I was at a party the other night when one of the parents got a text from her seventeen-year-old son. Could he have friends over? Yes, she said. Can the friends sleep over? Sure, she said. Would she mind stopping on the way home and picking them up a case of beer?  Wait, what?

When I was a teenager I NEVER would have been brave enough, or stupid enough, to ask my parents to buy me a case of beer because the response would have been, “What the hell is wrong with you?” followed by a quick slap upside the head. Oh no, back in the good old days of the 1980’s we didn’t ask our parents for help with breaking the law, we just did it. We stole liquor from their cabinet, ran deep into the woods and drank ourselves silly. Then, fueled by alcohol and the thrill of getting away with something absolutely forbidden, we would laugh, smoke, and generally make fools of ourselves before stumbling home, sneaking upstairs and passing out in our beds.

Once in while someone’s mom would still be up watching a late night episode of Cheers only to see the front door creak open and her son stumble in, or a missing bottle of Scotch would be found carefully hidden under a pile of Madonna albums in a daughter’s bedroom.  And once in awhile bad things would happen, and everyone would shake their heads and mutter “too bad” before going back to the unspoken arrangement between teenagers and adults of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Apparently the rules are different in the 21st century. In this age of now over involved, helicopter-parenting, teenagers are not only telling their parents when they are drinking but they are even asking them to buy them the liquor! This new arrangement has set up a quandary for all of us parents who grew up under the old “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule.  

What do we do?

Do we say, ok, yes we will buy you beer because we don’t agree with the stupid legal age of 21 anyways?

Do we allow them to drink because in a year or two year they are all going to college where there will be lots of drinking, so they might as well do it at home first because somehow this “teaches” them how to drink responsibly?

Do we say, well, if they are going to just go into the woods and get drunk and god-forbid perhaps drive home, we might as well let them drink in our basement where at least we can supervise them and keep them safe. Don’t worry we will collect all the keys and make sure no one leaves. Ok, that sounds like a half reasonable plan, so… then what, do we do we call all the other the parents first and ask their permission? Or do we just assume it’s ok for someone else’s underage child to have alcohol?

Do we set a limit: three, four beers per child? Or do we watch as someone’s child does shots of tequila, drinks him/herself into oblivion, throws up and passes out on our couch? Do we call 911? Do we sit down in the middle of the group and teach them all of the old drinking games we use to play? Or do we leave them downstairs alone to figure it out, while we go upstairs for a mature glass of Cabernet? By saying yes, do we actually think we have some sort of control over their actions? That bad things won’t happen? That kids won’t make foolish choices when drinking?

Before my friend responded to this last text, we sat and had a long conversation about all of these questions and at some point we found ourselves laughing and and shaking our heads saying, “What the hell is wrong with kids these days? Why can’t they just leave us out of it? Why can’t they just steal, sneak and lie like we did! It sure would be a lot easier, wouldn’t it?

Finally she gave her son her answer and said her goodbye to me, and I was left wondering what would I do?

About the author: Anne Sawan is a psychologist, writer and mother to five wonderfully aggravating children. Her work has been published on Brain-Child, Scary Mommy, Adoptive Families and BluntMoms. She also has several picture books on MeeGenuis and a new book book, What Can Your Grandmother Do? Is scheduled to come out this year through Clavis Publishing. You can find out more on her website.


Wannabe's are Guest Authors to BLUNTmoms. They might be one-hit wonders, or share a variety of posts with us. They "may" share their names with you, or they might write as "anonymous" but either way, they are sharing their stories and their opinions on our site, and for that we are grateful.


  1. Wow good question. One that I should have an answer for, because my daughter is 19 but she only started drinking this past year, so it’s not an issue I’ve had to deal with. I certainly HAVE dealt with sneaking booze out of my parents’ liquor cabinet and drinking to excess in parks though 🙂

  2. Here’s a thought. You don’t worry about what any other kids or parents are doing, and you DO NOT provide alcohol to minors, especially in your home. First, you are sending the message that you’re okay with breaking the law, AND, that you are assuming the parents of any children that are not yours that you are providing alcohol to, share your opinion. All it takes is one ticked off parent, or one of the kids that YOU provided alcohol to report you, or to get caught drunk and tell the police where they got the alcohol, and your world will be turned upside down. Isn’t it a felony to provide alcohol to minors? Is it worth risking your freedom, reputation, job and relationships in your life? If your child asks you to get them alcohol, take the opportunity to teach them why you CANNOT, and WILL NOT do so. Teach them that even when you don’t agree with the law or rules, you must abide by them, or face the consequences, and then explain the potential consequences to you providing them with alcohol. THAT is the problem that our kids face these days. Parents not wanting to have the difficult conversations, and wishing and hoping that their kids don’t ask so they don’t have to answer. Hope that they’ll figure it out for themselves, and not put their parents in an uncomfortable position. Our kids deserve better, especially from their parents.

