Parents Set Their Children Up By Playing Loose With the Law

Parents need to remember that they are there to teach and mold their children, not be drinking buddies.

I am a firm believer that there are certain situations, where you can only guess how you will react--you can’t say for certain.

Parenting is one of these areas. Before my husband and I had our son, I had my thoughts of what type of parent I would be. But reality--with its lack of sleep, a tighter time schedule and an unbelievable amount of love toward my son--changed a lot of it. I found myself leaving fun events early so that he could get home to his crib or bed and get a good sleep. I gave up a lot of things I loved doing so that I could be with him, and now that he is older (9) I am getting many of them back.

My point is, parents usually do their best with what they know at the time. Unfortunately, when we become a mother or a father, we bring with us all of our needs, baggage and varying degrees of good sense. The bottom line is that some people are just more mature than others. They handle difficult situations with a grace that makes the rest of us long for that much composure.

Have I made mistakes with my son? Of course I have. But most of them, I assure you, were never in conflict with generally accepted ethics or the law. And while I try my best not to criticize how others parent, there are times when I know they are just plain wrong, and negligent.

Recently, police were called to . His mother, apparently, lives elsewhere and knew of his party tendencies and drug use.

Kids who drink or do drugs is not novel for a teen in Grosse Pointe or any other city in America. Even good parents have children who disobey them and sneak a drink or host parties when their parents are away. The great majority of the time, if the parents find out, they address the issue.

But too often parents don’t, as in this case. Instead, they condone the behavior, even encourage it by serving minors alcohol at graduation parties. Why do they do this? How could they do this and be able to sleep at night? A few options pop to mind--they want to be considered the “cool” parents, or it’s easier to say yes than to give a firm “no.”

"We have to prove the parents knew what was going on," said City of Grosse Pointe Det. Sgt. Alan Gwyn. "Providing alcohol to a minor is a misdemeanor."

A misdemeanor that carries with it the potential of fines and one year in jail. You don't hear about that happening very often, certainly not as often as you hear rumblings of high school graduation parties where the parents of the celebrated kid serve alcohol to his or her underage friends.

Just remember, our kids look to us for guidance, to show them--whether they like it or not--what is right and what is wrong. It is our responsibility. Period. There are way too many grey areas in life to not make the right decision in the black and white ones. The idea of serving or allowing a minor to drink–and I am not talking about a one-off sip of wine at a family dinner–is just plain wrong. I don’t think there are many parents out there who could read the story about the 16-year-old and feel bad for him, rather his parents, who have not taken their responsibility seriously. Instead they've opted for the easy way out. They aren’t parenting.

Kids can be persuasive, to be sure. But that’s why we are older and, hopefully, wiser to impart the right words and the proper level of discipline and correction when our kids stray.

To me, parenting is a privilege, not a hardship. And at times like this, it’s good to remember that.


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