I used to think of myself as a cool mom. My house has always been where my kids and their friends gather, so it was easy to think that had something to do with me, my tattoos, and my Nirvana T-shirts. But all of that changed when my kids hit their teen years, and I discovered that being “cool” came at far too high a cost.

I’ve always had a strict “no drugs or alcohol” policy with my kids. Sure, I’ll pick them up if they ever get hammered at a party, no questions asked, but there will still be consequences the next day. I figured all of us parents were united in a battle against keggers and spiked punch at prom. It never occurred to me that sticking to my guns about alcohol would make me the odd one out.

My twin teenagers were freshmen in high school when I first discovered one of them was drinking at a friend’s house (his twin ratted him out immediately). I didn’t think twice before I texted him and told him he had five minutes to get home. When he didn’t respond, I drove straight to the friend’s house, and texted him that he had 30 seconds to get in the car before I called the police and reported him for underage drinking. Needless to say, he got in the car.

Maybe that sounds like an overreaction, but I don’t play around with alcohol. Teen brains are still developing and alcohol doesn’t do their brains any favors. Plus, I was married to an alcoholic and I’ve seen the damage alcohol can do. I want my kids to grow up developing healthy coping mechanisms, not learning to drown their sorrows in a bottle when life gets too hard.

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