Talking to parents hosting parties

David Sheff, award-winning writer, discusses the importance of parents communicating with each other to protect any kids involved with possibly dangerous scenarios, such as parties with alcohol and drugs, overdosing, or driving under the influence.
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Talking to parents hosting parties

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When our kids are starting to separate from us, it's really scary. Our kids all of a sudden have a life, and we're not able to supervise them all the time. But they're still our kids. And they're still too young in some cases to be able to make decisions. And we want them to be supervised. So parents have to work together. And one of the ways we do it is to talk to each other. So if my teenage kids, when they were going to go to spend the night at someone else's house, I talked to the parent first, because I wanted to make sure they were going to be safe. I wanted to make sure there was going to be a parent home, and I wanted to make sure that their values reflected mine, because there are some parents who think it's okay to have their kids have friends over and they're all drinking beer and getting high. And it's a choice. If I didn't care about that, then maybe I'd say, it's okay. That's cool. You can go spend the night with your friend. But I did care about it. And so my decision would be I'm sorry, but you can't do that. They can come spend the night here. I know it's maybe not so cool, because I'm not going to let anybody get high. But all those things we worry about. We wrestle with and we wrestle with even the messages - first of all we wrestle with our kids' safety. The second thing we wrestle with is the message that we're giving our kids. So if we're really concerned about having them in situations where people are going to be using, then we want to do everything we can, first of all to protect them so that doesn't happen. But the other thing is we're communicating. So if we're calling up their friends' parents, we're telling them that it is not okay with us. And we are also in a way helping this group of kids, because a lot of parents don't know what to do. And when they're called by another parent, all of a sudden they realize, oh, I'm responsible for these kids at my house tonight. It affects their behavior. And suddenly they look at things differently. And also, by the way, parents need to know that in most places, they're legally responsible. If kids are getting high at their house and somebody gets hurt, if somebody overdoses, if somebody gets in a car and drives, parents can be sued and arrested. So we're legally responsible as well as morally responsible. So it's really important to realize. It's kind of this cliché thing, but it takes a village. We can't be alone. We have to work with other parents. In some places and communities, parents are actually getting together. If our five kids are hanging out, let's get together and have coffee and talk about this. What are we going to do? How do you feel about this? How can we deal with this? When my kids are at your house, is it okay? Am I going to feel safe? So we have to do the best we can.
TEEN, Substance Use, Alcohol Use

David Sheff, award-winning writer, discusses the importance of parents communicating with each other to protect any kids involved with possibly dangerous scenarios, such as parties with alcohol and drugs, overdosing, or driving under the influence.

Transcript

Expert Bio

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David Sheff

Writer

David Sheff is the author of Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy, the follow-up to his New York Times #1 bestseller, Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s AddictionClean is the result of the years Sheff spent investigating the disease of addiction and America’s drug problem, which he sees as the greatest public-health challenge of our time.

Beautiful Boy was based on Sheff’s article, “My Addicted Son,” which appeared in the New York Times Magazine and won an award from the American Psychological Association for “outstanding contribution to the understanding of addiction.”  It was named the nonfiction book of the year by Entertainment Weekly.  

Named to the Time 100, Time Magazine’s list of the World’s Most Influential People, Sheff also won the 2013 College of Problems on Drug Dependence Media Award. Sanjay Gupta, MD, said, "As a clear-eyed chronicler of addiction, David is without peer.”

More Parenting Videos from David Sheff >
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