Teenage daughter drinking, but......

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2003
Teenage daughter drinking, but......
Mon, 04-21-2003 - 8:12pm
I need some advice on how to handle a situation that came up this past weekend in our house. Our 17-year-old daughter was caught by the police drinking this past weekend. She was NOT driving. She did turn the keys over to another teenager, who did not drink, and for that and the fact that she not "legally" intoxicated, the police officer only issued her a verbal warning and ordered her to attend several teenage alcohol counseling sessions. She was incredibly lucky.

We sat down and talked with her for a very long period of time, and she truly seems remorseful and swears she learned her lesson. The police department is ordering alcohol counseling sessions, which we TOTALLY agree with. But what, if any, punishment should be handed out from us? I believe she has to be punished from the parent's point of view that she knows whole heartedly that we totally denounce any kind of this behavior. She asked her "What do YOU think your punishment should be?" She says she learned from her mistakes, but I believe it has to be more.

Besides, the usual grounding and taking away the car keys, any other resourceful suggestions?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-22-2003 - 4:26pm
This is *why* I think that teenagers should be encouraged to sample alcohol *at home* with parents, so they don't *need* to experiment with strangers in dangerous settings.

That won't stop them from *using* (rather than *experimenting*) but if they're going to do that, a few drinks at home with mom and dad aren't the worst of your problems.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2003
Tue, 04-22-2003 - 4:23pm
I like Pam's post about researching the effects of alcohol. I just encountered a problem with my dd whom I learned got intoxicated while at the beach. She is only 15. A group of older kids gave her and her friends the alcohol. Like many teenagers, she was 'experimenting' and had no idea what the effect would be, this being her first time. Fortunately, one of the girl's older brother was also at the beach at the time. She called him and he and his friend came and got them and took care of them. She was lucky. Anything could have happened.

I have talked with her and she feels horrible!! But - I too am incorporating parental punishment. Even though they say they have learned their lesson, I think sometimes you have to drill the point home for them to understand the seriousness of it all. I talked extensively about all that could have happened - so fear will help in her lesson learning. But - for now, she will be staying home for a while until her father and I feel comfortable letting her go out unsupervised with her friends. She is also required to come home immediately after school, ALONE, rather than hanging out at a friend's house like they often do. We will probably keep this up for at least 2-3 weeks. Good time for her to focus on school work. Now I think I will also have her do a little research on alcohol and teenagers. Good idea!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Tue, 04-22-2003 - 9:20am
I think the grounding and taking away the car keys are a good idea. One other thing you might do is is have her research the effects of alcohol on kids - learn about how many die from alcohol poisoning and such. Or have her talk to a young person whose life was changed by alcohol. These wouldn't be punishments so much as 'life lessons'. Hopefully this experience will shake her up enough that she makes better decisions in the future.

Good luck and keep us posted.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-22-2003 - 8:38am
I actually don't even believe in the 'usual grounding' as a common discipline. Restricting an activity or influence that has given the opportunity for behaviour you want to change has the effect of reminding them why a consequence is in place.

She didn't drink and drive, so I wouldn't take away the keys. But if you feel you can't trust her to be where she says she will be, I would take the keys for a period of time. I would restrict parties or whatever she was doing to be drinking for an unspecified period of time since not giving a time limit puts the ball into her court; telling her parties are suspended until YOU feel she can handle them without the drinking would be what puts it into her court to show you consistently in ways that you will recognize, that she can earn the trust back enough to go to them again. She'd earn the keys back before she earned permission to attend a party again.

I just wouldn't ground 'across the board'; I know so many teens whose parents ground them for everything that happens and most of them could care less. Some can't even remember why they are grounded. Restricting parties means she has to find other things to do in the interim and that's where encouraging the change you want will start to happen over time. Perhaps when you see an interest in parties per se die down and she has found other things to do that she enjoys you'll feel more comfortable again one day. You know your dd; you really will know when you've seen enough changes overall.

Good luck.