Responsible Parent or Busybody
I have three very different kids. They approach so many things in life differently that sometimes it amazes me. Em follows rules and doesn't understand why others don't. Patrick is looking for every loop hole. To be honest the jury is still out on Meg but who knows. Though a friend has suggested we start a bail found for her now, it's always the quiet ones she says.
With that being said it wasn't surprising that Em was very upset about what she found posted on a friend's facebook page. She brought it to me for advice. As with most things there are different approaches to handling problems. Here's the dilemma. She's concerned about this girl as a friend and from a Christian stand point (Em is a youth leader at our church). I am looking at it from both a parental perspective as well as legal....
Her friend is turning 19, from here on out we will call her Carol. Carol and her best friend have sent out invitations to her b'day party. This party, whose location is a secret, will include beer pong, shots and a ring of fire. FYI: Ring of Fire is a drinking game played with a deck of cards. Carol's older sisters; both in their 30's are on her FB often so I can't imagine them not being aware of this. Add to the fact there are a number of pictures of Carol with bottles of beer and such on her FB page as well.
I understand everyone has different policies about alcohol in their home. Some people allow their kids to drink in their house once they turn 18. Others allow a glass of wine on special occasions and holidays. While some people do not want their kids drinking at all until they are 21. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 made it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase or publicly possessing alcohol. The law did not make it illegal for people under the age of 21 to drink alcohol. There are states that did extend the law to include private consumption as well. Some states have specified under what conditions underage consumption is to be allowed. Florida does not allow anyone under the age of 21 to drink, purchase or even possess alcohol.
I know Carol's parents just in the sense that I know who they are. We've carpooled the girls a number of times but have never socially interacted. I don't believe I've ever had a conversation with either Mom or Dad when it wasn't about a shared event. So this is not a close friend we're discussing.
Is it my responsibility to talk to the parents? For all I know they're OK with what's going on, or possibly have a "kids will be kids" approach to parenting . There are so many ramifications to this entire situation. If I don't call them and something horrible happens could I ever forgive myself~doubtful. What if I do call them and simply get the phone version of a smile and nod; I'd still be worried and even wonder if they would tell the girls to move the party. Deep inside part of me feels the only truly responsible thing to do is find out the location and notify the police. Do I also want to turn my daughter into a spy to get the complete information?
I know I am lucky. Many kids may see an invite like that laugh to themselves and move on. I love, no rejoice that Em feels close enough to share her concerns with me. I also know that I can't right now guarantee that my other two will behave in the same way when approached with something like this, I'd like to believe they will but there's not guarantees in parenting.
Parenting is such an evolving event. We have to know how to constantly morph to each child's needs and personality while still maintaining our standards. I believe that every time we respond to a situation not only are we learning more about ourselves but our children are watching and taking notes for when it is their turn to be the parent.
What would you do?