Sunday, June 3, 2012


What parent doesn't want his/her teen and friends to think they are "cool"?  That one parent who allows teenagers to drink alcohol, smoke pot, etc.  But there can be a huge liability if you want to be "that" parent.  There is a law entitled, "social host liability" that states:
  • The legal age to drink alcohol is 21.  Providing alcohol to underage guests or allowing them to drink alcohol in your home (even if you did not provide the alcohol) is against the law. and you are subject to criminal prosecution.  Check the laws in your state.
  • You can also be sued (civil suit) by the other parents.  It is left up to a jury if you are liable and for how much.  Your homeowners insurance will usually not cover a civil suit, and litigation can be very expensive and a long, drawn out process.
  • You could be liable if you allow a guest under the age of 21 to drink alcohol in your home, and he/she becomes very ill or dies of alcohol poisoning or other injuries.
  • You could be liable if you provide alcohol to a minor, who subsequently is involved in a motor vehicle crash causing death or injury to a third party.
  • If underage drinking takes place in your home, you could be liable even if you were not present.

You may be thinking, "what parent in their right mind would give alcohol to teenagers", but take it from a mother who has been there, there are parents who think it is okay for their teen and friends to drink (and smoke pot) as long as they do it at home.
But, there are other ways, in which you can still be a cool parent:
  • Let your house be the "hangout" for your teen and his/her friends, well supplied with their favorite drinks and snacks (but no alcohol).
  • Keep up-to-date on the current music/movies (but you don't have to be the expert).
  • Listen...I can't say that enough. Your teen's friends may need an adult they can talk to (someone who is not judgmental).  If needed, encourage the teen to talk to his/her parents.
  • Show compassion to these teens. They may not have loving parents or a happy home life.

Do you want to be the "cool" parent, and if so, in what way?

*picture by:


Keesha said...

Oy. My kids are 2 and 3. I can only imagine that life in 10-15 will be even "faster" for teens. I feel like right now I'm a cool/laissez faire mom because I don't see the harm in letting my kids watch Diesel 10 (Thomas) movies. But letting your kids and their friends do something that could wind you in jail is not being a friend to anyone. How much use are you to your family locked up?

The Pepperrific Life said...

Yes, we can never underestimate the power of listening. It's something our teenagers will find really "cool" about their parents.

Oh, I dread the day my 6-year old becomes a teenager...

Kenya G. Johnson said...

Great article. I remember two types of cool parents - one just as you described. Both were single moms. Looking back - one cared and one didn't. The one that didn't care - we never saw and she didn't worry about what we were doing or what time we got in. For a high schooler she was "cool". Then another friend mom always called my parents to make sure it was okay to come over and told them what we would be doing. She had movies, snacks, she was "up on the latest", she could dance and she was "cool". She provided a safe inviting environment for kids to hangout.

misssrobin said...

I've found that the best way to help their friends feel comfortable at our house is to treat them like people. That sounds silly, but so many people treat kids and teens like something less than adults. They aren't. Showing respect encourages respect.

And I'm okay with not being cool. I have my own friends. I don't need my kids' friends to be my friends.

Claire said...

I want my daughter to know she can call me anytime, day or night, to come get her when she finds herself in a situation where alcohol or drugs are making her uncomfortable, and I will, no questions asked at the time. I want her and her friends to know that I will listen to them the next day, and help them figure out any changes they need to make to avoid the situations in the future, if needed. That is cool enough for me.

Carolina said...

I want to be a cool parent by having the guts to say no to something I know isn't appropriate for my teen, even when they plead, beg, cry and say how 'all their friends' are going/doing, etc.
I know of too many parents that are their teens pals because they don't want their kids to hate them or be mad at them.

Abbigayle Rashae said...

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My parents say these kinds of things ALL the time, haha. I completely agree with them though.

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Chatty Crone said...

This is a right on post! My kids are grown but I never gave them alcohol. sandie

Shannon Milholland said...

As the parents of two teens, we try to be a fun house not a cool house. You'd be amazed how much teenagers respond to a home cook meal enjoyed around the dinner table with no cell phones. They love being a part of your family. That's way better than "cool".

Anonymous said...

Great post. My girls are only 2 and 4, but the way we are cool - is to make sure they feel welcome with their friends in our house.

Mothering From Scratch said...

{Melinda}It is sad, but I know this is a big problem. My daughter is 15 and I do want her friends to like being at my house, but I would never offer alcohol or drugs to get on their "cool" list. I do try to provide good snacks. We bought a fire pit that the kids seem to like to hang out around when the weather is cold. I try to be available for rides and shopping trips. But I've had to put my people pleasing tendencies in check. Kids, and maybe especially teenagers, need adults who care about them but don't cater to their every whim. It doesn't breed good things in their character.

Courtney G said...

Kids already have friends, so they need their parents to be their parents. Lately, I have come across a few pot smoking parents with our new medical marijuana laws, who embrace it like a health cure, and encourage their kids to smoke as well for their health. I think we're going to be seeing quite a few repercussions down the road from these new laws and attitudes.

Laura Wells said...

I haven't seen your blog on SITS before but we have very similiar purposes in blogging, my girls just aren't as old yet. You are right to point parents in the direction of guidance and not friendships. Thank you.

Jamie said...

I am mom first and foremost and also believe that a child/teen has no right to drink at home and I will not allow it, but how do we keep them from drinking with friends at others houses?
I know she has drank and i do not like it,,,i just trust that my 15 year old understands consequences of her actions and all I can do is pray for her safety always and forever.

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