Pausing To Reflect with Lisa Foster
Feb. 22, 2022

Drinks Anyone? How To Deal With Drinking And Partying

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In this week’s episode, join me for an insightful conversation with my childhood friend, Keri Wagner. Registered Nurse and mother of three teenagers, we candidly address every parents anxiety topic…drinking. Keri and I discuss our fears about our kids going to parties and how to maintain open communication with them as we navigate through these difficult years as our children pivot to young adulthood. Don’t forget to visit the Real Life Momz Facebook group where we can continue talking about this topic and sharing stories. Don't forget to follow Real Life Momz so you don't miss an episode. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.


Hi, Keri welcome to Real Life Momz and so happy to have you today.

Same here, I'm happy to be here.

And this topic is important to me. In fact, it's kind of funny. My daughter, when I told her I was going to do a podcast, she's like, mom, talk about real things like drinking and parties. And I was like, okay. And then it made me really think like, oh my God, like I have to really think about this. Cause this is the phase I'm headed into. And I know you have three kids, two teens and one in college. So I just thought you'd be an awesome person to have this conversation with.

It's a good one because it really does sneak up on you, you know, within five seconds they go from being, you know, preteens, and they're asking you questions and doing everything to that question that says, can I go to the party when all of a sudden you pause and go wait, you know, one party can have almost everything you just mentioned or none of it, you know, like it really, there are, I mean, as funny as this topic is what I've learned, having a he'll be 19 on Tuesday, um, is some parties are still, uh, they're playing Pokemon until two in the morning.

Um, that other parties you are concerned with and you don't know the people and it's not people you've heard about and where you and your child are in terms of communication and trust and you know, their comfort level and your comfort level. And it's not easy and it doesn't work perfectly. So it's sort of an adventure, I think. And you bring up.

Well, good point because yes, I think a lot of kids are still going and renting movies. And even though they're in a bunch, they're, they're doing innocent things, right? So let's all just keep that out there. It might be playing Pokemon and be watching chick flicks or whatever they're doing. And it's really innocent still. And I think there is a lot of that, but on the other hand, there's, there is this other side that I think we all have to kinda talk about, you know? And there was, I was thinking about it, like when I was a kid, you know, I was thinking what my parents did.

 My parent's approach to, I think drinking and drugs and whatever else there was, was just like, that's bad. Don't do it like not a really huge conversation.

It was just like, you know, they kind of scared you a little bit. And they just basically said, no, you don't do it. And that was really it. I don't remember any real conversation, you know, and granted I was a good kid. I really, I was like, don't do it. Okay. You know, and I, and I think, I think also at school, I also remember all those, like students against drunk driving stuff. And they would show you the scary drunk driver movie at school with a broken car and like dead bodies. Right. And you walked away from that going okay. That I don't want to do that.

So that freaked me out too. I felt like that was another way to keep me from actually going out and drinking and doing something wrong. What about you? What was your parents' input?

Uh, well, my mother was for everything, no matter what it was was if you do that, you'll die. If you do that, you'll die.   But it is funny though, because you know, I definitely, with the kids decided I wasn't going to do that. I wasn't, you know, I am not my children's best friends. I'm not, you know, I'm not that kind of parent, I am their parent. Um, but I did want to be able to open lines of communication early on with lots of things, you know, no matter what it was. And, uh, I had a really unique situation sort of present itself when he was, um, about 10 or 11, you know, I, I, a nurse practitioner, I work with lung cancer patients and, uh, we went to a lacrosse tournament and the kids were pretty young and, um, he kept coming down to sit by me and I was like, what is going on?

All your friends are here. We were in a hotel, they were goofing around. And he finally pulled me aside and said, there's a couple of kids that are vaping. Oh yeah. And I was like, oh. And he was like, I'm very uncomfortable with it and whatever. So it was like almost this uniquely positive experience, you know, like, so he came to me because I think I've been jammed down their throat smoking so long that it really allowed him to open that door. And he came to me and I, it was, it was really great. It was, but it was, it, it allowed us to sort of open a door to uncomfortable situations and friends.

You know, these are kids that they've been together since they were four and five years old playing on, you know, the different sports teams throughout the years. They've known each other forever.

You know, some were real mild and some were really silly and wild and some were trying things and others were not, and he was uncomfortable and removed himself. And, and I found that he did that with a lot of things and I was like, well, that's really great. And that stays really great for a little bit until you start to worry about if they're removing themselves in these challenging situations, what are they going to do when they have to be in a situation when there isn't an escape mom's not there, or right. Or he's in college friends that are trying something.

And so it goes from being like, wow, it will, at least for me, I should say, it goes from, I had this great experience with him. And I came home and said to my husband, like, oh my God, this, we did it.

And he's talking to us, you know, like, um, and then, and then, you know, fast forward a year or two in your life, easy isolating himself. Is he going to, you know, not have any experience because he's fearful, which wasn't the case. But I think his parents, you know, that's what we, our brain goes to every direction. Right. We go from like zero to 60. Right. We're so happy. They're not doing anything. Why are they not doing anything? Yeah, I will say with my son, um, he and I have always had a really nice, we've always been able to talk.

