I’ve been out of the loop for some years, but now I find myself with a 13, going on 14 year old and I’m learning there’s been a lot of changed in the world of teenagerdom.
Of course, I’m not naive enough to think teenagers will remain tee-total until they’re 18, but I didn’t think it would hit my radar until around 16 years.
My daughter is being invited to a lot of parties at the moment. Parties at people’s houses seem to be the ‘in’ thing.
It’s all above board so far and we’ve had emails from the parents with all the arrangements and also to state ‘no alcohol will be served’ and it will be on a ‘strict invitation only basis’.
I thought, ‘of course there will be no alcohol, they’re 13’, but it seems necessary to clarify this because in the year above them – that’s children aged 14, going on 15 – there are parties were alcohol is made freely available.
This is underage drinking with parental consent and this concept has blown me away.
You might argue that they’ll only go out to the park and get drunk without you knowing about it so you may as well let it happen under supervision.
Yeah, you might argue this, but not all 14 year olds are going to do that. However, if you invite them to a party and offer them a drink, they’re going to find it much harder to say no. You’re saying it’s ok to do this.
The problem is not only are they allowed to it, they are drinking vodka, so they don’t even know how much alcohol they’re consuming, nor what it is doing to them. Vodka creeps up on you and one minute you’re fine, the next, you’re a gonna. We’ve all had one of those nights.
Children don’t pace themselves either.
They drink as though it’s going out of fashion and before you know it, they’re puking up in a bush somewhere in the back garden.
Children as young as 14 are boasting they got so drunk, they can’t even remember parts of the night.
I’ve been told to get over it, this is the way it is now. So I have to have conversations with my daughter every weekend about the dangers of drinking and to be careful not to accept a drink from anyone. SHE’S 13.
Parenting is hard. No one tells you just how hard it is and at every stage of your child’s life, you find you’re dealing with something that you’re really not sure how to handle.
If my daughter is invited to a party next year and the invite says there will be alcohol available, what do I do?
My instinct would be to say she can’t go and that’s not because I don’t trust her, though it will seem that way, I’m sure.
I want to say no because I don’t agree with this at all. It’s not fair to put my child in a situation where she’s the one who says no to drinking, when all her friends are likely to be trying it. It’s a big ask that will put a strain on our relationship, as well as putting pressure on her.
When I was 14, I asked my dad if I could go to the pub with my cousin. He hit the roof and I didn’t ask him again until I was 16, at which point I had to get my auntie to help out as I didn’t think he would say yes to that either.
He reluctantly gave in, but most of my friends were going out by then, so he probably felt like he had no choice but to relent. I know he didn’t like it though and both my parents told me, if I got caught drinking, it would be on my head.
Some of my friends didn’t drink when we went out. I stuck to halves of larger and lime, kept my head down and stayed out of trouble. Back then, if you didn’t look old enough, you didn’t get served and that was that.
The kids don’t have to try getting into the pubs when they’re underage anymore because they can go to these parties instead and get hammered for free. Ludicrous isn’t it?
This is what’s socially acceptable in this country, apparently. No wonder it’s in such a state.
I saw an interesting report on BBC News about how Iceland has tackled its problem of teenage drinking. Have a look at the report for yourselves and see what you think. Basically, they enforced a curfew, got parents to sign a pledge agreeing to certain ‘rules’ and gave families grants to pay for after school activities to keep the kids occupied. It’s a definite hard line, one that the Nordic countries seem to be quite good at doing. Yes, they’re small countries and much less populated than ours, but at the same time, they get stuff done. End of.
It made me think why don’t we do something like that? Can you imagine the uproar it would cause?
In this country, people don’t like being told what to do. They say it’s a democracy and they don’t want to live in a nanny state with big brother watching over their every move. The thing is though, what Iceland has done worked and that’s because everyone came together to solve what was a huge problem.
I’m so disillusioned with this country at the moment, it makes me want to move, either that or I should stop watching Panorama. What with finding out about all the money going off-shore instead of towards taxes and watching organisations sign up students to university courses that they never attend, just to get a share of their student loans, it’s seems we’ve gone fundamentally wrong somewhere.