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"Why I buy alcohol for my teenage daughter"

Yes, I will allow my 16 year old daughter to drink alcohol. Not only do I allow it, I will buy alcohol for her if she asks me to.

Is that irresponsible of me? Perhaps it is.

Here’s what I know. It doesn’t matter what I say or what steps I take to prevent it, my 16-year-old daughter will drink alcohol before she turns 18.

How do I know she’ll drink before she’s legally allowed to? Because I don’t have my head buried in the sand. Because I did it. Because my mother before me did. And more than likely, you did too. I also smoked (read: bum-puffed) cigarettes and tried marijuana before I turned 18 and I am almost certain that my daughter will experiment with these too.

I had my first experience with alcohol when I was 15 and my mother most definitely did NOT buy it for me. In fact, I think to this day she is still under the impression that I had my first sip of vodka on my 18th birthday. My 'first time' was arranged and executed by my brother’s then girlfriend, with his express permission. What her motives were, I'm not entirely sure, but she being over 18, took myself and another mutual friend to the local bottle shop where I picked out a bottle of Malibu. Without going into too much detail, just know that after that night, I still can't smell coconut oil without getting the sweats.

In hindsight, it was a very stupid and dangerous thing to do. I drank so much Malibu (apparently I was drinking it straight by the end of the night) that I passed out and vomited on myself. I can’t tell you anything else about that night because it’s all a black hole for me after the 2nd drink. Now taking away the fact that my brother's girlfriend may not have realised my tolerance for alcohol would be so low, she probably wasn’t looking out for signs of me choking on my own vomit either.

It wasn’t what you'd call an optimal first experience with alcohol but it certainly didn't stop me. There were more, sometimes equally as bad, variations on that night. There were many times where I'd "stay at my friends house" overnight which was really code for dress up in fuck-off heels and a mini skirt, scam my way into a bar, drink vodka and pash random strangers.

One night, the last thing I remember was agreeing to get in a cab when walking home, alone, in the dark. I don’t know if something happened to me that night or not.

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And these are exactly the sorts of experiences  I I DON’T want my daughter to have.

This is why I've told her she is allowed to drink alcohol now. At 16. All she has to do is ask. Because the thing is, we all know if we make anything in a teenager's life taboo, it just intensifies their want for it more.

Recently, probably over the last 6 months or so, my daughter has started getting invited to parties that are held at houses where parents are “around” but conveniently, not visible. There are both boys and girls in attendance and while these parties are quite large, they aren’t exactly on a Corey Worthington scale.

She told me that one of her friends had brought along three Bacardi Breezers to the last party they last went to (which is quite the step up from the Passion Pop). I know this friend, I like this friend, she’s a good girl and I wasn’t in any way disappointed to hear that she’d brought some with her in a backpack and drunk them under the stairs with their other friend. But weirdly, my daughter was, to the point of being angry with her friend.

She maintains, even though I keep the offer firmly on the table and open ended, that she doesn’t wish to try alcohol, that it’s in the fridge any time she wants and if she really wanted to, she would have by now. Plus she said, and I quote “I’ve seen what it does to you and dad, I don’t want to be like you”. I’m not entirely sure what she means by that but there was that one time we were on Easter Bunny duty rather inebriated.

But here’s the universal truth we know about booze as adults, that she doesn’t know just yet. Alcohol is a great social lubricator. I’m sure we can all agree with the right amount we all feel profound, witty, smarter and just generally, more able to interact with others. So she will drink, of this I have no doubt. I am also not saying that by simply offering her booze and being "cool" about it means that she's not going to go out and get totally shit-hammered and do stupid things in her life. I’m just saying that right now, I’m not giving her a reason to do in spite of me. Or as a teenage rebellion.

What about you? Do you or would you, allow your underage teenager to drink? If you have, has taking this tack worked or backfired?

 The author of this post is known to Debrief Daily but has chosen to remain anonymous. 

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