Posted by: laughs4dads | March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

So, um, let’s see.  What parenting topic can I possibly associate with St. Patrick’s Day?

How about a green theme, with environmentally-friendly parenting tips?   Yeah, right.  I have a better idea: Let’s talk about drinking.

When I was growing up, it was legal to drink at 18, but we didn’t have the money to do it well.  So we ended up passing around bottles of Boone’s Farm and cheap San Gria.

Today, in my upscale suburban neighborhood, most of the kids have money for the good stuff, but they have to wait an extra three years.

Once again, “Yeah, right.”

When Casey turned 21, she and her friends made a big deal out of it.  They entered a bar at precisely midnight on her birthday.  Casey was terribly disappointed that she wasn’t asked for ID now that she actually had one.

Of course, racing out to a bar to inaugurate legal drinking age is similar to a couple that has been living together for a year making a huge thing of their wedding night.  New negligee, maybe, but it’s mostly been done before.

Casey discovered drinking pretty late.  She discovered something else at the same time.  She was pretty bad at it.

Like a color blind interior decorator, she had no idea what went with what.  Coke and Vodka?  Sure.  Didn’t make much difference anyway.  It took about three sips for her to get plastered.

She hasn’t gotten much better.  But she never drinks and drives.  Which brings me to an aspect of parenting that I believe began with my generation of parents.

For pretty much the first time, a lot of us didn’t tell our kids what they shouldn’t do.  Instead, we told them how to better do what they shouldn’t do.

So, we didn’t tell them not to have sex; we told them to use condoms.  We didn’t tell them not to drink; we told them not to drive afterwards.  We didn’t tell them not to use marijuana; we told them to let us know when they had some extra.

Okay, I’m kidding about the last one.  But the point is, we made a radical departure from previous generations in that we didn’t try to proscribe things that our kids were going to do anyway.  We knew that they, like every child in the history of the world, would exercise horrible judgement from time to time.

We just wanted to help them survive it.

And, of course, they followed our advice.

Yeah, right.

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