There is a huge debate about whether it is best to be a wet or dry house: that is, are you a parent who is willing to serve alcohol under supervision to teens (wet) or not (dry)?
Parents who believe wet houses are the answer to teens drinking feel that they at least are in control in that they take teens keys away and no on is allowed to leave the house until everyone is sober or they limit the booze so no one gets intoxicated. Parents who don’t supply alcohol feel wet houses are a huge problem. Who is right and who is wrong? It isn’t a simple answer. I’m opening the floor to debate. Here are some thoughts:
We teach our kids how to drive. We teach our kids about sex. We teach them about many things, but the law says we can’t serve them alcohol until they are 21. How can we teach them anything about the effects of alcohol or responsible drinking when they can’t drink until they are off to college and away from home? (yet most of our kids have been drinking long before turning 21?) The idea of allowing alcohol in limited amounts to kids before they turn 21 in a safe environment makes some sense. Better than them being out at a wild party and trying to find their way home drunk. I know some parents don’t believe the argument that “all teens will drink.” Yet, I have HAVE NOT worked with a teen who does not drink or is planning to wait until they turn 21 to drink. The vast majority of teens are going to try alcohol before they are 21l. So, what are you going to do to help them stay safe? Is a wet house a good plan to help kids stay safe? I’ve heard from teens who said that they didnt try alcohol outside of the home since their parents allowed them small amounts. There is some evidence that a wet house isn’t a total wrong idea.
On the other hand, the teen brain isn’t geared for alcohol use, especially the way teens use it. A lot of teens binge drink. It fries their brains. It can take weeks for the brain to recover and start working at pre-binge cognitive states. This indicates it’s important for parents to help their teen not to drink. But, whatever parents are doing now isn’t curtailing alcohol use among teens.
There are no easy answers here. Raising teens has changed dramatically in the last ten years. Some things we parents hold dear are going to have to change to accommodate the new world we live in.
I believe both sides of the wet vs dry houses have merit. I also think that both sides need to put down their “holier than thou” attitude and hear the other side out.
If your daughter is hanging out at a wet house and you don’t want her to drink, let her and THE PARENT of the wet house know that. It is up to parents to begin to communicate with other parents on these tough topics. Don’t rely on your teen. Pick up the phone and talk to other parents! If you are a wet house, you owe the parents of the teens who come to your house a phone call so they know you maybe serving alcohol. You also are then VERY responsible for the teens in your house. And, you are breaking a law.
I have just scratched the surface with this blog. More to come. We need a discussion on the topic. We have too many teens off drinking and driving and engaging in risky behaviors fueled by booze. What will it take to keep our kids safe? Trying to stop them from drinking is about as effective as trying to stop them having sex. We need to look at the topic in a new light, with a fresh perspective.