08-10-2018 12:37 AM - last edited on 10-23-2018 10:27 AM by Jess1-RO
My 14 yr old son was caught planning and encouraging a handful of his friends to bring alcohol to his sleepover party that we agreed to allow him to host. Additionally, we had just found a vape device in his room. He admitted that he and a couple of friends had snuck some alcohol at a sleepover before at our house. We have asked friends and family for advice on this with mixed results. One family member whose parenting I admire suggested to continue with the plans but to make sure the kids know that alcohol and vapes are not allowed at our property and to sit them down to discuss the issues of responsibility and honesty, using this as more of an opportunity for confronting the issue. Some friends say that that is crazy to allow our son to have friends over after this breach of trust and that he should be grounded. We are torn. I was constantly grounded and learned nothing from it growing up but never had serious discussions with my parents, only yelling. I'm inclined to use this as an opportunity to remind them that alcohol isn't the source of fun by offering alternatives for entertainment and food and drink, and to get them together for a group discussion of what problems both immediate and far down the road can come from these decisions they are making at such a young age. However, maybe so soon is too soon and this should be left for another time. The only problem with that is we may not get them all together again. Also, is that overstepping boundaries of the other parents and do we tell the other parents what we know? While reading the chat thread, we came across other issues like the vaping, forwarding of revealing pictures from girls, overall misuse of chatting on a social media platform. though these chats we're private, they still are recoverable and that is another major issue as well as the respect for girls and the lack of a proper response when faced with these issues. Please help! This is our first real experience dealing with these issues as a parent as this is our first born.
08-10-2018 03:39 PM
Hi @MomofTeenBoy and welcome to our Parent Community!
So happy you've found us
That is such a tough situation - it can be really hard to know what the best punishment/ discipline approach can be for you son.
I think the important thing to remember is that you know your son best - consulting with other trusted parents is such a good idea, as it helps you to get other inputs and opinions, and then coming back to your own family to decide what is going to be fair, and effective.
We have some info over here on alcohol and how to talk about it / set boundaries with your teen - it may be helpful!
14 is an age where pushing boundaries begins, and I think your reflection on your own childhood of being grounded is an important one. Having a serious discussion sounds like an opportunity for better communication, and for your son to have a chance to learn and grow from this.
I think too, it's great to create open communication where your son can discuss with you the pressures he is facing, and any issues that are coming up for him.
As for the other parents - that's a tricky one. What would you want from another parent if they were in your position?
The other issues you're talking about - disrespect for girls, and other discussions is a really challenging one, but super important to address.. sounds like a very difficult conversation is needed to be had. We have some tips over here on communication . I'm wondering too if there's a way you can help him to empathise with how his actions would make girls he knows feel if they knew? You can also tell him that there are legal ramifcations for sharing private pictures without consent.
Other parents in this community have had very similar situations, and I'm sure they can shed more light and support.. Hoping they will have more ideas for you as well.
Parenting teens is complex and there is no "right way" - but hopefully together we can work through the confusion and support one another to keep at it!
Just from this post, I can see what a caring, considered and loving parent you are - don't forget that you are doing such an amazing job in these uncharted waters!
08-11-2018 07:38 PM
Hi @MomofTeenBoy, welcome to the forum, and thank you for sharing with us. This is a topic I’m sure many parents will relate to!
It’s so difficult to know what the best thing to do is, and I’ve found there are varying opinions amongst parents. I think, as @gina-Ro said, you know your son best, and after listening to others, it’s important for parents to follow what sits comfortably with them.
I think many of us are swayed by our own experiences, and I’m one of those.
I was a curious and experimental teen myself which saw me kicked out of home at 17 and ostracised from my family on and off for years. Alcohol and drugs (including nicotine) were forbidden topics for discussion, and I lied about where I was going, stole alcohol from home, all that stuff. As determined as I was, I was out of my depth, unsafe, and in need of guidance.
I’m now mum to a 16 year old and have decided to do things differently to my parents. I have very open communication with my daughter and we talk about the health risks, the safety issues, and anything else she wants to know or talk about. I’ve also made it clear that her safety is paramount to me and takes priority over wherever she is or whatever state she’s in. I don’t want her going underground, as teens will do if they want to do something we don’t approve of.
Being 14, your son’s a bit younger, but sounds like the perfect opportunity to have a talk with them all. My personal opinion is that if they’ve used alcohol or are planning to, it’s not too soon at all.
Again my personal thoughts are that since the boys were planning this activity in your home, you have the right to have this discussion with them. If you know the other parents I’d let them know the plans being hatched, but I do really like @gina-Ro‘s suggestion - think about what you’d want as a parent. What a fabulous platform to make our decisions from!
I think talks around the sending of inappropriate pictures is a great idea as well. Does your son have a sister or female cousin, or someone that he’d be upset about if these types of pictures were being sent around of them? It can really help teens see a different perspective if they can relate the words to something tangible.
Parenting’s not an easy job, and to reach out for support shows what a concerned and loving mum you are. Whatever decisions we make are made out of love and our kids can’t ask for more than that
10-22-2018 11:12 PM
I had the same problem a year ago. My son was 15 when he came to me and said "Mom, I'm a vaper now! Vaping is not as dangerous as smoking real cigarettes, so don't even try to persuade me or I'll start smoking!"
I wasn't surprised or angry because teens like to do something "shocking." On the contrary, I found a couple of articles on the Internet ( this one helped the most https://vapingdaily.com/blog/5-ways-talk-teenager-vaping/) and prepared for this conversation.
Firstly, I read EVERYTHING about vaping so I could win this discussion. Secondly, I decided to stay calm under any circumstances, even if he'd start vaping in the middle of the conversation. I always keep in mind a thought - once you start forbidding anything to your child, he'll make it in spite of you.
So I began this endless conversation with finding out what is cool about vaping and why teens like it so much. I did it with no anger or lectures, just tried to be concerned and to take part. It's crucial to show to your child you do want to understand him/her and won't judge.
After finding out "vaping is tasty," we agreed on non-nicotine e-liquids and no vaping in school. This compromise would be the best of any possible options and maximum I could achieve. So there is one more advice from me (the last one): you need to understand which conditions your child will never accept. In my case, my son would never get rid of the vaporizer just because I wanted to.
Btw, in two months, he quit vaping because "it's not cool anymore." I think if I hadn't allowed him to vape, he wouldn't have forgotten about it so quickly.
10-23-2018 10:26 AM
Thank you for sharing your experience around teens and vapping, it sounds like this new trend is something that a lot of parents on our forums have had experience with.
Reading through the way you managed the situation, it sounds like you really thought about the how conversations would impact your son's behaviour towards vapping. You mentioned that if you had taken a stand against the vapping, that he may have continued to use the vape. We hear from a lot of parents that taking an outright stand or forbidding something can have the opposite effect on teen behaviour, and this sounds like something you were very cautious to navigate.
When you sat together to come up with a compromise, was your son open to finding a mid ground? We'd love to hear more about that conversation- it sounds like a really supportive approach that also allowed your son to feel like he had choice in the outcome.
It sounds like you handled this situation so well! I can imagine it wouldn't have been easy to hold in the shock to have a calm conversation- this really shows the strength of your relationship with each other too!