Posted in Insight, Teens, Underage Drinking & more

Bribery & Punishment & Bears, oh my!

It occurs to me that there is one road I have not pursued in relationship to my teenage son’s proclamation that he wants to drink and do drugs: PUNISHMENT.

That probably seems lame. Not lame to punish, but lame that I never thought of punishment as a viable option. I decide to do some research to develop my arsenal, and I am surprised to find that when I search  “best punishments for teens,” there is plenty to mine!

This was not true when I googled ways of talking with a teen who wants to be honest about drinking and drug use.


Very interesting.

It’s said that you can tell a lot about a society by their prison system, but I think this search is just as revealing, as are the names of the sites with punishment tips:

  • Parenting Squad
  • Super Nanny
  • Troubled Teens
  • Teen Boot Camp

People are actually searching for this stuff, like this person who asked:

What is the best punishment for a teenage dad?

On my own blog, a parent suggests that I do drug testing on my son to make certain he’s clean. While another shares that they use motion sensors in their home to keep their teens in at night.

Something’s wrong.

There’s an elephant in the livingroom.

The emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.

Before my search on punishment, I tried bribery; but to my son’s credit, he’s dismissed it. Even a car. (Shocking.)

“I wouldn’t feel right doing that,” he says.

Of course, we’ve simultaneously released every bear we can think of--all the tragic stories of loved ones lost to death or addiction or deadening of dreams.

As a last option, I would use punishment if I thought it would be effective; But then I’d have to spend my days in suspicion in order to catch my son in crime so that I can punish him. That seems like a lousy end to what has been a integrity-full relationship.

So I’m going to keep my eyes there–on integrity; on right relationship–and let that inform the way (though I’m not above mentioning the arsenal of punishments out there or trying a few more times with the car.)

Kelly Salasin, November 2011

for more on teens and underage drinking etc, click here

Posted in Fragile Life, Insight, Takes a Village, Teens, Underage Drinking & more

Just Say No (More)–a guest post

(Blog note: I visited a vineyard when I was home in NJ, and later saw Manager Kevin’s Celli’s post which I shared with my teenage son. Kevin’s transparency is compelling, not only because he runs a winery, but because he lives in a resort community where binge drinking is the norm–for all ages.  Kevin kindly allowed me to reprint his Facebook post here.)

The Feast of February Wine Festival, 2010; Natali Vineyard website

by Kevin Celli, Farm Director at Willow Creek Winery

So Amy Winehouse had no drugs in her system and died from TOO MUCH ALCOHOL at 27 years old! The only good thing is she didn’t kill anyone else by drunk driving or acts of violence during her moments of abuse. Let it be known that I am not a huge Winehouse fan and probably know maybe 2 or 3 songs of hers, but I do know the sad side of alcoholism and my heart goes out to her family and friends who lost someone they love.

Growing up in a family & in a neighborhood where alcoholism runs deep and being exposed to alcohol at a very young age, I have gone through many painful tragic situations in life due to alcohol abuse.  Everything from simple embarrassments of family members (including myself) too many tragic deaths do to alcohol abuse and even a couple friends I will never see again because they just had a “couple” of drinks before they got behind the wheel of an automobile or got on a motor cycle and will never be here to laugh with again…

During my childhood alcohol was everywhere and  I spent my youth, 15-19 years old, trying to pretend to be an adult and drinking 40’s (and anything alcohol we could get a hold of) in the park every weekend and even some school nights. Until a tragic situation in my life took place and I  went of the deep end for a while in an all out campaign of trying to stay NUMB to the world around me.

But I slowly regrouped and became more focused on this gift called life and worked on a healthy future for me and my daughter. I spent ages 23-27 as pretty much a non drinker and developed almost a hatred for those that drank… But then about 5 years ago started drinking again–even harder than ever before–drinking almost every night that I did not have my daughter.

For about 2 years I really thought Jack Daniels was my best friend, but then I realized after about 2 years of being a complete idiot that JD was the complete opposite. I was not only destroying myself but also bringing more heartache to the people that loved me while slowly becoming the man I always swore I would not become.

So in realizing I was no better than any of my family members, friends or associates dealing with any kind of addiction, I slowly started pulling my self together and stopped being so prideful in pretending to be something I was not; and I started accepting that a problem lived within my genes, and I must never forget it.

Now I run a Winery that produces 22,000 bottles of wine a year. When I first started running this business I was a little scared and felt that my alcoholic genes would kick in and I would slowly begin to destroy myself again. But I refused to let that happen and instead became intrigued with the history, beauty in farming a vineyard, the wine making process and the enjoyment of consumption in moderation. Not to mention the healthy benefits that are being proven each day with science.

The amount of love that it takes to make one bottle of wine is overwhelming and I just hope that our generation of the “30” and up crowd understand that we MUST teach our children about alcoholism prevention and the fact that alcohol consumption (in moderation) is not a bad thing, and actually has some healthy benefits; while binge drinking or abusive consumption not only leads to the destruction of your mind, body and soul, but also turns you into someone that is NOT in control of the life around them, which can truly lead to disaster and destruction to other people’s lives as well as their own.

There is a fine line between enjoyment and addiction and as parents we must not teach the slogans of the 80’s by saying “JUST SAY NO!” We need to teach them why and when they should just Say “No” or at least when to say “NO MORE!”

Posted in Insight, Milestone Moments, Nuts & Bolts, Takes a Village, Teens, Underage Drinking & more, Wisdom of Youth

Right Relationship

When I posted that my teenager was ready to drink and smoke pot, readers offered all kinds of helpful suggestions, including one adamant woman who wrote: “NO, DON’T DO IT!”

Her clarion call continued:

Be the level headed pure kid who saves the others… the thoughtful clear-headed guy that makes the difference. The one who is sober and can be the designated driver, the one who does CPR on their friend when they have stopped breathing because they have overdosed on something they didn’t realize would affect them LIKE THAT… and be the one who has enough wits to figure out how or when to call 911 so their friend doesn’t die this one time because you were smart enough to notice that something just doesn’t or didn’t seem right and that something is life-threatening!

Other readers complimented my teenager’s honesty and our family’s openness; while professionals shared the statistics and the risks and the undesired outcomes. One mother took us in a completely different direction with hard-earned wisdom:

“Let go, and trust.”

A lone father chimed in suggesting that we explore both the dark and the light side of partying in order to get after, what my son was after, in making these choices.

Our family’s practice of non-violent communication (NVC) allowed us to do just that. Months ago when he made the proclamation that he was thinking about drinking, NVC enabled us put aside our agendas–to explore each of our needs.

I so clearly felt his need for fun and connection and exploration that I almost ran out and bought the booze myself.

He so fully heard my need for safety and responsibility and respect that he appeared defeated in his desires.

It was then that I realized how important this was to him.  Not just the partying, but the relationship.

As the months passed and his desire to explore intensified, I noticed that his need to stay in right relationship with us was competing with his need to stay in right relationship with himself.

As far as I can tell, we are approaching the break. The place where he chooses self over family so that he can move on to create his own life.

As a parent, I have to support that drive. The tricky part will be managing right relationship with myself as he begins to make choices without me.

Kelly Salasin, November 2011

To read more about parenting teens, click here.