What can you do about teen drinking parties? P L E N T Y !
Communication with your kids is the biggest first step. There’s a commercial on television that depicts a father and a son sitting down to eat a bowl of cereal across from each other at the kitchen counter. Not a word is spoken between the two as the father opens the paper, and the kid starts eating his cereal. The theme of the commercial is “another missed opportunity to talk to your kid about marijuana.
You have to take this a step further. Talk to them about everything! EVERYTHING! You have to be the guiding light in their life. You’re the coach, they are the players. They have to know what you expect, what won’t be tolerated, and what the rewards will be later on. They have to have a respect to want to make you proud and to not let you downâ€¦.The downside if you’re a bad coach, is that your players aren’t gonna care whether they win or lose, or what you think, and that is reflected in the majority of the kids we deal with.
Remember the party we described taking place in the story of the week? I’ve been at parties like that where I’ve telephoned Mommy and Daddy at their hotel room at 1am in Las Vegas, and after explaining what’s going on at the house the fathers first comment is, “Where are you calling from”. I explain from their kitchen. The father replies, “don’t you need a warrant to be in my house? I want you to leave right now!”
No I don’t need a warrant you knucklehead and I will be leaving, as soon as the Paramedics revive the unconscious 16-year old girl upstairs who was raped on you and your wife’s bed!
You wonder why the kid throwing the party begins to smirk listening to me plead with Dear old Dad over the phone to please give a damn? If this kid had any fear of letting down her parents she wouldn’t be thinking this was all a big joke. My Dad wouldn’t have said anything to me.
One look. That’s all it would have taken for me. One look and I would have known how deep the trouble was that I was in..â€¦ Maybe that’s why Mark and I grew up to be responsible adults without ever having being arrested or in trouble with the law.
Thanks Dad, you were a great coach, and it’s an honor to still be playing on your team!
Leaving to go out of town on business or vacation and you don’t want the kids tagging along? I can understand where every once in a while it’s nice to get away, but when you made the decision to make a family, you made a commitment that doesn’t go away just because you want to play “time out” from responsibility. Why not take the kids with you and reinforce that they are part of the family and where you go, you want them to go as well. Give them and yourselves a little distance, get them their own motel or hotel room if you must, but don’t toss them $300.00 in “love money” and tell them “See ya in a few days”. Believe me this is a classic case of you’ll get what you pay for!” You made a family, BE A FAMILY!
If you are not in a position to take your older kids with you, and it’s time to start seeing how far trust can go, get some help. Whose closest to you who can keep an eye on the house? Your NEIGHBORS! Let them know you’re going out of town and leaving the kids home so they can finish school finals or whatever. Tell them you would appreciate them keeping an eye on the house, and on your kid’s activities. They are allowed to have no more than a couple friends over but no more, and no one past 9pm. (Or whatever, you call the shots) Provide the neighbors with an emergency number where you can be reached, and instruct them to call the police immediately if they see any suspicious or dangerous activity at the house.
I don’t know why, but I go to the most stupid calls between neighbors these days. Their dog keeps barking and won’t shut up. Their sprinkler is overflowing onto my rose bushes. Their dog is crapping on my lawn. Their music is too loud. My common question is, did you go over and tell them it’s bothering you? The common answer is “No”.
I grew up on a street full of neighbors who were like best friends. They watched out for Mark and I, and my Mom and Dad looked out for their kids. Everyone looked out for each other. That’s what a neighborhood should be like. I live on a large boat and don’t have a street full of neighbors, but my “neighbors” who also live in the marina watch out for me and my stuff when I’m not there, and I do the same for them. Mark and his family live on a street where they still have large street parties on the holidays and everyone knows each other. Everyone looks out for each other. Why do I go to so many calls where I’m told “we really don’t know the neighborsâ€¦they kind of keep to themselves.” How much have you done to make the neighbors you don’t know, your friends? Yes I know, there’s always going to be those circumstances where people just don’t get along with each other but that should be the exception, not the norm!