    • Absolutely, Danielle. This article is the kind of thing we expect from kids who did the kinds of things she says they did. Lack of regard for consequences — she had it when she was a kid, and it looks like she never grew out of it.

  3. Yes, to the friends over. Yes, to the friends sleeping over. No, to picking up a case of beer for them on my way home. I am a mom of 3 teens. You cannot be charged under The Liquor License Act of Ontario for serving alcohol to underage kids in your own home as long as they’re your kids (or under your guardianship) and under your supervision.

    • Lucky you living in Canada. In the US kids can watch people be blown to bits on TV, they can even join the military and blow up their own people but it is illegal to drink alcohol. Parents who allow or even don’t allow their kids to drink at their homes are subject to arrest, fines and jail time. It is beyond ridiculous. I say to my two teens (17 and 19) – drinking is illegal for you. You have to make your own choices. I don’t want to see it or any drunk kids in my house. I know what is going on but just don’t make me part of it.

      • In case you missed it Betty, she said no to picking up the beer for the kids, she was just stating Canada law after that. Perhaps you just misread.

      • Truth! While it is legal to allow your underage child alcohol in 29 states (under certain rules) it is NOT legal to provide it to children that are not under your guardianship.

        It is not okay by law and it is certainly not okay with this mom!

  4. Are YOU serious?! Reply

    Have fun in jail if you serve alcohol to a minor and get busted. This doesn’t just mean in your home… if a child – yes under 18 are children for God sake, leaves your home and is busted as intoxicated and they can track it back to you, you’re going to jail. If I EVER found out another parent served my child alcohol I would press charges. These idiots parents who are doing this need to get a clue. It is 100% against the law. I don’t care what some moron parents say or do to justify it otherwise, it’s illegal and stupid.

    • Well, I’m glad you never ever drank before you were 21 and then magically knew how much to drink once you did turn 21. It is illegal–I’ll give you that–but it’s only stupid because we keep trying to protect our kids from themselves. They need to fall once in a while. And if you think your kids AREN’T going to drink before they’re 21, you are rather naive.

      • If you think it’s healthy for your kids to drink before age 21, you are rather naive. 😉

        • Drinking at 21 and older isn’t healthy either!!!

          This is an argument that will never be solved because it comes down to morals and values and parenting style, not legal and illegal – it’s just not that simple.

      • I’m sure everybody drank before 21. I know I did. Got stinking drunk before my 16th birthday and puked my guts out for 3 days. We were home, thought we were being slick, but of course my parents KNEW what was going on. If you think for one minute my parents PROVIDED the booze, you’d be sadly mistaken. I take a different approach. My kids have spent time in Europe, where alcohol isn’t such a big taboo. So, I have given my children alcohol, in my home, under my supervision. It’s not a big deal in our house and I have 3 teenage girls who didn’t drink crazy. Would I ever give someone else’s kid alcohol? Not in a million years. Not only is it against the law, but I have no right to impose my beliefs on alcohol on someone else’s kid. So yeah, they’re going to get drunk and have to figure out how to handle it. But unless it’s my kid, it won’t be under my roof.

  5. I love that parents don’t agree with providing alcohol. It’s a precedent you don’t want to set in my opinion. Besides the law. Abide by the rules and teach them that is the right think to do instead. Goya rea parent. Not a ‘buddy’.

  6. Pingback: Hey Mom, can you buy me a case of beer? | Five More Minutes.....

  7. No you do not buy alcohol for kids…my kids have asked me…my daughter is 18…she asked me…I said absolutely not…I was the kid that wax the nut in the 1980’s that stole the booze and later had fake ID…I smoked and did worse…I grew up fast…no regrets but I did live dangerously at times. I explained to my youngest who is 18…that I could never consciously buy alcohol for minors due to the laws and I wouldn’t want that on my head if something happened to someone’s kid because of my stupidity…and you can lose your home if there is a kid that leaves your home and has an accident after drinking at your house. Kids don’t realize they have their whole lives to be adults and you are only a kid for a blink of the eye…enjoy every phase of your young years…one day you will be old enough to drink the rest of your life…but til then I won’t be an irresponsible parent letting you be an irresponsible kid..that was my way of telling my kids “no”.

