Parents Who Party

“I smoke joints with my kids”

“Don’t worry, just come over and I will buy the alcohol for you, better in my house than on the street”

“My dad took me to my first strip club”

“My mom dresses promiscuously”

I have heard many of these from the kids and parents I work with. I remember and still have friends whose parents party harder than they do! Lets look at the varying levels of partying parents:

1. Sober and Strict:

These parents (mine) do not allow their kids to drink, constantly warn against drinking, smoking, alcohol, drugs, and are keenly aware of how their kids smell/look/act after any night out with friends.

2. Open and Allowing:

These parents do not allow any drugs or alcohol with friends, but let their kids have a glass of wine at the dinner table, have let them smoke a cigarette with them to try it and try to allow their kids to test their own limits in a guided way.

3. Oblivious and Ignorant:

These parents do not really take an active role in teaching their kids about drugs and alcohol, either they have blind faith that their kids will make the right choices, they think their kids will never even be offered drugs or alcohol or they do not care either way. A very ‘hands-off’ approach.

4. Encouraging and Crazy:

These parents smoke with their kids, buy their kids alcohol for parties, let other kids come over and hang out to do whatever they want. They might even go clubbing or bar hopping with their kids and sneaking them in.

There are benefits and consequences to each type of parenting approach. And different things have worked for different families, so I will just provide the evidence, you can state your point in the comments!


-Having your parents encourage smoking and drinking makes it less rebellious or off-limits and maybe therefore less appealing?

A study was done that actually shows parents who smoke have kids who are half as likely to smoke as well. Another study shows a similar pattern with parents who drink with their kids. Parents who give their kids alcohol, those teens are less likely to abuse or consume alcohol later.

-At least parents can keep an eye on their kids when they party, the attitude of “at least I know it is good quality pot (not laced)” and “I would rather have them drink under my roof so they do not drink and drive and I can watch them.”

-Interesting bonding opportunities.


-Teaching them doing illegal drugs, drinking underage and partying is ok, if not normal.

-There is a fine balance between letting them experiment and endangering their health or safety.

-Putting your kid’s friends at risk when you might not know where their parents stand.

-Becoming your child’s peer not their parent, making it difficult to enforce rules in other areas.

I have talked to parents on both sides of the argument and in all parenting roles above, and I believe this is a very personal choice. I only encourage teaching about the following basic principles:

  • Don’t drink and drive.
  • Don’t ride with anyone who has been drinking and have a designated driver.
  • Don’t operate equipment, climb ladders, boat, or engage in similar activities, when drinking.
  • Don’t become intoxicated, know your limits and recognize the signs of alcohol poisoning.
  • Understand that drinking under the age of 21 is illegal and smoking marijuana is illegal.

I have many posts on drugs and alcohol in my drugs and alcohol series, many of the pot posts have ‘passionate’ responses and this is a very heated debate. Feel free to voice your (non violent, curse-word free, opinions in the comments)! Which level are you?

This week’s On Teens Today blog sponsor is Mia Redrick of Finding Definitions. Mia‘s book, “Time for mom-ME” is your essential guide for surviving motherhood. She spells out the five elemental cornerstones for creating a balanced, self-defined life. They are:
• Personal Growth
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• Finding Connections
• Finding Solutions

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7 Responses to “Parents Who Party”

  1. Tim
    April 29, 2008 at 9:15 am #


    As the father of two sons (one 17 and the other 20), I’ve watched some of what you’re describing in my sons’ peers. Here’s how what I told my sons about alcohol:

    1) Your mom and I don’t drink, even socially. There are several reasons for this, but it’s not because alcohol is somehow inherently evil as a substance. In fact, there is research to suggest that in appropriate moderation, some kinds of alcohol (wine, for instance) have minor negative effects, and possibly positive ones. However, we haven’t yet seen conclusive evidence to suggest that not drinking poses some kind of risk.

    My reasons for not drinking are: a) I want to be in control of myself in social situations, b) I believe that mature people take responsibility for their actions, and that’s only possible when you’re in control, c) I want to help my children understand that their actions may have consequences that can’t be undone with “I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to permanently disfigure your daughter with my car… it was just a couple of drinks,” and d) I have a tendency toward compulsive and addictive behaviors, and that doesn’t mix well with alcohol.

    2) There is not yet any definitive way to know who is going to be susceptible to alcoholism and who isn’t. Until there is, experimenting with alcohol is engaging in a potentially life-threatening activity. Yes, some people seem able to smoke without developing lung cancer. Others don’t. Is there a good reason to take that risk?

    3) I’m responsible for your behavior until you’re 18, and I expect you to in turn be responsible for the choices you make. Therefore, be “in control” enough to take such responsibility.

    4) If you want to continue to participate in sports, regardless of what the coach’s rules are, be aware that your actions as a teen have a way of following you. This is also true when you’re looking for a job, long after sports are in your past.


    P.S. Both of my sons have, at various times, left parties where they knew stuff was going on. They have also kept friends whose parents had similar views to what I stated above. That helps, as they can all complain to each other about how strict their parents are.

  2. Vanessa
    April 29, 2008 at 2:18 pm #


    I love your reasons for not drinking and how you explained that, I think I might be using those in a post coming up, is that ok? really great comment.

  3. Maya
    April 29, 2008 at 2:29 pm #

    I think this is a great post. I have given my kids wine at dinner and let them try some of our mixed drinks, and beer because I would rather have them just taste it with us. I think this is actually good to show your kids how it tastes, but that it is not appropriate for them to drink when they are young.

  4. Tim
    April 30, 2008 at 8:12 am #


    Feel free to use anything there, or anything from my blog. A great deal of my blog entries are about parenting and healthy relationships with your kids. I’m not ready to proclaim myself a success (I would say that people outside my family who’ve met my sons are the only ones qualified to judge that), but I try to respond when people ask me for advice.

    Let me commend you for maintaining a great balance of perspective here. That’s one of the key things in working with teenagers (not losing the “big picture” perspective), and many parents either don’t get that, or just don’t want to. – Tim

  5. Kim
    July 25, 2008 at 8:08 pm #

    Hello! I work with Steve Wilkos Show and we are interested in covering a story on this controversial topic! If anyone knows of anyone that would like to speak on behalf of being completely against drinking with their children or parents who are buying their children alcohol for parties, please let me know! Call me at (888) 264-5368!! We would like all types of opinions! Thankyou!

  6. Lauren
    August 23, 2008 at 11:13 am #

    Hey contact me if you know parents that party with their kids! E-mail or call 888-321-5356. THANKS!

  7. christine
    August 20, 2012 at 5:23 am #

    My son just came home from the hospital after being in an come with a 2.2 blood level, i found that letting him smoke pot at home has calmed him and he is much more like the old son that i had.
    I am an american living in holland,,and the laws are much different here,,, he is now 16 and he can drink, and he can smoke,,Its up to the parents to control them, but i like what Tim has to say!!

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