No Teen Drinking Parties Under my Roof

Editor’s Note: This post is written by a local mom sharing her thoughts on teen drinking and whether or not she will allow it in her home. We recognize that your thoughts may look different than her thoughts and that is okay. If you choose to engage, please do so respectfully.

No Teen Drinking Parties Under my Roof

No, I will not be serving alcohol to my teen children and friends under the guise of “drink under my roof because it is safe.” New Orleanians have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol which begins with this myth that teen drinking is okay as long as it is under the watchful eye of Mom and Dad. When I was 13, a blind eye was turned when I was given a Screwdriver at an older sibling’s party. Sounds pretty bold, but tell me how this is any different from a Truly? Yes clearly the alcohol content is much lower, but boy it sure does go down smoother and therefore quicker. And the cute little cans and even the cute little name!

“Are your parents cool? Would they let us drink?” These are the words I dread will be texted to my children in the coming years and my answer is NO. Pre-teens and teens are far too young to ingest alcohol, much less regulate it. Adults cannot regulate it so why would a teen whose brain is still developing make better choices?

I trust my children’s friends’ parents, but how does drinking at their home make it any more of an appropriate choice?

The belief of: Drink as a Teen and You’ll be Able to Manage it Better as an Adult is garbage. And I grew up drinking at friends’ homes, but I probably should not have. Scratch that, I definitely should not have. You give a 14 / 15 /16 year old access to alcohol – let’s say it’s “just beer” – but now you have these kids who, again, do not have fully formed decision-making brains – able to swig down a few beers as they please. Let’s say, for those on the other side of the fence on this, it’s “just three.” The fact that three beers for a teenager is three too many aside, we know it doesn’t end at beer.

Beer was easy, what else can I handle? Shots are fun! Shots shots shots shots shots! And this kid is still a kid. And we can pretend these kids never take it too far at these house parties, but I ran with a fairly tame crowd and the drinking was not tame.

Let’s get back to this kid who only has a few Trulys (yeah right). This kid goes away to college and now has ACCESS. Access to far more alcohol and opportunities for alcohol. And they aren’t afraid because they have been around alcohol and consuming it for years now.

My personal experience included diving head first into the access my first year in college and getting in a tremendous amount of trouble with my college sorority. When I confessed I believed I had a drinking problem, I was chastised and my concern belittled. And then I got in a ton of trouble again for underage drinking the next year and lost my job. I confessed again to a friend: “When we go out, I start drinking and I can’t stop myself.” She told me to drink water between drinks, which I never did. And no – I never went to my parents about it. But I did go to the bathroom and throw up, rinse my mouth, and get back to drinking … more than once. I was a pro at this point, barely 21 and knew how to keep it together in front of other people … because I had been drinking for so long. I never got in trouble with the law or injured anyone else with my drinking, but I sure hurt myself. I slept with guys I should not have, got into arguments with friends and strangers, and probably looked really stupid a lot. And if you knew me, you would probably not believe that about me. But I have a trail of terrible choices behind me that all stem from alcohol and 1000% know that starting drinking as a teenager put me on that path.

The other side of this coin is: If you learn to manage your alcohol younger, that would not have happened. If you learned to drink more responsibly younger, that would not have happened. This is armchair psychology and worse, it is a belief entrenched in the culture of this city. I am not on a mission to change that about New Orleans.

I was a teenager who had access to alcohol I had no business having and then freedom. I will not support that culture and I will need to think through my approach with my kids and their teen parties. I don’t have that answer today and don’t expect it to be perfect, but it will be intentional.

I am not a cool mom. I don’t drink alone. I don’t drink at home, much less keep alcohol at home. I can stop myself now, but I also don’t often get started. I don’t want to drink. It doesn’t serve me. I suppose I have been over-served to last me a lifetime.

Julie Couret
Nola Native, Julie Couret is Mom of Emma Mae (12) & Helen (10) and partner to her long term boyfriend Tom. She co-parents with her ex-husband & is known for candid posts on her life behind the scenes. Julie is self-employed an Executive Coach who works with business owners leading strategic planning sessions, management training, leadership development, and change management. She loves road trips with her kids, playing tourist in her own city, and riding in her parade Krewe Cleopatra!


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