My 13 year old daughter told me last week that most of her 13 year old friends get drunk every weekend and some smoke dope. She said that the children that do this are all the popular ones and that she doesn’t want to find new friends as she has been with them since she started school and really enjoys them.
She went on to say that she doesn’t want to drink or smoke dope but feels out of it when they act silly and look like they are having a lot of fun. She isn’t experiencing peer pressure but said that she is not sure what to do about it. I was shocked when she told me how often these children indulge in alcohol and drugs.
I am not naïve in that I would have expected some of her friends to experiment, but not most of them and not at this age. I also can’t understand how this can happen under the noses of their parents. Apparently these children have parties and sneak in alcohol, and their parents either do not see or choose not to see what is happening.
I praised my daughter for not wanting to join in with her friends, but I am at a loss as to what to do about this situation. I agree with her about not losing the friendships she has. These children are very nice and so are most of their parents.
I think I should contact these parents and talk to them, but I don’t want to jeopardize my daughter’s relationships with her friends? Is there any way you can suggest that I convince my daughter to maintain her attitude to stay away from drugs and alcohol without feeling she is the odd one out?
You obviously have done a great job to date with your daughter. The proof being that she knows it is wrong and that she isn’t interested in experimenting with drugs and alcohol at this stage. I agree with you that the parent’s of the children she mixes with are not vigilantly monitoring their behavior nor are they giving these 13 year old children boundaries.
I agree that it is not your place to “dob” on these children, but it is your place to check out where your daughter is going and it is OK to ask the question as to who is supervising their parties and if there will be alcohol on the premises.
Depending on their answer will determine if you want your daughter to attend. If these parents see you leading by example in the way you check out all details involving your daughter’s outings, they may just follow your lead. I also suggest that you give your daughter lots of praise for talking openly and honestly about her predicament.
Tell her how happy you are that she trusts you enough to discuss anything with you knowing that you will never reprimand her for being honest. Explain to your daughter that drugs and/ or alcohol changes brain waves thus changes behavior.
Whilst she may witness her friends appearing to have “fun”, they actually lose their ability to act in a rational way, which often leads to destructive behavior which is outside of their control and people often get hurt when this happens.
The fact that she does not participate, means that she is one of the few people in the room who is capable of making a rational objective decision if a situation arises. Praise her for being a responsible 13 year old.