We've had some of the weirdest conversations we get in the Jeep. He looks out one window, I look out the other and we're able to have like some of the harder conversations, um, with my daughters, that's a little bit different. Like the dynamics are different.

I have to capture moments with them and do things. So I was thinking about, we would think about drunk driving, right. And then, and we would weigh that into people. And, and it's funny. Um, cause you know, my husband is a police officer and so he has been talking to them about breaking the law and drunk driving and all this stuff forever. But I realized very early around here anyway, um, a lot of the parents put Uber on the kids' phones, like 15, 16 year old kids.

And I was like, oh, I'm not, I'm not, I'm not okay with that. You know, like, so there's like a little beach, um, in the neighborhood that there's constantly kids on it, you know, and they're drinking and doing whatever. And I was like, wow. Now they're like just Ubering their way to some party or some beach.

So, you know, a little piece of you is like, I get the idea that they won't have to struggle with drunk driving, which is a good thing. Um, but it also felt really permissive to me, like, yeah, not a big deal. You have a ride home. And then I was like, wow. I mean, it's really no different than carpooling or one of us, you know, like picking them up. Yeah. But it just, I don't know, to me, it just felt so creepy. It was like one of, uh, one of those, another one of those things I talked to him about. I'm like, oh, does anyone have Uber on their phone? It's like, I don't know.

You know?

Right. But Uber makes me nervous too. Or Lyft because now you have someone under the influence, possibly getting into a stranger's car. Young. I mean they're 15, 16 years old. I don't, I actually don't like my 15 year old Ubering, you know, I just don't, I'm not ready for that. I'd rather just say, you know, we talked to our daughter, our daughter's more in this age and then our son, although let me, let me tell you, he's come up with some humdingers of questions about drugs lately. So it's interesting that he's even like asking, but I'm glad it's open, but you know, for her, I don't love the Ubering.

Um, so I said to her, listen, you know, if you're in a situation, we will pick you up. No questions asked. We will take your friends home. You will be safe and that's that.

But then I thought about it after I said that, of course I will do that. But then it's like, well, what is my responsibility next? Okay. My daughter now is home safely. Her friends are home safely, but what, you know, like, I don't want to destroy this communication because if they're going to do it, they're going to do it. Right. They're going to do it anyway. If I have the door open, then now we can talk about it. But I also don't want to say, Hey, go get drunk, have a good time. Mom's going to drive. You,.

Drop your friends.

 I definitely don't look to be the cool mom. Cause I know that is not happening. What is my responsibility to a, like, you know, tell the friends, parents that, Hey, you know, I drove your kid home. They happened to be drunk. She she know without also overstepping the boundary of your child who I said, oh, I would pick you up no matter what I want you safe. Like, I feel like this is like a line.

I don't know how to dance across. Yeah. And I think, you know, I don't think there's a great answer to it. I mean, I think if you find yourself in a one-off situation, I know I've heard it. You know, there were supposed to be six kids together. Now there's 50. And, and I get a call that says can you come and get us because I'm not comfortable in this? Or, you know, I have had one where I got a call and um, he said, look, can you pick me up? Kids are fighting, you know, and we wanna, we want to leave. And so I got there and I picked the couple of kids up there.

Couple of them definitely had been drinking. I dropped them. But in that instance, I didn't circle back to parents because they were in a dangerous situation and they needed an out.

And to your exact point, I felt like they reached out, we got them away from a situation that, you know, like those were outweighing it, you know? So did he and I have a conversation, did I? I did ask those things like, Hey, I looked like so-and-so had been drinking. Is this a one-off? Is there an issue? And you know, you know, I hadn't found my son. I think if I found myself in that situation more than one time, I would feel compelled to say something, you know, like same kids. Yeah. You know, like, right.

Just so you know, it's the second time and so-and-so's in the car and I've now experienced this more than once I would. But I mean, talking to other parents is a weird thing. Even when it's not about that, you know, like, yeah. I can think of an experience that my oldest had, which I thought was the most positive experience ever.

There was a kid at their lunch table. He looked like he was on something. It was my son and another boy. And they were concerned. He was acting strange. And so they were talking to him. They really were like, I think you need to see the nurse something's wrong. And um, they sort of encouraged him to go to the nurse. So his, they, they convinced him to go to the nurse and um, and they ended up bringing him to the hospital and the cops came and they, you know, he had taken something that was not what it was supposed to be.

And I came home and you know, I got in the car and I picked up three boys and my son and I got in the car and I, I had no idea this had happened. And I said, how'd the day go? And they're like, the cops are here.

