Okay, parents. I have a question for you. I already know the morally correct answer to the question. I know what I’d want you to do for me.
If your teenaged kid was spotted drinking, would you want to know?
So many of them do it. I didn’t much, but it wasn’t because I was against it or anything. I just wasn’t interested. I had plenty of friends who did. There were parents who would allow drinking in their house, as long as no one was driving. There were also parents who didn’t know drinking happened in their house. I had one friend whose parents offered to pay her to wait until she was 21. She did, and she got a sizable payoff. Most will at least try it, right?
I wonder if some parents would rather not know, all while knowing it is probable. As in, “oh, we know it’s happening. No need to point it out.”
I also wonder if there are parents who would not only want to know, but who might show up and confront the kid.
As for my closest friends, with whom I’ve talked about this, we all want to know. None of us condones underage drinking. First, it’s illegal. Second, teenagers have poor decision making skills as it is. Add in a case of Natty Light, and it’s a recipe for disaster. However, it’s going to happen. If our own kids don’t do it, odds are they will be around it anyway.
Before we focus on what to do if they do, we can talk to our kids about what to do if they’re tempted. That’s obvious. But that’s not my question.
Would you want me to tell you, if I saw your son exiting his car with beer and some friends, disappearing into a house where the parents seemed to be out of town?
And yes. This did happen. I know the kid, but I don’t know the parents all that well. Living in a seemingly small town has its perks and pitfalls. Everyone knows what you’re doing, and everyone knows what you’re up to. It’s equally helpful and invasive. With these parents, I felt like they would mock me for letting them know. Like, “gee thanks. We’ve got this,” and roll their eyes at the goody-two-shoes mom who bothered them on a Saturday night.
If we were to report every kid to their parent, it’d be a full-time job. But should it be our job? Should we, as parents, be helping each other out? What if the kid leaves the party, drives home and hurts himself or someone else? Is that burden on the parent who failed to report?
So what say you, moms and dads? I’ll follow your lead. As for my kid, I can see where he is by looking at my phone. Feel free to share the specifics if you’re privy. Until then, I’m ready for the messages of inquiry, wondering if it was your kid I saw. I prefer text. If you insist on calling, don’t leave a voicemail. I never check it anyway.