Par­ents learn too late about al­co­hol at friends’ homes

Austin American-Statesman - - COMICS & PUZZLES - Jeanne Phillips Dear Abby

Dear Abby: I have seen let­ters in your col­umn from par­ents who want to en­sure their chil­dren’s and teenagers’ safety when vis­it­ing their friends’ homes. A ques­tion par­ents need to ask the host­ing par­ents is what their drug and al­co­hol pol­icy is.

We wrongly as­sumed that our daugh­ter’s friends’ par­ents did not fa­cil­i­tate ac­cess to al­co­hol or drugs to mi­nors. We re­al­ized — too late — that from the time she was 15, our daugh­ter had ac­cess to un­mon­i­tored al­co­hol and was some­times en­cour­aged to con­sume it in these homes.

Many par­ents think it’s OK if teens drink al­co­hol un­der su­per­vi­sion, as long as the par­ents are there and they have pos­ses­sion of the car keys.

What these good-time par­ents don’t con­sider is that a teen who may have a ge­netic pre­dis­po­si­tion to ad­dic­tion may have just got­ten a switch turned on in his or her de­vel­op­ing brain. You can’t look at peo­ple and know if they are prone to ad­dic­tion. In our case, our daugh­ter’s ad­dic­tion be­came a long, dif­fi­cult strug­gle, which led to the un­timely death of our smart and tal­ented daugh­ter at age 24. — Griev­ing Mom in Reno

Dear Griev­ing Mom: I am sorry for the tragic loss of your daugh­ter. In most states, pro­vid­ing al­co­hol to mi­nors is against the law, not only for pub­lic safety, but also for the rea­son you stated.

Years ago, I spoke with a gen­tle­man who was ac­tive with the Na­tional Coun­cil on Al­co­holism and Drug De­pen­dence (NCADD), when he re­peated some­thing he’d heard at an AA meet­ing. He said the sub­ject be­ing dis­cussed at the meet­ing was what it felt like hav­ing that “very first drink.” One of the mem­bers stood up and said, “It was like some­one switched a light on in my head, and I said to my­self, ‘So that’s what it’s like to feel nor­mal!’” This is why it is im­per­a­tive that fam­i­lies with a his­tory of ad­dic­tion make their chil­dren aware of it and clearly un­der­stand why it’s im­por­tant they avoid ad­dic­tive sub­stances even if their friends are in­dulging.

Dear Abby: My hus­band is ob­sessed with his per­sonal elec­tronic de­vices and in­sists on us­ing one most of the time. He gets an­gry if I ask him to stop even for a short time. But the worst part is, he rou­tinely takes his tablet into the bath­room with him for ex­tended pe­ri­ods. And no, he does not san­i­tize the tablet af­ter­ward — or ever, for that mat­ter.

Please help, be­cause he won’t lis­ten to me. — Grossed Out in New Mexico

Dear Grossed Out: Be­cause your hus­band gets an­gry when you ask him to put his elec­tron­ics down, it ap­pears he may have an ob­ses­sion. Not only is what he’s do­ing rude, but it isn’t healthy for your mar­riage be­cause com­mu­ni­ca­tion is im­por­tant be­tween spouses. When he takes his tablet into the bath­room “for a long time,” could he be view­ing or tex­ting things he wants to keep from you?

As to his hy­giene habits, smart­phones and tablets can be more un­hy­gienic than toi­let seats if they’re used for “toi­let tex­ting.” The user’s hands should be washed af­ter­ward, and the de­vice should be dis­in­fected, too — par­tic­u­larly if it will be in con­tact with the user’s face.

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