Friday, July 23, 2010

Teen asks if parents' punishment is reasonable


Subject: punishment

Question: Hi,

My name is Mue, I'm 16, and I believe that my parents are being overprotective or untrustworthy of me.

About 4 months ago I got caught drinking,
this was probably about the second time that I had done it. It was pretty hard on my parents because I'm not really the kind of kid that would get into that sort of thing.

Anyways, they talked to me for a good long time about and said that certain restrictions on my social life would come into effect. I understood that I wouldn't be able to have as much freedom as I had had before that incident. But now its almost 4 months later and the same restrictions still apply. I just don't understand why the won't let me still hang out with my friends, i know that maybe i shouldn't be able to go out like everyday of the weekend, or everday now that it's summer, but i still think that like every once and awhile would be appropriate.

I've been a good student in school and I've never done anything wrong before this incident. My Mother's father was an alcoholic and my uncle (her brother) seems to drink quite often. Are they afraid that it's possible that alcoholism could run a course on me if i drink, but that's besides the point, because now that I've seen the punishment that they've dished out on me i won't be getting into this kind of trouble again.

Also, they blame the whole incident on my friends, and i told them that it wasn't their fault because it wasn't.

Are they just using my friends as scapegoats because they really truely believe that I'm not capable of doing something like this on my own?

I often find myself rather bored at home and there isn't anything to do. Whenever i ask to do something they don't use "the incident" as an excuse for why i can't, they either say that: "your friend's aren't good for you" or "There's work around the house that you need to do". There's nothing wrong with my friends and even if i completed the work which would usually only take like an hour they still wounldn't let me go.

About two months ago I started dating this girl (we've recently broken up) but when we started going out they let me maybe like go and get something to eat with her and stuff every once and a while. And even now they've become slightly more lenient, they might let me go out with my friends if we're going to like a certain place (i.e. a movie, or golfing).

I even have my license now and i would never drink and drive so i think that right there is a satisfactory reason why i should be allowed to go out with my friends. It's just gotten to the point where i can't handle sitting at home anymore, before i could handle it because i knew i was being punished. But now it's just like they have no trust for me and i almost have a need to go out. I need to be with other people. When i give them this excuse they tell me "well your going to need to get over that because when you grow up no one else will be there for you".

Do you think that the issue of me drinking again is even a problem, because i don't want to ever be isolated like this again and i swear that i won't touch the stuff again. I just don't know what to tell them. They seem so different than otehr parents, their punishments are always more intense and longer than everyone elses parents. Are they trying to make me a better person by doing this becuase i only believe that this could only have negative effects, please help me so i can talk to my parents and get them to let me have more freedom.

Thank you.



Answer: Dear Mue:

Well there are several places where you have answered your own questions here.

First of all let's deal with the drinking. You said this was not the first time, so you have broken your parent's trust in you not just once but at least twice.

Trust is a BIG DEAL not only with parents and with anyone you will ever be involved with in all types of relationships....this is a major issue.

Second, you state there is alcoholism in your family (you seem rather educated on this issue for a 16 year old. So you know there is a family history of drinking and you know your parents will have an issue here and you even suspect they are over reacting and yet you are asking me if this is normal?

Okay so let's go from here. You are not the worst kid in the world and you obviously made a mistake. The next time you want to not be so perfect choose something a little less reactive, don't make your bed or take the trash out or something.....of that nature...DRINKING at your age is ILLEGAL and DANGEROUS. Of course you already know this however I would not be doing a good job if I didn't remind you.

As for your parents....four months seems a bit long to me too however it maybe a direct reflection on how SCARED they are for you. Blaming your friends is a common parental mistake and you are the only person responsible for your choices. From a parent's perspective, no parent wants to believe their child is capable of directly disobeying them and breaking their rules. It makes them feel a little better about you to believe that you were influenced or pressured by your friends to break their rules.

You need damage repair for your relationship.

First of all ask for a discussion. Let them know you have something you want to tell them.

1. Apologize. Tell them you know you broke their trust in you and that they must be terribly disappointed then ASK THEM TO FORGIVE YOU.

2. Tell them you want to work hard to rebuild this trust in you and that you realize this is more than just about the drinking. Let them know you love them and they are still imporantant to you and that you appreciated that they are such good parents and have so much concern about your welfare (believe it or not parents like to hear that they are doing a good job too!).

3. Now reassure them that in the future you will not be drinking and let them know you know they have no way of knowing this so you will propose certain accomadations to make them feel better about your social life. (now think of only going to friend's houses where the parents are home or offering for them to come with you and be introduced to your friends and their famiies etc....) this shows them that you are really taking this serious.

Just think of ways you can ease their anxiety about this issue and you will be taking responsibility for your life! You can't go wrong with this type of an approache because you learn how to take control.

By the way, one of the number reasons teens drink is boredom. You may want to deal with this issue by getting a few hobbies. There must be things you can do at home alone and show your parents you can be respectful by yourself.

This should ease them up on you quite abit if you keep it up and are genuine in all you do with them. Feel free to write again if you need to!

M Kay Keller

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