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We have a challenging teen daughter...


We have a challenging teen daughter (17) who has been in plenty of trouble. I will spare you the laundry list. One of the issues we have currently been dealing with is alcohol consumption. My husband and I have always had a no tolerance rule on alcohol consumption for anyone under age. After all, it is the law. Our daughter tells us that most of the kids in her class drink socially at parties. She tells us that she's going to drink since it's the culture of kids her age. She also wants to be honest with us by telling us which nights she might be drinking and have us transport her and be accepting of this behavior. There are a few parents at our school who have adopted this parenting style which makes my job a little more challenging.

My gut tells me not to compromise our no tolerance rule. Can there be a middle ground/gray area on this issue or does it need to be black and white?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated Mark.


Hi D.,

If you lower your standards (via compromise), you will send a very clear message to your daughter that: (a) if you complain long enough you eventually get your way, (b) if everyone is doing it then it must be the thing to do, and (c) it’s o.k. to break the law depending on the situation. Always follow your gut.

Check out the section in the eBook [online version] entitled “Emails From Exasperated Parents” -- I address alcohol abuse there.

Don’t be fooled: There’s more going on at the party than drinking a couple harmless beers. How would I know? I was a teenager once too, you know.


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