Parent or Friend?

I have a gripe. A big gripe. More like a rant. And if this doesn’t apply to you, I still hope you pay attention. If it does apply to you, well, I hope you read this with the intent it is given and maybe open your eyes to a different perspective. I’m not sure I’ll change your mind, but I hope you at least think about it.

Parents are parents. First and foremost. You can be a friend, but you are a parent first. You mold, shape, encourage and support your children. 

That little disclaimer out of the way, I’ll get right to it. There was another party here in DaVille over the weekend where teenagers were drinking and smoking pot and the parent was home. Several accounts show this parent was not only complicit in these activities but was also providing the substances. 

WHY????? Why would a parent chose to not only put him or herself in jeopardy by hosting an underage drink and smoke-fest, but why as a parent, would you chose to look the other way even if you aren’t providing it? I don’t get it. Are you trying to be a friend over a parent? Is it too difficult to say no to your child? Is it so commonplace that you think it’s acceptable to other parents?

Well, let me answer that for my household and for several other parents around here when I said it is NOT. When parents check to make sure another parent will be present during a party, it is because we are entrusting YOU, as the adult, to make sure nothing illegal or damaging happens to our underage children while at your house. When we know that a parent is there, it is because we are, in fact, holding you responsible for the care and well being of our children. 

If we didn’t care whether or not a parent was present, I guess we would assume the responsibility of what would happen to our child during a high school party and all that comes with it; drinking, drugs and sex. We would also be assuming that role of a friend over a parent to not care whether supervision was at a party or not. 

Now, before I start getting hate messages, I want to make clear that I am not saying I am some pillar of righteousness and have raised children who do no wrong. Oh no. Quite the opposite. I say what I am because my children have pushed limits and boundaries and made mistakes and have been in serious trouble. I say it because I know how one stupid decision can change the course of a young person’s life. And how sometimes, unfortunately, those stupid teenage decisions can have lasting consequences. So don’t think that I am saying this from some high horse or superiority complex. Quite the opposite. I say it from the ground looking up. 

This is not the first of these parties that have occurred in the past year or so. Parents actively giving minors alcohol, looking the other way as bottles are passed from one person to the other, sometimes the parents have even joined in! “Let’s do shots!” is NOT something a parent should be saying to a house full of teenagers! 

We have a hard enough time raising our children to do right, when temptation is all around them. When peer pressure to do something they know is wrong is so strong they fear saying no. When regardless of upbringing, being in one wrong place at one wrong time can have lasting consequences. We don’t need other parents adding to our struggles. When other parents are actively encouraging these young kids to do something they know is illegal, it tends to warp their perspective of what rules can be broken and which should be adhered to. Drinking and doing drugs is pretty easy. What about encouraging your child to drive a car load of kids around when s/he has a newly acquired license? Is that ok? Because last I checked, that was illegal too. “Oh but they all do it.” Um ok. That makes it ok. “All teenagers drink, it’s part of growing up.” Really? Uh huh.

I just ask that parents start thinking about being parents and not friends. I don’t know your situation, or your rules, or your circumstances. I’m not trying to be the police of your household. Lord knows I have enough trouble policing my own. But when my child becomes involved in something because of your negligence, that’s where I have a problem. And so do you. Because the next time you allow, and you know you will, and someone gets hurts (or worse) that will be a bigger problem than you are bargaining for.   

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