Booze

There’s a tradition in this area of Jersey that after the prom, the kids go down to the shore for the weekend. The parents rent the house for the kids, hire a bus to get them there, and fill the house with food and refreshments. No adults are in the house. Recipe for disaster? Sometimes.

We went to a meeting of the parents in Jonah’s group to discuss the logistics of this enterprise last night. Who should stock the fridge with food? Which parents would rent a hotel room nearby to check on them periodically throughout the weekend to make sure that nobody has passed out in a pool of their own vomit? How much should we chip in for a common fund for pizza delivery?

Also on the agenda was the issue of whether or not we should provide them with beer and wine spritzers.

With the story of the dead frat boy from Penn State on all of our minds, we hashed things out. Should we buy them beer? Bud Light, after all, is better than vodka. It reduces the risk of them getting caught for buying stuff on their own. But the risk of a lawsuit if something goes terribly wrong was on everyone’s mind. The risk might be small, even arguably very small since all our kids are perfect (not), nobody wants to contemplate losing their business or their house. Would the 18-year olds in the house be liable if the 17-year olds does something stupid?

I think that everyone, including us, has no problem with a seventeen or eighteen year old having a Corona Light at home on a Saturday night. If the kid can enlist and die in a war in Syria, then he/she should be able to have a Corona Light. But the laws are the laws. And there was little confidence that the kids will be slowly sipping their beers at the shore house. So, no beer.

Ugh. It’s all so messy. The kids are up in arms and are battling us over this issue.

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22 thoughts on “Booze

  1. Penn State is just awful all around.

    But we never got alcohol from my parents. Never even thought to ask. That’s what older brothers were for. Also, prom was the least drunken of all the social events I recall from high school.

  2. I know this is a serious topic, so it might be inappropriate for me to inject some humor here, but I will anyway. Can you tell them to develop some grit and figure out how to get beer the way the rest of us did when we were their age?

  3. Wow, this sounds like a completely insane tradition. I know they’ll all be in college dorms soon (and am sympathetic to the legalization arguments) but why not have a parent in the house, watching netflix in the most distant bedroom?

  4. Here’s the thing. Supplying beer does not preclude partygoers bringing and ingesting vodka. It also does nothing to prevent the use of marijuana, cocaine, fentanyl, or LSD. Our state has a social host law. Parents who rent a house for a party, and supplied alcohol, would be liable. Parents have gone to jail for such things.

    It is legal in our state to serve your own child alcohol, but not to serve alcohol to other people under 18, unless their parents consent.

    I personally think the drinking age should be 18, but it’s not.

    1. It also does nothing to prevent the use of marijuana, cocaine, fentanyl, or LSD.

      Do you see a lot of that? The kids into elephant tranquilizers because they have beer?

  5. Carfentanil is the elephant tranquilizer. Fentanyl is often found in cocaine, apparently, although I gather people can also be addicted to Fentanyl.

    Our state has seen a rapid increase in fentanyl overdoses: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/stop-addiction/current-statistics/data-brief-overdose-deaths-february-2017.pdf. (page 3 has a chart.)

    Fentanyl is on college campuses. It is also in high schools: http://www.westfargopioneer.com/news/4026568-west-fargo-officials-say-students-selling-using-fentanyl-schools-crisis

    http://www.courant.com/health/heroin/hc-hartford-swat-sickened-0915-20160914-story.html

    http://www.newcanaannewsonline.com/news/article/Deadly-math-Fentanyl-and-why-the-opioid-epidemic-11142262.php

    I know of this because my kids know it’s becoming a problem at colleges.

    But…

    Compare a party with teens with beer to a party with teens without beer. All the beer does is make the adults less wary about the other substances teens might bring to the party. The dangerous ingredient is teenagers looking to party, at a point when they may think there are no consequences.

    And high school kids do sometimes want to use cocaine or ecstasy, which all now apparently can be laced with Fentanyl: http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/party-drugs-increasingly-being-laced-with-fentanyl-1.3412507

    My high school class had an all night party next to the high school, out of longstanding tradition. At that party students were rumored to be using cocaine, pot and lsd. (I skipped it, but judging from the behavior of some of the party goers in school the next day, yes, they were not just drinking beer.) That was decades ago. The supply of drugs to high school students is more reliable than it was then.

