Drinking in front of your parents

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By: Amari Jacks

“Could I have a Mai Tai please?,” I said.

“Sure.  Could I see your I.D.?,” said the waitress.

“Yeah, here ya go,” I said.

This was the very first time I ordered a drink in the presence of both my parents.  My mom gave me a judgmental look, while my dad gave me a nod of approval.

It felt strange ordering a drink in front of them, but I felt like a grown-up.  Like I can literally do what all adults do now.  I don’t have to sneak around and ask someone else to purchase alcohol for me.

Some parents are traumatized at the thought of their now legal-aged son or daughter drinking in their presence.  My mom is definitely one of those parents.

My 21st birthday landed on a Wednesday, so I celebrated by going to a happy hour at Primanti’s. She called me before I went out with my friends, and I could hear the disappointment in her voice once I told her my plans for my birthday evening.

“Okay, just don’t drink too much.”  “Remember, you have class tomorrow.”  These were a few of the things she said to me in a five-minute phone lecture.

She already knew that I drank alcohol before I was 21, and she wasn’t that “cool parent” most of my friends had.  My friend’s parents didn’t care if their child drank in front of them, whether underage or not.  Only God knows what was going through my mom’s head concerning what drinking activities I would partake in once I was of legal drinking age.

It seemed like all my friend’s parents would let their underage children drink in front of them.  And if they didn’t, they at least supplied the alcohol for them.

As for my dad, he wasn’t fond of underage drinking, but he was just as excited for me to turn 21 as I was.  In fact, he called me after I returned to my apartment from my happy hour celebration just to hear what I had to drink.  He even got super excited when I told him a Long Island Iced Tea (LIIT) was my first legal drink and one of my favorites!

“What else did you have to drink, sweetheart?”  “You and I have to have a LIIT together when you come home for Thanksgiving break,” he said.

Clearly, I have parents who are on two different pages regarding me drinking.  But when is it ever appropriate to drink in front of your parents?

Our parents always seem to envision us as their little babies who they brought into the world just moments ago.

I guess seeing us legally grab a drink shows our true growth, and it still hasn’t set in for them.

There’s never really a right age to drink in front of your parents, because they each have their own preferences.  You just need to figure out what works both for you and for them regarding drinking. We’ll always be their baby, but they’ll have to be comfortable with the idea of us drinking sometime soon.


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