Home > Teens > Teen Behavior and Discipline > Setting Rules for Teens > Drinking Parties Hosted by Friends' Parents

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Drinking Parties Hosted by Friends' Parents

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: My 18-year-old son goes to a lot of parties. It is common practice in this area for adults to buy alcohol for their teens and allow them to drink it at these parties. The kids give up their car keys and everybody spends the night. My husband and I will not accept the liability for a party at our house, nor do we want to be around a bunch of drunken teens. We are concerned about how often our son drinks and continually preach to him about drinking and driving. He has told us that they always have a designated driver when they are out partying. I voiced my concerns about binge drinking and he said, "Oh, it's not a problem, don't worry." He is in his senior year and feels like this year should be a big party for him. We recently had a big fight about rules and consequences for breaking rules. I told him he could either follow our rules or leave. He still won't listen to us properly.

A: It's shameful that parents in your area not only tolerate but also encourage teens' abuse of alcohol. These parents believe that they hold an enlightened and realistic view of adolescent drinking--"They're going to drink anyway, so it might as well be under my roof where I can take keys and make sure everyone is safe." Would these same parents hand out birth control to teens as long as they had "safe sex"?

Given that alcohol is by far the most abused drug by teens and given the horrific statistics of teen alcohol-related auto fatalities, parents who sponsor such teenage drunk fests are beyond irresponsible; they are abusing children.

It sounds like you and your son might benefit from some family counseling to determine a fair-minded plan of peaceful coexistence. Your son does not have to like your decisions in this matter. He merely needs to respect your actions and opinions and understand why and how you have formulated them.

More on: Expert Advice

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


Where Should Newborns Sleep?
We've rounded up all the alternatives and considerations to make a safe choice for your new addition.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

5 Tips to Help Make Your Child Self-Sufficient
Follow these tips to help your child become self-sufficient, and help him learn the skills he'll need to take care of himself.

Ready for Kindergarten?
Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks