparents that they're being harsh. I disagree with sending her to rehab, that's just as bad as sending her to a camp or kicking her out.

I'd let her live with her consequences of possibly not being well the next day. I have no problems with the Dad getting her up in the morning & having her do work. She probably did not feel very well, but that depends on the person not everyone gets hung over even when extremely drunk & passed out puking.
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#10 of 18 Old 07-22-2010, 01:53 AM
 
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I'd probably set up an appointment with a counselor, but I wouldn't rush the child into rehab. I'd also definitely keep a tighter rein on her for a bit. Who is she hanging out with that has alcohol? Where are they getting it?

She sounds like she's got a great set of friends -- they looked after her, didn't let her drive and took her home.

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#11 of 18 Old 07-22-2010, 08:16 AM
 
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I worked in a residential place for "troubles teens" and I would NEVER EVER send my kids to one. IMO and IME they are holding cells where kids learn even mor distructive and sneaky behaviors form others. Very few of the ones I worked with got themselves together and got discharged to normal functional lives. (I should add that 99% did not come from functional famiolies so obviously this was also a big factor int heir outcome).

It seems like she is getting lost in the shuffle of a family falling apart. You say there is an impending divorce, loss of business and loss of home. This could be the reason for the sudden loosing of her "leash". I am not saying it is an excuse or right on their part, but the parents have a lot on thier plate too and they might have been thinking well she is 17 now and we have to deal with xyz, so she should be fine handling her own stuff for the moment.

It seems like she needs some stability and an adult she can trust to help her get through her world that is turning upside down. It sounds to me like the grandma might be somewhat sypathetic to her case. But I don't know them or the whole story. Its sounds sad though. I hope she finds some guidance and is more careful when drinking.

I don't have kids in that age group yet so I can't say for sure what I would do. But for me alcohol consumption at home is not a big deal (I don't mean a 10 yo emptying my vodka bottle though). Me and dh are comfortable with our kids having the occasional beer or glass of wine with dinner when they are 16 or 17. We also live in a place where this is more common (not the US). I would probably not play pity party with a hangover but I can't imagine kicking a kid out or sending them to rehab for 1 or 2 incidents. I would try to get to the root of what is going on and seek out counseling as a family, and/or for the teen and myself.

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#12 of 18 Old 07-22-2010, 08:47 AM
 
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Ditto all the PPs saying she needs parenting, not being cut loose. In their position, I'd like to think I could clear my decks and tend to whatever's behind her behavior . . . but then, the crisis I went through a few years ago did not involve loss of livelihood, so nothing near what's threatening this child's parents has ever faced me. They must be beyond overwhelmed. Do they have friends, church, colleagues, neighbors, family whose support they can reach for more than they may have so far?

Your child and her friends are so lucky to have you as a safety net. Having your DD get info about alcohol poisoning is exactly the kind of background this situation seems to need. Sadly, you may become involved only once one or more of the kids is in danger, so all I can recommend is to stay ready to act abruptly in the face of a legal or medical emergency.

For your DD, I'd keep watching for how this is impacting her. Being a friend doesn't always mean you can rescue someone, and that can be heartbreaking. Seeing someone she cares about self-destruct is just awful, and she may need outside support about this.

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#13 of 18 Old 07-22-2010, 01:20 PM
 
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Well, I agree that the parents screwed up in that they had their dd on a tight leash for way too long. The leash should have been gotten progressively looser way earlier so that the dd would know what to do with her new found freedom. And the parents have let her down during their troubles. They are now focused on themselves (it's understandable but still) and have abandoned her possibly under the impression that as a late teen, she no longer needs them as parents.

What we did (and will do with Dylan) is to make sure that our girls knew that if they were ever in a situation where there was under age drinking, they could always call us at any time of day/night and we would come and get them. And while I would/will try to refrain from excessive lecturing (I'm a lecturer and they were/are allowed to tell me when I get excessive about it), they would not be treated as if they were sick the next day if they had a hangover. They were allowed to drink (glass of wine or bottle of beer, starting around age 16) at home but they couldn't go out afterwords if they did. In CA, children can drink in their own home within the family. There is also an exception for religious purposes.

Joy's best friend would use our house as a save haven when she needed to get out of her house. At the time, her parents were going through a messy time that ended in a divorce. Be there for this girl as much as you can.

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#14 of 18 Old 08-24-2010, 11:03 AM
 
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Ah, but this kind of statement now will shame every parent that had a teenager that decided to get drunk at some point in their life.
I realize it's been a while since this thread was live, but I just wanted to clarify that it's the daughter's fear and mistrust of her parents and not her decision to get drunk that makes me think they screwed up.
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#15 of 18 Old 08-24-2010, 11:57 AM
 
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It sounds to me like this child needs profesional help with his/her alcohol problem- or at least regular old therapy to talk about all the issues involved right now, not just the drinking.

A teen getting drunk once or twice isn't a big deal. But if somebody gets super drunk, puts herself into a dangerous situation, then goes out and gets drunk AGAIN, something is majorly wrong. A "normal" person would wake up with that hangover, realize what could have happened the night before, and be "scared straight."

This kid is crying out for help. If this was happening to my child's friend, and the parents weren't stepping up to help her, I'd try to "parent" her myself as much as possible. Let her sleep over a lot, have talks with her while she's here if she's open to it, make my home a "safe place to come to" if her own home isn't.

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#16 of 18 Old 08-24-2010, 05:28 PM
 
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I realize it's been a while since this thread was live, but I just wanted to clarify that it's the daughter's fear and mistrust of her parents and not her decision to get drunk that makes me think they screwed up.
From what I read, it's the parents who basically babied their child and then one day decided she was on her own that makes me think the parents screwed up. They provided no actual guidance. Just told her what to do and then one day stopped. People don't just automatically know how to limit their behaviour if they have never had to do it before.

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#17 of 18 Old 08-24-2010, 05:55 PM
 
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Well... I think the biggest problem was sheltering her and then letting her loose. That was just asking for a kid to swirl out of control, IMO.

I have always told my kids that if they WANT a drink, I would prefer if it was at home and all they need do is ask. Over the years, they've tried wine, beer, champagne, some hard stuff.

My 18yo? Doesn't like it, isn't interested in it, stays away from it.

My 16yo enjoys a drink. Occasionally. At home. She asked me one day what I'd do if she asked if she could have a beer. I told her that normally, I'd have to say no because I don't usually have beer in the house (I prefer wine). BUT... I happened to have some in the fridge, and she was more than welcome to share one with me. Now... all of her friends drink. On the sly. She only drinks here - the way she puts it to me is that ONE of them has to be responsible. So if her friends are going to drink? She will not so that she can make sure the rest of them stay safe. And yes, I do believe her, because I've had her call me on more than one occasion to pick her and friends in various states of drunkenness up. She has never smelled of any sort of booze. I bring them here, sober/clean them up, and then take them home to face their parents. I do make them tell their parents. Not that it changes the behavior.

If it WERE my child? We'd talk about how easy it is to get carried away. How easy it is to do things you wouldn't normally do. And how things could go badly wrong. No way would I throw him/her out.
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#18 of 18 Old 08-24-2010, 10:10 PM
 
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wow, really! Moms wants her to move out and Dad wants to send her away. No wonder she's making a mess of her life....what security does she have now that they have just tossed her to the wind. It's a crazy world. She needs guidance, not restraint or rejection.

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