18 Yr Old Son With a DUI Conviction Coming Home From College To Friends Who Encourage Drinking and Such
How do I handle this situation? My son was arrested 2 days before going away to college. His friends here at home are HUGE partiers. My son has been at a Maritime College with very strict rules.
He gets very good grades and knows he was out of control prior to leaving for college. (He and his friends were drinking. My son drove everyone home. It was raining heavily and he had an old car that fish-tales. He was going a bit too fast and crashed his car, totaling it. He was not hurt and he didn't hurt anyone. He was arrested for DUI.)
I know he'll want to hang out with his friends and that the friends will drink and such; not sure what tools I can give him to deal with the peer pressure. Friends have already started contacting him asking him to call them when he gets home.
I have made a sheet up with "House Rules". (see below)
There will be huge life altering consequences for YOU if you don’t adhere to these rules:
DRINKING ALCOHOL IN ANY STATE IS AGAINST THE LAW UNTIL AGE 21
HAVING ILLEGAL SUBSTANCES IN YOUR POSSESION OR BEING WITH OTHERS WHO HAVE ILLEGAL SUBSTANCES IS AGAINST THE LAW-PERIOD
•No drinking on our premises or anywhere else – It’s against the law until you are 21. Consequences if you are caught - YOU GO TO JAIL.
•No illegal substances use allowed on our premises – It’s against the law. Consequences if you are caught with illegal substances – YOU COULD GO TO JAIL.
•No USE of illegal substances on our premises or anywhere else. Consequences if you are caught – YOU GO TO JAIL.
•No socializing anywhere with anyone who is drinking (other than immediate family) and/or are engaged in illegal substance use or activities. Consequences if you are caught - YOU COULD GO TO JAIL.
•No riding in any vehicle anywhere, for any reason, with anyone who has been drinking any amount of alcohol and/or under the influence of illegal substances. Consequences - YOU COULD GO TO JAIL, INJURE SOMEONE OR DIE.
My son is a good guy; wants to be with his friends. Being 18, technically he is an adult; but he's my son and none of us have ever been through anything like this and we don't know what to do and how to handle this.
What do we do? This weekend (Sunday) he has an preliminary appointment for his DUI program in December.
Having ground rules and boundaries in place is important because it holds your son accountable and makes sure he understands the consequences of drinking irresponsibly.
But whether going about it in quite such a harsh manner is the way to go, is debatable. Yes your son needs to understand he was wrong and acted irresponsibly. At the same time though, teenagers drink and like to have a good time with their friends.
And whether that's against the law or not, it's very much part of teenage culture - and so if your son really wants to drink with his friends, he's going to do it anyway, irrespective of what your rules or the law say. Doesn't make it right, but that's unfortunately the reality.
So it's about trying to teach your son to act more responsibily as far as alcohol goes. Drinking and driving are absolute No No's. Getting in the car with anyone who's had a drink likewise.
But to say your son should not have a drink under any circumstances may end up being counter-productive. Because he'll probably do it anyway - and behind your back. So make it clear that if he ever gets caught DUI or in trouble with the law for any reason due to his drinking - the consequences will be SEVERE.
However tell him you can't stop him drinking and that if he's going to do it - to be more responsible about it. He doesn't have to get drunk, if he's had too much not to get behind the wheel under ANY circumstances, and that he shouldn't feel the need to succumb to peer pressure.
So it's about finding the balance between being firm and strict, while trying to put yourself in your son's shoes and giving him some leeway to have fun with his friends and learn his lessons for himself.
It's not easy and one of the hardest things to do as a parent. Hopefully this DUI will give your son enough of a scare for him to re-evaluate his behavior and start behaving more responsibly.
So you're certainly on the right track. It's just a question of whether balancing your message with a bit more understanding of where your son is at in his life right now, may not reap greater benefits in the long run. But you're the parent so trust your instincts and do what you think is best.
Best of Luck