Child Suspended for Drinking.

Child Suspended for Drinking.

You get a phone call from the principal telling you to pick up your drunken teenager from school and he informs you he is now suspended for 3 weeks. He has been drinking. What do you do?

One of your major parenting roles is to be there to help your children when they are struggling, to teach them what to do, what not to do, however, our job is not to take our children out of the situations they get themselves into.  Our job is to coach and teach what they must learn as they go through the tough struggles, whether those struggles are caused by their own actions or not.

Some things will happen that are beyond their control and although we as parents sometimes think we should fix the issue for them, most of the time our job is just to be there with them and help them through it. At other times, they will go through a circumstance that was a direct consequence of their actions. For these issues, you must not fix it for them because they will learn the most by allowing them to live with the consequences of their actions. Your job at this point is just to be a support person, someone to lean on and come to for advice, but do not fix it for them.  They will not learn and they will keep making the same mistakes if you do that.

In this situation I did not plead with the school to let him come back, I did not even try and get his homework for him so he could try and stay caught up.  When my son and I talked these are the things I explained to him.

  1. You will now need to find a way to stay caught up in the classes you are missing without my assistance in any way or fail those classes this year which will then mean you need to take summer school.
  2. Being home for 3 weeks,  the same rule applies as it does in the summertime.  Being home means more chores.
  3. You have all privileges taken away including being able to go out, get drives to work, (made him walk as it was close enough to home) nor allowed him to have friends over.

Giving an additional consequence is not always a good idea, however, in this case, I felt the situation was dire enough that him losing privileges would also ensure he had time on his hands to get extra homework done while keeping him out of the influences of his friends who were drinkers.

Although we do have to take each situation on an individual basis to decide what would be the best course of action we need to always keep in mind that what they learn from having to deal with their own issues will be more valuable.  We don’t want our kids to hate us and so that fear will tend to lead us to ‘assist’ them when we ought to be leaving well enough alone and letting them deal with their stuff.  Hard to do but it is so worth it in the long run.