Barhite: Why didn’t I drink in high school? My mom explains.Written by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
I didn’t drink when I was in high school.
I didn’t drink excessively in college either, although I enjoyed a drink here or there – and yes, before I turned 21.
I felt compelled to tell my mom this when I finished writing the Oct. 20th story “Sober Truths.”
I wasn’t sure if she knew my drinking history, or lack thereof. My story about underage consumption in high school revealed that parents usually don’t know their teens are drinking.
My mom didn’t seem surprised. She just nodded and said, “OK.”
I was like, “How did you know? Why didn’t I party like so many other teens?”
Her answer was enlightening – and perhaps might be used as a lesson for other parents.
My mom said there wasn’t a lot of alcohol in our house. We never saw her and my dad get drunk. She also made a point to speak openly about alcoholism running in our family. A relative died of complications from alcohol-poisoning.
It made an impact; none of my sisters drank in high school either.
“It is all about setting an example,” she said.
Jon of Perrysburg read my story and wrote me an email.
“I have carefully read everything published on this story. There is one major influence I have not seen addressed which is: “Are there alcoholic beverages of any kind in the house and being consumed on a regular basis by the adults in the house?”
Jon said that is a major part on the problem.
“There is no alcohol in our house and not being consumed by either my wife or me. Even so our son does drink beer on rare times.”
Some of the teens I interviewed shared similar stories about their parents not getting wasted in front of them.
Kristen and Kelsi Berry of Ottawa Hills spoke out against underage drinking in my story. They said it helps that their parents’ lives don’t revolve around alcohol at every meal or party. They see them occasionally drink a glass of wine, but their parents don’t make a big deal out of it. Drinking doesn’t seem that special.
“They don’t go overboard, Kristen said. “I don’t see anything cool about it when they drink,”
Kristen said: “If you just see your parents occasionally enjoying it, you don’t think you need to have 12 at once.”
I think Kristen might be right. I never saw my parents drink a lot. It seemed like something that was enjoyable, but not absolutely necessary.
As Kelsi said, “It is 21 years of your life where you aren’t supposed to do it and then you have the rest of your life to do whatever you want. Why can’t you just wait?”