  8. R. Mattson Reply

    The rule in my house growing up was that if my parents were drinking I was allowed a taste. I quickly learned that most alcohol tasted disgusting to me. Mom was Jewish so, from age 12 onward, we were allowed to drink wine at the annual Passover Seder (small glasses though and we could switch to grape juice at any time). When I went off to college I was honest with my parents about my drinking habits. I mostly drank at cast parties (theater kid) and only when I was around people I trusted, never to drunkeness and never EVER drove or rode with someone who’d been drinking. My parents came to campus to see one of the shows I was in and Mom asked if I planned to drink at the cast party that night. I told her “probably, depends on what’s available”. She asked me what I’d get if I was old enough to go shopping for it and then proceeded to buy it for me. She told me that she’d rather have me bring my own alcohol to parties and not have to worry that someone might have slipped something into a drink and that she trusted me to make smart choices. I think the fact that drinking wasn’t treated like a taboo is a big part of why I did far less partying than many of my classmates. It wasn’t a forbidden thrill or something that made me “daring”. My parent’s however would have NEVER allowed any of my friends to taste a single drop of alcohol in our home let alone bought alcohol for us while still in highschool.

    • ” I think the fact that drinking wasn’t treated like a taboo is a big part of why I did far less partying than many of my classmates. It wasn’t a forbidden thrill or something that made me “daring”.”

      So true! One need only look at binge drinking rates among young adults across the globe to see that this is a huge factor. Countries such as France, Germany, and Italy that allow children wine at mealtimes, have much lower instances of binge drinking than places such as the USA and the UK where they have minimum drinking ages.

  9. I was appalled, when at a local quick haircut place, I overhead a mother telling one of the stylists, while her 11- or 12-year-old daughter got her hair cut, how she was a “cool” mom because she allowed her teenagers not only to drink, but to have friends over to drink as well. She said she only let kids drink if they promised to spend the night and promised NOT to tell their parents that they were drinking so that she wouldn’t get in trouble. She thought the only danger was drinking and then driving, but she was so wrong. If my children were friends with her children, I would be outraged to think that this was going on without my knowledge, and if I had known any of these people, you can bet I would have told them straight off.

    Sadly, drinking and driving is not the only danger in teenage drinking. You only have to read articles like this: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/parenting/a13054/binge-drinking-killed-shelby-allen/

    Or this: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/14-year-dies-alcohol-poisoning-slumber-party/story?id=14065038

    To know that there are more dangers than just drinking and driving and teens do not realize these dangers. Also, teenagers typically do not think bad things are going to happen to them so will engage in far riskier behavior than they should.

    So, no, I wouldn’t buy my kids any alcohol. Since we don’t drink in our home, only having a very rare social drink on increasingly rare occasions, none of our kids have really been interested in it. My oldest turned 21 this past year and started to drink socially, but she rarely goes beyond one drink. I’ve also told them the family history of alcoholism and how it runs in the family on both sides so they need to be VERY careful of alcohol.

    • If someone gave my kid alcohol without me knowing it (even with I wouldn’t allow it) and then I found out they asked to hide it, my kid wouldn’t be allowed over there anymore. What ever happened to just obeying the law? We may not like it, but it’s the law. When people make these kinds of exceptions at stop signs, train tracks, stop lights, when passing buses, etc, people can be hurt or killed–just like with drinking. Kids may be old enough to fight for their country, but that doesn’t mean I agree they have the maturity for it. And I certainly don’t think a lot of adults have the maturity for drinking in excess, let alone kids still figuring themselves out. I also go a taste of my parents’ drinks growing up, and because of it, I personally chose not to drink until I was basically 21. I watched many friends go through drunken episodes appreciating that I wasn’t feeling the after effects. Parents need to set good examples and stop trying to be buddy buddy all the time. Honesty and communication is great; I don’t agree with the don’t ask, don’t tell. But that also doesn’t mean you have to condone it!

