[quote="AuntMama, post:1, topic:179631"]
My husband and I have just discovered that, while we were gone for the weekend, our 18 year old son had some friends over without our knowledge. There was alcohol brought into our home and served to about 15 teens, all seniors and juniors in high school, NONE of legal age. Our son has never once given us any trouble of this kind before. He admitted the mistake as soon as we got home and is clearly troubled by what he did. We are shocked and concerned and worried. The only bright spot is that he did insist on designated drivers for all concerned.
Aside from the obvious parenting issues and trust violations, here is my pressing concern: Are my husband and I legally, morally, or ethically obligated to contact the parents of the teens we know were in our home while we were gone? If so, will doing so place my son or my husband and I at legal risk in anyway?
I want very much to contact the parents, to do the right thing. I know this could end up with these kids all being kicked out (expelled) from the Catholic high school they attend, my son included. As grievous as that would be, I would understand and accept if the school finds out about this party and does choose to expel them. My bigger concern however is the safety and future of these kids. I would very much want to know if my child has been drinking at some OTHER parent's home, with or without their knowledge or approval. I admit however that I am reluctant to expose my son or my husband and myself to possible jail time.
We know the name of the boy who brought the alcohol (considerable amounts of it) and he too is underage in this country, but not in his home country. Am I legally, morally, or ethically responsible for contacting his parents? The school?
Any input appreciated. Thanks for your thoughts and advice.
I do not think it's beneficial to turn a few beers into the "forbidden fruit". Teen who want to drink, should be able to sit down at the kitchen table or while watching a ball game on TV with mom and dad and share a beer once in a while. My children were permitted to do this with us and never once got into alcohol related, or any other trouble. Most of their friends went crazy seeking alcohol and would get dangerously intoxicated the minute they were out of their mom and dad's sight. My kids were also told that if they ever drank outside the home while underage, or obtained alcohol for anyone who is underage that they would be severely grounded. Zero tolerance!
Not surprisingly, they rarely took us up on the beer offer but would have a glass of wine when we had company. Alcohol was just never a big deal to them because we let them partake in a moderate fashion ....and only when we were with them. We taught them that if they choose to drink that they were to drink in a moderate and responsible manner.
What your son did however is clearly wrong and extremely dangerous not to mention your exposure to legal and financial liability. You can be sued for every penny you have if one of those kids got into an accident and killed someone. He needs to be made aware of this in a profound way.
Should you "inform" on the kids involved? Probaby Not.... The reason I say that is because there has been a severe over-reaction to this issue of underage drinking to the point where kids are being expelled and parents are going to jail over a seventeen year old (who is old enough to go to war in Afghanistan) over one can of beer!
Your son should talk to all involved about the incident explaining the liabilities and let them know that it will never happen again. And if you do see these kids again, you can tell them that you will call their parents if you ever find about that they have been drinking before they reach age.