Whether your neighbors keep an eye on your kids or not, another option is to call your local police department and request a vacation house check, or an extra patrol request. These let the beat officer in your area know you’re out of town and that your high school kids are home, where to contact you in an emergency, who should be at the house, and other related information. The beat officer will make frequent drive-bys to make sure that everything is secure and quiet at your home. In most cases this gives your kids more than enough incentive to follow the rules of the house. Let’s put it this way, in 15 years, I’ve never had to break up a party at a house where the parents had thought to call us for extra patrolâ€¦.That’s saying a lot in my opinion.
Neighbors, although kids have gotten a bit more discreet in their party antics, they are still easy to spot. When you see numerous vehicles entering your street and they are all full of kids, one of those houses nearby is having a party. Some kids will park a block or two away but then what do you have? A bunch of kids walking past your house to go to a party! Try to pinpoint the location even if it’s “across the street, 4 houses down on the left”. Kids will usually be carrying alcohol in 12 packs or in bags to the party. Many of our callers actually see 2 or 3 teens wrestling a full keg out of a car up the driveway and into the house. Call us if you think something is up! If you know the kids at that location are underage, Mom and Dad are away, and you see a Keg of beer going inside, then you should know something isn’t right. Call us!
Keep in mind, a group of teens having a big BBQ with sodas and non- alcoholic beverages isn’t against the law unless the noise gets out of hand at a late hour. God how I wish more kids put more value on socializing just to socialize without thinking they needed to drink! Have some friends over, throw a dance, swim in the pool, watch videos, but do it without the alcohol!
Most kids won’t smoke in someone else’s home if they’ve been told they can’t. This will produce groups of kids gathering in backyards or at the front of houses. Many will take their drinks with them. Remember those red and blue beer cups we spoke about? Those are little things to look for. When kids get a buzz they get stupid and do stupid things. Breaking beer bottles in the street? Call us! Reckless driving leaving skid marks on the street? Call us! Swearing and no respect for the neighbors privacy? Call us! I’ve “snuck in” to numerous parties shocked at how I heard kids talking amongst themselves. The obscenities, the racism, the violent threats being made against someone else at school. When I play the tape back later for parents from my little mini recorder I wear on my belt, parents are shocked to hear little “Johnny” showing a side of himself his parents never knew. Is he doing this just to sound tough? For attention? To fit in?
Why does he have to be someone so different to get respect? Doesn’t make sense unless he isn’t made to feel important at homeâ€¦Kids, a good motto to follow, “Deserve respect, don’t Demand it”. Think about it.
I live by a park where some kids have discovered it’s more discreet to take their alcohol to the park and party, rather than trash Mommy and Daddy’s house. I don’t know why but it seems like I’m the only one who ever calls the Sheriff’s department to notify of them of kids partying in the park. What’s the clue? Big sign. Big sign reading “Park closed at sunset”. Big sign. Big sign reading “No alcohol allowed in park.”
What I can’t believe is that the 40 residences that back up to the park and no one else notices 8 to 10 cars parked in the lot at night. Loud voices, bottles being broken, obscenities. If you live in an area where this is taking place and if you want it to stop, pick up the phone and call the cops. When the cops get tired of getting repeated calls from numerous residents for the same thing, they are going to “Stop the problem”. If no one calls or if only one neighbor calls in, the attitude will more than likely be, “hey only one person is calling, can’t be that big a problem.
The problem is that cop goes home in the morning to somewhere else. He doesn’t walk his dog in the park, or take his small children to that park to play, and have to look at the broken glass, the circular skid marks in the parking lot, the 200 cigarette butts on the ground, the trash and litter left behind or the vandalism inflicted upon park property. It’s your park, it’s your city, it’s your home. Do something and don’t have the attitude that you’re bothering us, or that “kids will be kids”. Call us! You don’t even have to give your name. Kids have to be responsible for their actions. If they know the cops are patrolling regularly through the area or that the neighbors will call the cops, they won’t be taking a chance on getting busted. Another way to look at it. Your kid could be in the front seat of one of those cars partying in the parkâ€¦The one that disintegrates as it hits a power pole at high speed while on their way home from the park. Every action has a reaction.
If you choose to do nothing, the problem will continue and get worse.
If you choose to do something and call us, the problem will cease!
What are you going to choose to do?