Postby Gina_Gee » Mon Feb 27, 2023 11:38 am
My eldest son turned 14 a while ago and since last summer I have been navigating my way through these sorts of challenges! My advice would be not to tell your son he can't hang out with this boy, that could backfire for all the reasons you have mentioned. Not only that, the harsh reality is (in my experience) it seems that alcohol does come into the mix around this age, perhaps not to a concerning level, but it appears to be a thing some of them are 'trying out'. I have also been surprised to discover that it's not only the ones who are a bad influence, but also some of the lovely, sensible kids. So the influence of your son being subjected to alcohol could possibly come from somewhere else at some stage anyway.
I have a fairly open relationship with my son, I'm not so naïve to think he tells me everything but there was an occasion where he had alcohol and subsequently opened up enough for me to get a clear understanding of how much of this sort of thing is going on. He is a very sociable boy and when he is not busy with school and sport he tends to spend lot of time hanging out with friends, I allow him the freedom to go out but keep a close eye on him (we use life360) and he always has to tell me who he is with and where he is going, he knows that this is also for his own safety and that if anything happens to him, his phone dies or gets stolen (we know this is a problem in London), etc. it's absolutely vital that I know where he has been and with whom (of course this is also so that I can keep a check on who he is hanging out with).
That said, he does have a friend who appears to be what some might call a particularly bad influence and although we haven't said he can't hang out with him, I am always on high alert when he is with this friend and have, on occasion, not allowed him to go out when I know it's that crowd of boys.
I think the best way forward is to ensure you have an open dialogue about drinking and making the right choices, etc. Try to ensure he is sensible and aware of the dangers associated with drinking when they don't have the maturity to deal with it (never mind the health aspects and the fact that it is just illegal - but these are 'rules' which sometimes they don't seem to care so much about, so it's important to make them understand all the other reasons too!).
Also, don't be afraid to bring it up with other parents who you are friends with so that you can collectively keep a check on things. I have found it very reassuring speaking to the parents of the boys who I know quite well (this is how I discovered that the subject of alcohol was entering into other conversations and broader friend groups). It also helps that my son knows that us and many of his friends' parents all feel the same way and that we are all on the same page!
I don't meant to alarm you by being so direct about the topic, I am just sharing my own experience with you. We all have a different way of parenting and I'm sure you will do what is right for your family.
Best of luck!