    • The thing that concerns me most about this story isn’t the alcohol, it’s telling the kids to lie to their parents. (Yes, a lie of omission is still a lie.) It’s incredibly irresponsible and disrespectful.

  10. I have said yes to that question under certain circumstances. I never made drinking taboo in my home, my kids drank a glass of wine with supper if they wanted to. What I found was drinking was not something that they hid from me nor did they treat it like a forbidden fruit like many teenagers do and drink like fools. They had a small close knit group of friends I knew all the parents and they knew me, we had discussed our children drinking and were in agreement that they were going to do it no matter what so we would allow it to be done responsibly in our homes. We also all agreed that anyone of us would if called would without complaint of time or distance go and pick up and drive home any or all of the “group” if they needed a responsible and safe ride home. Our children are all in their late 20’s now and not one of them ever got hurt or into any kind of trouble due to drinking and we very rarely were called for a ride, 9 times out of 10 our children were more than responsible enough and far more responsible than their peers who had not been allowed to drink openly

  11. Not just no, but hell no. It is illegal. What happens when one kid gets upset and tell their parents? Who do you think the police will hold responsible? The person who provided the alcohol. It is completely irresponsible to think that by being your kid’s buddy and buying them booze will make for a good relationship.

  12. Every state has different laws. In Oklahoma, as well as 28 other states, it is perfectly legal for minors to drink on private property (that doesn’t sell alcohol) with parent consent and supervision. Six states allow underage drinking without parental consent. Ten states allow minors to consume alcohol in private establishments that sell it if they have parental approval.

    I’m not saying I think everyone in these states should start supplying their children booze but simply clarifying the law as it is written. So many people think that underage drinking is illegal across the board.

  13. Yes, it’s difficult to call here. It’s legal in my state for a minor to drink under parental supervision, but not for providing alcohol to other minors. I do kind of admire this parent’s openness, and in the end result, they’re probably drinking light beer, not whisky or anything worse, but there are a lot of factors here to be considered. Even if it were all perfectly legal, if alcoholism runs in the family genes it should definitely be a big no and a big discussion. Also, at that age, their brains are still developing and alcohol can inhabit that, so a frank discussion with them about their future hopes and dreams is in order. I think the whole point here isn’t the outrageousness of the situation, that’s just the clickbait that got you here. The point here is that communication and discussion with your teen about alcohol, regardless of the situation, is a very appropriate and necessary thing.

  14. Let me begin with one word: afluniza.

    As parents where do we draw the line? If we teach our children that it is okay to break laws about alcohol they learn that we will support illegal behavior. I have seen a lot of talk about how parents will get in trouble if our children drink but I haven’t seen any comments about if our children get themselves into trouble. If you allow your teen to drink, then do you help rescue them from other legal trouble that may come with it? After all, it would be a double standard to allow your teen to drink but then punish him for getting charged with a minor in possession of alcohol ticket. If your teen gets a DUI do you help by getting a good lawyer? After all, kids will be kids, and everyone makes mistakes, right? If we allow our children to drink do you owe them protection from the mistakes you allow them to make? And lastly what if your child is driving drunk and kills a car full his friends, or a nice family in on coming traffic, or maybe 4 people on the sidewalk?

    Where would you draw the line?

    Personally I was allowed to openly drink in front of my family, with in reason when I was about 17 at special events. I was also allowed sips from a young age. Alcohol was not a mystery to me. That didn’t prevent me from constantly binge drinking for 15 years. I also drank knowing that should I get into legal trouble I could expect no help from my family. It took a full 15 years of living stumbling drunk before I sobered up.

    Personally, I will not allow my children to openly drink in my presence until they are of legal drinking age. I am already explaining the negative health effects of alcohol to my 6 year old. As she grows older I will teach her that if she believes she is old enough to drink she is old enough to live with everything that goes with it, from medical problems to legal trouble. She will be taught that mommy won’t bail her out. For me that lesson starts with keeping a drink out of her hand.

  15. My Dad bought beer for us when we were growing up on the farm in the 1970’s – He also monitored our drinking and held us responsible for getting our work done. I respected him and did my best to earn and keep his trust & it was a issue of self-control learned as a young man. We worked full days in the fields as well as going to school and did a man’s work and he treated us a such. God bless you Dad and thank you for sharing one with me after stacking hundreds of bales or finishing planting at the end of the year…..

