Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Help Header

Worried About Our Son's Problem Drinking: Are We Being Bad Parents?

by Anne

My 20 year old son has always been an "individual" wanting to do his own thing rather than being conventional. This my husband and I do not have a problem with.

He is away at University and living the life that sometimes goes with it. I know he drinks a lot which obviously worries us because of future health problems - but also potential addiction problems with alcohol. As far as we know he does not take drugs.

Our problem is that when he returns home in the holidays, he continues his lifestyle going out with his friends every single evening, coming home late, drunk and having spent money that he simply does not have as a student.

My husband and son had another huge argument last night and my son walked out at 2am this morning to stay with a friend.He had been out all day and came home drunk yet again. I might add that he has being seeing his GP with constant stomach problems as well for the past 18 months.

Are we being unreasonable setting ground rules to someone who is adult? How should we approach him about his drinking without appearing to be nagging parents?


Hi Anne

It's a very difficult position you're in because as you rightly say, student life does unfortunately often go hand in hand with a party lifestyle, excessive drinking etc.

Most grow out of it - but for some it becomes the start of destructive behavioural patterns that could lead to addiction. Unfortunately you just don't know into which category your son will fall and can only hope that it will be a passing phase like it is for most students.

So you need to treat your son like an adult - and allow him to be responsible for the choices he makes, even if the consequences are undesirable - because that's the only way he'll learn.

Having said that though - while he's at home, he has to live by your rules, so don't be afraid to put certain boundaries in place. And if he doesn't like those, he can find somewhere else to stay.

But it's a fine line - you want to let your son know you're worried about him and his behaviour, but at the same time make it clear to him you don't approve and won't allow it (to that extreme) while he's living at home.

The danger is by taking it too far, you totally alienate him and fracture your relationship, but by also saying/doing nothing, your son has to bear no consequences for his actions and that way will never learn.

So as difficult as it is, try and use some common sense, and try and talk to your son like an adult about all this. Losing your cool or talking down to him like he's still a youngster will just get his back up and he won't listen. But if you talk to him as an adult, at his level, you may get through.

Of course there are no guarantees and you can only do your best. We think we know it all at 20 and sometimes have to learn harsh lessons for ourselves before we get it. So do what you can and then simply trust that your son's destiny will unfold as it's meant to.

Good Luck and All the Best

Comments for Worried About Our Son's Problem Drinking: Are We Being Bad Parents?

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Jul 12, 2010
Your answers
by: Anonymous

Thank you for that. I do appreciate your thougts and comments.

Jul 12, 2010
No you're not
by: Pat

You can only do your best. Kids that age will simply do what they want. Think they know it all. Your son needs to learn his lessons for himself. Set him free to make his own mistakes and figure these things out for himself. We can't control our children, especially not once they're at that age, so as much as it pains us we simply have to let go and hope they'll grow into responsible, mature adults in the end.

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Drug Alcohol Help Parents Q&A Archive.


FREE E-Course

"10 Essential Steps to Ending a Life of Alcoholism or Drug Addiction ... Permanently!"

This Course is packed full of valuable information and advice for overcoming addiction that you're unlikely to find anywhere else.

And if you subscribe now - we'll throw in a Special eBook that will help immensely in your struggle against addiction.

Don't worry - your e-mail
address is totally secure.
Your details will NEVER be sold and you will NOT be spammed.

What is this?
Add to My Yahoo!
My MSN RSS button
Add to Google

Copyright © 2013 - - All Rights Reserved.