In light of recent events in Palo Alto HS magazine and also in Saratoga HS, I would like to ask fellow parents about what is happening with our teens and drinking.
Without going into anything other than the drinking aspect, do we have a problem with our teens drinking to the extent that they get drunk and pass out?
I was under the impression that we had a law that meant that if teens were drinking in the home and the parents had no idea it was happening, being out of town for example, that they could still be charged with allowing minors to drink and any other illegal activity that happened as a result.
Several years ago there was a case of the parents being in a home where some of the kids were drinking and the parents were charged and there was another case in Menlo Park where it was a football after party.
We have spoken with our kids about the issue and they know that they must not go to parties where there are no adults present or where there is alcohol being consumed regardless of whether adults are present or not. We trust our kids to be responsible but it is hard when we hear rumours of what is going on.
Is this a big problem in Palo Alto or just the occasional isolated incident? How can we prevent our almost 18 year olds from getting into a culture where underage drinking at parties is seemed acceptable? It is going to be hard enough for them when they leave home and go to college, but if it is happening in the homes of the friends they have had for many years with parents we have thought of as peers, then it is much harder for us to know how to do the right thing.
As a disclaimer, we have given our own teens alcohol at home in sensible quantities in the right conditiions because we do not want their first experience while at some college party where drinking in excess is the norm. We want our kids to have the first experience of what alcohol does to their bodies and their state of mind where we can help them. We do not give them large amounts to make them feel drunk. We do let them have some so that they can see what a difference it makes to their sense of sobriety.