  16. I love that almost each one of these individuals stand behind “it’s against the law” but I can guarantee you almost 100% of you have broken the speed limit. Not to mention how many of you have driven with “one too many” maybe even “smoked a doobie”?. It’s great to take the high road and stand with justice but that honestly makes you look like a bunch of hypocrites. And NO, I do not provide alcohol to minors. However, I am not going to use the excuse that it is against the law or that it is stupid. I simply would state that it is my choice and everyone has a freedom of choice.

  17. I do live in Canada and the drinking age is 18. I have allowed my three kids to drink and yes sometimes supplying it, we have had several supervised parties celebrating milestones. I would not trade any of these moments for anything. As you are reading this I can assume you are hating on me right now and that is your problem not mine. We raise our children to the best of our knowledge and hope for the best. The one thing no one has addressed yet is the drug situation, I know it’s bad in the States and it is getting bad in Canada as well. If I had to pick and I guess in a round about way I did… allowing alcohol in my kids life did I make them free from drugs?!! I would like to think I did and I would do it again. Drugs are a far worse case scenario in my books and I am grateful my kids have not chosen that path. those parents that are not allowing kids to drink have you thought about the other alternative? which is far worse and highly addicting. I have.

  18. “Do we say, well, if they are going to just go into the woods and get drunk and god-forbid perhaps drive home, we might as well let them drink in our basement where at least we can supervise them and keep them safe. Don’t worry we will collect all the keys and make sure no one leaves. Ok, that sounds like a half reasonable plan, so… then what, do we do we call all the other the parents first and ask their permission?”

    If you are okay with your child drinking at whatever age your child is, then this sounds like a good plan. Yes, tell the kids you have to get permission from each parent first, and then call the parents and check.

    The law is a bit arbitrary and plenty of cultures introduce younger people to alcohol without all the hoopla and taboo that we do, with good results. However, if you are okay with a 17-year-old drinking more than one beer, I’d say that you and the 17-year-old have a problem.

  19. It’s illegal to provide alcohol to a minor, so there isn’t really any choice. If the child gets caught drinking, the child will pay the consequences and hopefully learn a lesson

  20. I never respond to these type of things but this one struck a cord with me. I am 45 years old and a mother of 3 boys my oldest is freshman in high school and I know these days are not that far away from us. I am also a child of 2 alcoholic parents who will be in 9 years of recovery this April. I will say I will NEVER by my kids alcohol. That’s like putting fuel to the fire. I will say that’s one thing my parents did not do. I am one of 4 children in which my parents never bought any of us alcohol to have friends over to party and drink. I don’t remember back in the day parents saying oh I’m going to teach my kids how to drink responsibly before they go to college. I will never judge my friends in their decisions but where is he responsibility. I would be stupid to think my children are not going to try to drink before the age of 21 but I am sure as hell going to teach them and show them what happens to kids under age and of age that drink to much. The least of my concern is that the drinking age is 21. Also what parent has the right to offer my child a drink. Who do they think they are? Take the keys away really ? What are we teaching our kids. My fear growing up was I was going to become my parents not knowing when to stop and when to control it. Now I have the fear of my children which for me is so scary. I try to teach my kids the best way I know about alcohol drugs sex but they will make up their minds either way in what they are going to do. But at least I can say I tried. I will never look back and say oh I wished I taught them how to drink before they went to college. I have so much more to say but I do not want to offend anyone. Anne I’m curious in your thoughts? As a mother of 5.

  21. No parent has the right to buy beer for someone else’s child. If you want to buy beer for your kid, that is your choice. If I found out that a parent allowed my child to drink in their house, things would not be pretty between me and that other parent. No parent has the right to make that choice for me.

  22. I personally think the drinking age should be 18 in the US – if the government thinks my son is old enough to go to war and shoot a gun at others, he should be allowed to have a beer. Anyway, providing alcohol to underage drinkers (no matter how many “rules” you set) will always be a bad and stupid move. It is NOT worth the risk and, worse case scenario, you stand to lose all that you hold dear. The kids will figure it all out on their own, like we did – if they want to drink, they will. Condoning and abetting unlawful behavior sets a precedent that could hound you forever. I know parents who do this and have a lawyer “friend” on speed dial to figure it out when things go bad! The sense of entitlement in our country has grown to an appalling state. And the helicopter parents are complicit. Just say NO!

  23. Pingback: 3 Signs of an Unhealthy Friendship – Sather Health

Write A Comment

Pin It