My biggest teenage parenting struggle

I’m nearly five years into parenting teenagers. I now have three teenagers – one of them nearly an adult, one who is 15 and a half and one who is just 13. I’ll be honest, I’ve been pretty lucky with them. Yes, they can be stubborn sods. They argue with each other too much. They’re a nightmare to get out of bed. They go to bed too late and one of them is very, very untidy.

BUT they don’t argue with me or have strops. They don’t smoke or do drugs. We’ve had no issues with the police. No issues with sex. None of them have any mental health problems.

OK, so I still have six more years to go before I complete my teenage parenting journey, but so far I have come off very lightly.

But there is one thing I do struggle with – parties, going out and alcohol.

Again, I guess I’m lucky that this issue only reared its ugly head in 6th form. And, again, it could be a lot worse than it is. But I myself have two problems that make the whole issue of alcohol much harder to deal with – I am a lifelong teetotaller myself and I have emetophobia, an irrational fear of vomiting. With teenagers, alcohol and vomiting often go hand in hand.

It was only around the time of my son’s 17th birthday last year that I even discovered that he does drink. Sadly he drinks vodka, which to me is many shades of wrong. I don’t like any drinking at all, but surely beer would be way more sensible? On the plus side, I’ve never actually seen him drunk, so he is either reasonably sensible with his vodka, or he only gets drunk when he is staying over at friends’ houses.

Alcohol, Bottles, Cans, Beer, Vodka, Teenagers, Party, My biggest teenage parenting struggle

The 17th birthday parties have merged into the 18th birthday parties. There are entire weekends when we hardly see my son. He goes to parties straight after school, stays over with a friend, goes to work and then maybe goes to yet another party the following night. Remarkably, he has never been late for work.

But I can’t help worrying about him. Sometimes he says he’s going to come home, but then fails to come home. And fails to text. I’m always 99% certain that he’s at a friend’s house, but there’s always that 1% of uncertainty that maybe he isn’t. That the first I’ll hear is a knock on the door from the police to tell me he’s in hospital or worse.

Of course he doesn’t see what I worry about, because it’s obvious that he’s staying over with a friend, obvious he’s fine. But how am I supposed to know that if he doesn’t send me a message?

But there’s also a part of me that is glad he stays away. In case he’s sick. And also so he doesn’t wake me. Because if he wakes me at 3 or 4am, I’m not going back to sleep. And sleep is way too important to sacrifice.

My younger son is only in year 10, so thank goodness I won’t have to think about this for a couple more years for him, right?


The other day, most of the year group went to a party at a girl’s house. And there was alcohol supplied. I worried about this party a lot. I made myself feel very down about the whole thing.

Unlike his brother, my younger son does like beer and my husband (against my own wishes) thought it would be sensible to give my son two beers to take with him. He would drink those two beers and no more. Definitely no spirits.

It turns out there wasn’t just beer available at this 15 year old’s birthday party, there was vodka too. One boy was very ill, very quickly. I’m proud of my son for looking after him. Not so proud of him for having more than his allocation of beer and having some of the vodka.

Something tells me my younger son may prove to be more of a challenge with alcohol and parties, and I’m not ready for that.

Oh, and my eldest wants an 18th birthday party. Not a nice, organised one with his family there, but a piss-up in the garden like last year. All those teenagers, all that alcohol, all that potential for people being sick.

I KNOW I’ve got off lightly with my teenagers, but for me this is definitely my biggest parenting struggle since they were tiny.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. This worries me already. N is only 8 but the OH and FIL have already let him taste cider which i was fuming about. But he’s the youngest of 5 nephews, 3 of whom are already drinking, with number 3 still only 17. The men encourage them to have more when they’re at shooting. Its irresponsible and teaching them its normal to be stupid round drink instead of having the occasional shandy or wine with a meal which is what we would have been offered. The men are still drinking too much thanks to peer pressure age 46-50. Yes i drank a bit at uni but my body won’t let me drink anymore if it knows its going to get to the ill stage so I’m hoping N has this inbuilt too. Good luck

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    • Eek! That is a worry. I’m glad this issue has only arisen recently for me. My boys aren’t surrounded by a drinking culture at all. My husband drank a lot in his late teens and early 20s, but he cut right back as soon as our eldest was born and now only has a couple of drinks a week. I hope N can resist the peer pressure!

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  2. We’re not at this stage yet but I am dreading the going out to parties and the alcohol involved. My teen had a bucks fizz at Christmas and my youngest is dead against anyone drinking alcohol at the moment.
    I get what you mean about Vodka. It is dangerous. No way should 15 year olds be drinking it. It’s one of those drinks which is too easy to drink and it’s so strong! I suppose you have to be proud of your boy for looking after his friend. He did the right thing.
    If you let your son have his 18th party in the garden you should go away and stay in a nice hotel for the night. Leave your hubby to deal with the teens and vomit. hehehe

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    • That’s pretty much what I’m thinking about the 18th! I must admit I would rather he just didn’t have the party. Plenty of his friends haven’t had parties for their 18ths, but plenty of them have too!
      It’s good that your teen isn’t interested in alcohol yet. My daughter is dead against it too. Long may that continue!

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  3. You must really trust your son to let him have parties in the garden. I can totally see why you would want to do it, because it’s a safe environment for them which is much better than them sneaking off to get drunk somewhere that you can’t look after them if something goes wrong. That said, I don’t know if it’s something I’ll manage with mine because my sister had a party at my dad’s house for her 16th and they’ve never let any of them have parties there again because it was such a disaster. Hundreds of people there, neighbours complaining and the associated mess. Apparently it wasn’t her friends who caused the issues, but other children from school who had found out she was having a party and gate crashed it. My worst nightmare!

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    • I wouldn’t say I trust my son 100% and I really didn’t want him to have a party in the garden for his 17th birthday and I don’t want it for his 18th either, but sometimes I feel like I have no say in these matters! What happened at your sister’s party is what I really fear. It sounds horrendous! x

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  4. Urgh I hadn’t even thought about this haha the fully I’m years off and I’ve already decided I’d rather be the under my roof parent to help prevent a bit of the problems but they won’t always be under my roof and I’m never going to be host to any big parties. Plenty of time for me to worry about it all haha

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    • Yes, don’t start worrying about it just yet! I’m dreading the 18th birthday party my son thinks he will be having. My husband can deal with any problems, as he is more supportive of this stuff than me!

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  5. Oh goodness, we are on the brink of this. I’m not sure how I feel about parents who actually supply alcohol at parties. I’m of the view that I wouldn’t do it because if something were to go wrong, I’d potentially be at fault legally, and certainly morally. However, I do think if my 15 year old asked me for some to take to a party with her, I’d give her a couple of drinks and hope that she’d stop there.

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    • I hate it all! I really don’t wish to be giving my kids alcohol for parties, but my husband tells me it’s OK. To me, 15 feels too young, but it seems like it’s the norm. I wouldn’t supply alcohol for 15 or 16 year olds. We did have some for my eldest’s 17th birthday, but as he is a summer birthday, a lot of his friends were nearly 18 by then.

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