I think my wife is over-reacting with our 14-year old son.
We have always tried to present a united front but we really
disagree about this. He's a good kid but when he's out with
his friends (most nights this summer), they drink some. He
only drinks beer and I think he'll outgrow this phase as I
did. My wife thinks we should send him to his grandparents
for the summer because she's so opposed to his drinking. Can
for you for trying to come to consensus on this important
issue! Adolescents who begin drinking before age 15 or younger
are four times more likely to develop problems with alcohol
use and dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21
or older. So your wife has adequate reason to be concerned.
You say he "only"
drinks beer. One 12-oz. beer has the same amount of alcohol
as a shot (1.5 oz.) of distilled spirits or a 5 oz. glass
of wine. Basically "a drink is a drink is a drink".
If he's out nearly every night, that's a lot of alcohol. There
are some scary immediate consequences including traffic crashes,
arrest, fighting, falls and drowning that are clearly associated
with alcohol. Are you really ready to take those risks?
Then let's talk
about the law. It is illegal. You're the parent now no matter
what you did as a kid. It's really your job to model respect
for the law. Come on, Dad, help him and his friends think
of other things to do - take them to a ball game, go work
at a homeless shelter one night together, rent a stack of
Sending him to
his grandparents for part of the summer might be fun for him
and his grandparents but shouldn't be a punishment or a way
of restricting him. First of all, he can find a way to drink
anywhere. Second, it doesn't address the concern for his current
and future health or the consequences for breaking the law.
Your wife can come up with some ideas for keeping his summer
And finally, talk
to him. Explain why you are both concerned and cannot let
him continue to drink. Then stick to it.
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