    1. I never saw anything but alcohol, and very rarely pot, at any teen party I ever went to. Or college party. Anyway, I’m very certain that beer has caused more damage than cocaine or ecstasy or elephant tranquilizers, but I’m not about to try to do without that.

  6. I told my husband about this, and he said his group of friends rented a cottage after prom, and it was the first time most of them tried cocaine. So one additional story to support Cranberry’s point about teenagers wanting to party being the root problem. Not sure how you can change that though. My parents hosted a post-prom party for my much younger brother – parents everywhere. Yet the kids still managed to get completely trashed. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

  7. I am the naive-est mom around, with kids who say they think psychoactive drugs (including alcohol, and of course any other traditionally recognized drug of abuse, but also, sometimes, coffee) are the evil. But, I still think there’s going to be alcohol at the after-prom party unless someone has hired security with the task of monitoring alcohol/drugs.

    I still don’t think parents should supply the substances. At the very least, the teens have a lot less money than their parents do. There’s also the law, and the possibility of losing one’s house.

    In our neck of the woods, at least one school hosts a parent lead, drug free all night prom event to at least disconnect the prom from drugs. Of course, I presume the kids party anyway, but not on the official night of the pseudoprom (which also doesn’t involve dates, and can only be attended by graduating seniors).

    One of the disturbing trends (and, yes, as always, grains of salt) I’m noticing is the tendency of HS seniors to ape what they think are their 20 somethings, but not real 20 somethings, but the ones depicted in tv shows involving 20 somethings who live in hip apartments in expensive cities, spending their time having dramatic relationships (or lots of casual relationships) and hanging out in bars while working in their spare time. When I was a 20 something, I was married and working many hours a day in a lab. I know I was unusual but even the most wild and crazy people I knew had to spend most of their time working.

    1. One of the disturbing trends (and, yes, as always, grains of salt) I’m noticing is the tendency of HS seniors to ape what they think are their 20 somethings, but not real 20 somethings, but the ones depicted in tv shows involving 20 somethings who live in hip apartments in expensive cities, spending their time having dramatic relationships (or lots of casual relationships) and hanging out in bars while working in their spare time.

      I’m not so sure about that. Hanging out in bars wasn’t exactly some kind of exotic habit. It’s what a substantial minority of the adult male population did three or four nights a week and a large majority did on the weekends. Older guys, which is to say people my current age, tended to cut back, but I had classmates who worked 60 hour weeks during the summer and were always ready to go for beer every night after the sun went down. Even at 19, I could never manage that much and only went out a couple of times a week.

      1. I will freely confess to being the kind of outlier who would not have known about the actual people hanging out at he bar.

  8. “Would the 18-year olds in the house be liable if the 17-year olds does something stupid?” Absolutely. Depending on what happens, there could be criminal and/or civil liability. You could be potentially liable as well. What you describe is a terrible idea, and, eventually, a mistake will happen to someone’s kid (maybe not yours) where everybody wakes up and says “You know that was a bad idea.”

  9. I was just reading some of the comments, and I find them interesting, especially with respect to how 20-somethings are depicted in the media. I have never seen a full episode of Friends, even though I am roughly the same age as both the actors who starred on it and the characters they portrayed. It was not my truth, even though I was not married when the show started and only became a parent just before it concluded its run. On the rare occasion when I was exposed to a scene from the show, I changed the channel.

  10. We thought it was/is important to show disapproval. When my wife went downstairs to a party at our house and found a partial half gallon of cherry vodka, she immediately picked it up and poured it down the sink, under the sad gaze of the kids. This is partly because of the legal considerations mentioned above, and partly because damnitall we are supposed to push thoughtful behavior.

  11. Not one family wants to stand up and say no to this craziness? It’s tough for me to imagine parents giving permission for a weekend of illegal underage partying, much less financing it. Besides the legal concerns for every single person involved, it’s not hard to imagine a laundry list of other life-altering, regrettable moments being InstaSnapChatted to the world. And while a bus might seem like it heads off one potential tragedy, DUI, it also prevents an easy escape for any guy or girl who decides they’ve had enough and want out of there.

      1. Speaking of alcohol, I switched from Yuengling to Straub because so far as I know none of the owners of Straub have publicly backed Trump.

  12. I know of one family that tried to, in the words of the mother, “enforce the law.” She said that she was a lonely voice. This occurred in a very wealthy area.

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