Intrigued by alcohol
My son is clearly enamored of the idea of drinking. In the car the other day, he commented how stupid smoking is and how 'you'd have to be crazy to do drugs, they wreck your life.' I agreed and then asked about drinking. A pause, and then he admitted that drinking sounds fun to him. I've known/suspected this for a while. For instance, at the store, he begged for the vodka spaghetti sauce, and at a local ice cream store, LOVES the flavors called Tennnesse Whiskey, which has about a shot per pint, and Bourbon Pecan. He also asked to tour a local brewery (the manager told him the fun is in tasting beer/ale and to come back when he's 21.)
I hardly drink and don't keep alcohol at home (or the Tennessee Whiskey ice cream no matter how delicious it is!). Last time I had a drink was at Christmas and it was spiked eggnog.
He is a good kid and I am giving him more freedom, eg, hanging out with friends. I check to make sure parents are around and that we're on the same page about teens and supervision, but I also realize it would be pretty easy for them to find ways to drink if they want to.
I've explained my zero tolerance policy to him and that it can cause major damage to adolescent brains....but how do I remove the romance from the idea of drinking?
If your son is 14 or older, together get to at least one AA (alcoholics Anonymous) and one Alateen (for young family members of alcoholics) so that he can see the real and terrible face of alcohol use and abuse. You can find these meetings in a 'Net search. He will see and hear upfront how almost all addicts started using in their teen years (kids who start drinking at age 14 have FIVE TIMES the rates of addiction versus those who wait until adulthood to imbibe). Don't lecture or moralize after wards, just ask for his thoughts and let it go. Those faces and stories will do the talking for you.
Last edited by Mike Bradley; 09-01-2010 at 04:44 PM.
Dr. Mike Bradley
Dear Dr. Bradley,
That is a great suggestion and one I want to follow up on if this continues to be an issue. I'm not sure whether his comments are serious or more meant to be provocative. If I mention that the sky is blue, the boy will immediately point out a cloud and argue that it's gray or white NOT blue.
The other issue is getting him there. It was a lot easier to carry a four year old to the car and strap him in and he also thought mommy knew everything. Now I think he might simply refuse to go and be done. However, I will keep hammering the message home that I feel strongly he does not need to be drinking or doing any kind of drugs and if he drinks he needs to wait until 21. Really I'd be happy if he waited until college but I suspect at some point one of his buddies is going to pull out a beer or other type of alcohol and the kids will want to try drinking. I guess the best I can do is pass on my values and keep in touch with other parents so they can help monitor the kids. Thanks for your feedback.