Apologies for the slightly crass title but, I kid you not, this was an actual line uttered by … wait for it … a 14-year-old girl at a party … apologies, not party, a gathering … I was at last weekend. But this title could easily have been ‘Vodka And 14-Year-Olds Do Not Mix’ or even ‘Who Knew Teens Could Be So Sneaky?’ but my favourite was the title “Don’t Be Sick On My Mum’s Chanel’s” and pretty much sums up what happened. However, I am still a little shell shocked by the whole event so what better way to deal with it than to write a blog?
Now, for anyone who is familiar with my posts, you will know that parties these days are called gatherings and most certainly involve alcohol, as recently demonstrated by Teen 2:
Teen 2: Mum, please can I have a gathering for my birthday?
Me: Of course, darling, as long as there is no alcohol.
Teen 2: Well, that’s not a gathering then so I won’t bother!
Me: Oh. OK.
So, as my daughter is only 14 years old and is well below the legal age of drinking she won’t have a gathering (her choice) as I won’t allow alcohol … and let me explain why … I’ve a feeling you’ll be on my side …
OK, so let’s cut to the scene … friend invites me to help at her daughter’s gathering, which my daughter is attending too, with 20 or so friends … boys and girls.
8pm: Girls arrive dressed up beautifully in heels and dresses … lots of giggling, gossip and innocent fun. This is going to be great!
8:30pm: Boys arrive … shy, awkward and a little uncomfortable. Girls now silent … posing and pouting in the corner … zero interaction … but it’ll happen so we will just carry on cheekily spying willing them to start mingling.
8:45pm Boys playing football in the garden … girls still posing and pouting in the corner … hmm this gathering could take a while to warm up!
9:00pm It starts to get a little dark and, phew, they start to mingle … we can relax a little … this will be fine … they will have fun!
9:30pm All parents called and asked to collect their children as neat vodka smuggled into the party in water bottles … kids vomiting, passing out … birthday girl sobbing … party categorically over!
Wow! Don’t they know how to have a good time? Who wouldn’t be encouraged by this and of course agree to their child having a gathering with alcohol? Teen 2 are you for real? OK, I may have exaggerated slightly – not everyone was drunk and not everyone was vomiting but there was a general theme running through a few of the guests so it was felt that perhaps the party should end before things got any worse and out of control.
Although I jest, it was really quite frightening for us as the adults … any trust gone for the few guests that had pushed the limits of acceptable behaviour and it makes me sad that these kids, who are so young, can’t mix socially without alcohol … we will ignore the fact that it would be the most boring gathering on the planet if I was invited to one which was non-alcoholic … but why the need for it so young? Why does my daughter (who knows my views on teen drinking) feel such peer pressure that she would rather not have a gathering than be embarrassed that she won’t be supplying alcohol if she was to have one?
I’m not going to back this post up with research highlighting why some teens feel the need because we were all young once and all saw kids drinking recklessly but as a parent it does make me contemplative … so much excitement leading up to the evening … outfits planned, cool playlists compiled, trepidation and excitement about which boy likes which girl etc etc and then … boom … over within 30 minutes of the party actually starting …
… I don’t know what the way forward is because there have and always will be those teens that perhaps push those limits … but, more than anything, parents seriously need to talk to their young teens about the dangers of alcohol … don’t ignore it because apart from the fact there really is nothing funny about a 14-year-old girl sobbing about being sick on her Mum’s Chanel’s … they were good shoes … the teen years need to be fun … those gatherings need to last longer than 30 minutes … just saying!