When other parents allow alcohol at the party

Stephen Gray Wallace, MS Ed, a school psychologist & author helps parents on what to do when other parents are allowing alcohol at a party.
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When other parents allow alcohol at the party

I find it disturbing and a little bit frightening in my most recent research project for SADD and Liberty Mutual Insurance, that the number of young people who report that they’re allowed to drink at home with their parents, or drink at home without their parents, or drink at some other house, is on the rise, increasing over the last 3 years. I think many parents allow children to drink because they either think they’re just going to drink anyway or they believe that it’s helpful to teach them to drink, or perhaps, more often than not, they’d rather be their children’s friend than they’re parents. I always say to parents, “Even if you think it’s the right thing to do to allow your child to use alcohol, what gives you the right to decide for another set of parents that it’s okay for their kids?” Because oftentimes, they’re serving alcohol not just for their own children but to other people’s children as well. So it’s really critical that when young people are going to a party or going to a friend’s house that parents call the other parents and make sure that they’re not going to allow them to use alcohol or other drugs. And it’s a very pointed question that you have to ask. I was approached by a parent who’s 9th grade daughter wanted to go to her first high school party and she insisted that in order to let her go, she would have to call the parents, much to her daughter’s objection, but she did it, and the mother said, “Yes, we’ll be home and we’ll be supervising the children.” The next day, this mom found out that, in fact, her daughter had been drinking at that party. And she said, “I thought Suzie’s parents were going to be home?” And she said, “Well they were home, they told us if we wanted to drink, that was fine, we just couldn't drink in the house, we had to go drink in the barn, so we all went and drink in the barn.” And this mom looked at me and she said, “It never occurred to me that I had to ask, not only are you going to be home and supervising, but are you going to allow the kids to drink?” Sadly, that’s the question we need to be asking.

Stephen Gray Wallace, MS Ed, a school psychologist & author helps parents on what to do when other parents are allowing alcohol at a party.


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Stephen Gray Wallace, MS Ed

School Psychologist & Author

Stephen Gray Wallace, M.S. Ed., is president and director of the Center for Adolescent Research and Education (CARE), a national collaborative of institutions and organizations committed to increasing favorable youth outcomes and reducing risk. He is a consultant to summer camps on staff training and teen leadership programming and has broad experience as a school psychologist and adolescent/family counselor. Stephen is a member of the professional development faculty at the American Academy of Family Physicians and American Camp Association and a parenting expert at kidsinthehouse.com, NBC News Learn and WebMD. He is also an expert partner at RANE (Risk Assistance Network & Exchange) and was national chairman and chief executive officer at SADD for more than 15 years. Additional information about Stephen’s work can be found at StephenGrayWallace.com.

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