July 7, 2011

Responsible Parent or Busybody

    I have three very different kids.   They approach so many things in life differently that sometimes it amazes me.  Em follows rules and doesn't understand why others don't.  Patrick is looking for every loop hole.  To be honest the jury is still out on Meg but who knows.  Though a friend has suggested we start a bail found for her now, it's always the quiet ones she says.
     With that being said it wasn't surprising that Em was very upset about what she found posted on a friend's facebook page.  She brought it to me for advice. As with most things there are different approaches to handling problems.  Here's the dilemma.  She's concerned about this girl as a friend and from a Christian stand point (Em is a youth leader at our church).  I am looking at it from both a parent perspective as well as legal....
    Her friend is turning 19, from here on out we will call her Carol.  Carol and her best friend have sent out invitations to her b'day party.  This party, whose location is a secret, will include beer pong, shots and a ring of fire. FYI: Ring of Fire is a drinking game played with a deck of cards.  Carol's two older sisters are on her FB often so I can't imagine them not being aware of this.  Add to the fact there are a number of pictures of Carol with bottles of beer and such on her FB page as well.
     I understand everyone has different policies about alcohol in their home.  Some people allow their kids to drink in their house once they turn 18.  Others allow a glass of wine on special occasions and holidays.  While some people do not want their kids drinking at all until they are 21.  The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 made it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase or publicly possessing alcohol.  The law did not make it illegal for people under the age of 21 to drink alcohol. There are states that did extend the law to include private consumption as well.  Some states have specified under what conditions underage consumption is to be allowed.  Florida does not allow anyone under the age of 21 to drink, purchase or even possess alcohol. 

     I know Carol's parents just in the sense that I know who they are.  We've carpooled the girls a number of times but have never socially interacted.  I don't believe I've ever had a conversation with either Mom or Dad when it wasn't about a shared event.  So this is not a close friend we're discussing.

     Is it my responsibility to talk to the parents?  For all I know they're OK with what's going on, or possibly have a "kids will be kids" approach to parenting .  There are so many ramifications to this entire situation.  If I don't call them and something horrible happens could I ever forgive myself~doubtful.  What if I do call them and simply get the phone version of a smile and nod; I'd still be worried and even wonder if they would tell the girls to move the party.  Deep inside part of me feels the only truly responsible thing to do is find out the location and notify the police.  Do I also want to turn my daughter into a spy to get the complete information?

     I know I am lucky.  Many kids may see an invite like that laugh to themselves and move on.  I love, no rejoice that Em feels close enough to share her concerns with me.  I also know that I can't right now guarantee that my other two will behave in the same way when approached with something like this, I'd like to believe they will but there's not guarantees in parenting.
    Parenting is such an evolving event.  We have to know how to constantly morph to each child's needs and personality while still maintaining our standards.  I believe that every time we respond to a situation not only are we learning more about ourselves but our children are watching and taking notes for when it is their turn to be the parent.

     What would you do?

5 comments:

  1. I RAN INTO THIS WHEN MY SON WAS INVITED TO THE BEACH TO SPEND WEEKEND. THERE WOULD BE GIRLS THERE ONLY FOR ONE NIGHT. I TOLD MY SON THE ONLY WAY HE COULD GO WOULD BE FOR ME TO CALL PARENTS TO FIND OUT ALL INFO. HE SAID OK. I CALLED AND GOT ALL INFO AND FOUND OUT BOTH PARENTS AND SOME OTHER ADULTS WOULD BE THERE AND NONE OF GIRLS SPENDING NIGHT. THEY APPRECIATED MY CALL AND TOLD ME I WAS THE ONLY PARENT TO CALL. I KNEW I HAD TO DO THIS TO SOOTHE MY MIND AND BE SURE OF ALL THAT WOULD BE GOING ON. MY SON WAS ABOUT 16 OR 1 AT THE TIME BUT I HAD TO FIND OUT ALL OR THERE WAS NOT CHANCE HE WOULD BE ABLE TO GO. LOVE YOU GAL, CAROLE J.

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  2. If the girls were younger, I'd be all over calling the parents, or,certainly not allowing my child attend. But this girl is, legally, an adult. She is choosing to break the law. She may need to suffer some consequences. Someone may want to be sure there is no driving involved. And I still would not allow my children to attend. At some point, they need to suffer the consequences, including the legal ones. Now, switching sides, I guess you could call the parents and tell them that your daughter was invited and you just wanted to more about the party.....
    When my youngest turned 19, he was at college. Somehow MY email was on the list for his party invitations, which was entitled "Beer Bash" I so considered attending, after all, he invited me! I made sure they weren't driving and put my head in the sand.... --Jane Mc

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  3. I've never had children, so it's hard for my comment to be accepted as serious, I know, but as a woman who was VERY CLOSE to becoming an alcoholic at the young age of 18, I personally think the parents should be made aware. After all, they may NOT know what is going on, and even if they do, they should be made aware of "how public" she is being about it. Not to mention her being a "stumbling block" for other young "Christians".

    God Bless,
    PJ

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  4. Hey Again! I meant to let you know in my previous comment, but I forgot. I tried to click on your blog link on Redhead Riter's community discussion, but it wouldn't let me. It gave me a message saying the "url isn't valid and cannot be loaded".

    I looked you up on the "Members" section to get to your blog. OH! I am also now following you. I really enjoy your posts.

    God Bless,
    PJ

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  5. That is such a tough situation. I really don't know what I'd do. I suppose it would depend on the parents...if I felt I could approach them about this, I probably would, if only to make myself feel better about the situation. At least I'd feel I had tried.

    You are lucky that your daughter brings these things to your attention. My kids do too and I love that - I think it shows how much they trust us.

    BTW...(cue Twilight Zone music, again) we also have very similar taste in reading and have read many of the same books! lol

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