They arrested somebody. And you know, so-and-so until the hospital, I was like, whoa, what just happened? And then I was in the car with all of these boys. They're probably 16. Maybe they were maybe 10th grade. And um, each one of them was talking about the lessons that their parents had said. Like, so some of them were really funny. Like, you know, my mom said, if I ever try drugs, she'll take my camera away. Cause he loved photography. And another one was like, oh, well my dad will just kill me. You know? And my mom said this and you know, it was this really great conversation they were having that I was privy to.

Yeah. Just listening to. So I took the opportunity to call all of those parents and say like, I'm not sure if you heard what happened at school. But I was in, you know, I drove the boys home and I overheard their conversations.

They were such nice conversations. They really spoke to the things you put in place in a very humorous fashion. And this is probably a great opportunity to open that line of conversation. Um, I know I'm going to do that. And then I also called the mom of the other boy and then I had the strangest thing happened, you know, I was like, wow, amazing. That was so unbelievable that, that, that your son did this for this kid and how thoughtful and caring and, and she was horrified. Now he's a narc and no one's going to talk to, I was like, what is happening?

Like, so, oh, it was so weird, you know? And I was like, I don't understand, like, this is, you should be so proud of what they did. You know, like they really, they could have walked away. They could have done whatever who knows what would've happened to that kid. And maybe someone else will not be in the same situation because of what they did. And she was not happy. She felt that he told.

On that, he told on him by bringing him to the nurse,.

But he didn't even know what was wrong with him, you know, just.

Sick. Yeah. So, you know, funny situation. But I think that's another thing, you know, what is important to you? Isn't always important for every other family and, and some conversations that seem, you know, challenging or hard are unbelievable. I mean, I would want someone to call me, you know, if they saw any of my kids doing something, even if it wasn't what it was, I would love the opportunity to know, or to be able to try and at least figure out what it was, you know? But yeah.

And I, I think the problem I struggle with and I agree with you, yes. I would like to hear, my kid is doing something I would like to hear and it would be more because then I can open a conversation with my child. But the, my, my worry, I think is if I have a really good conversation with my child if we talk about these types of things, and maybe she's very open about what she is doing, who's trying what, or when I go and I turn and I say to another parent or someone else kind of information that I got maybe from my child, all of a sudden that trust and communication kinda is broken.

And then how do you not break that trust so that you can keep an open communication? I think it's one thing when you actually physically are picking up people and you have somebody in your backseat throwing up and you bring that kid home and you say, Hey, you know what your kid I did pick him up from the party seems quite sick. You know, you might want to have a conversation, you know, whatever, you know, when you're actually there. And then it's another thing when your child might be even opening up to you about what's going on and having conversations so that you find out more, then all of a sudden it's like you do have that, that trust because you do want to keep those doors open.

I think that's so important. So it's a, yeah. What do you do? It is.

Well, and it's funny because I've had a few experiences, not always about drinking or drugs, but where, where somebody has shared something. And I will tell you I've, I've, I've tried to help my kids to engage conversations with the kids on some things like I'm concerned about this, or have you talked to your parents about this? Uh, you know, I can tell you with my youngest one she's, she's so good, you know, like, and she's an empath. So like she takes everybody's burden on. And so she'll come to me and, and exactly that at least.

So like she'll say something and you're like, I gotta say something and then she, and then it's like, no, no, no. You know, so, um, you know, obviously nothing the harm, the harmful, or, you know, but the things that you, you know, if you were the parent, you would want to know so that you could sort of have a conversation.

And, uh, I've had a couple of good experiences, other ones where I don't think it was impactful at all, but you know, couple of times like, she's come back and she's like, you know what? I talked to so-and-so and they're going to talk to their mom. And I'm like, oh my God. You know, like, but then you have other moments where they're challenging. I don't know. It's challenging. And it's just like, even parents, you think, you know, really well that they're like, just like you or the ones that you don't like, because you're not always friends with every parent, every kid as they get older, you know?

So you might think somebody is, is very like-minded and then you say something or, you know, reference something and, and it's not good.

I actually love that. I love that. Bringing it back to the child. I do love that because first of all, they're going to listen to each other. You know, I think that peer to peer is very powerful, even more so sometimes than the adult to peer. Right? Yeah. So I like empowering the child to, you know, if there is something that we're maybe more worrisome going back to the child to have them even talk more about it or talk to their parents about it or something.

Yeah. And you have to remember, cause right now they're like, there's not a lot of informed consumers out there, you know? So they get a lot of their information from social media and to talk and Snapchat. And you know, one of the things I think is really great with talking to your kids and, and, and encouraging them to talk to other kids, especially when they're arguing over things. You know, when they're talking about parties, when they're talking about what happens, places like TikTok challenges and things along this line is to try and help them to be better informed consumers.

Right? So we think about informed consumers about buying something, but if they're getting all of their information or the who's who, or what's what, or what's happening from this very disconnected place,, you know, helping them to, to have conversations again, or ask questions about things or challenged, that things that they see it's really, I think that's probably the hardest parenting thing we have right now, because I think if you, you're going to have kids that are really open, you're going to have, kids are a little more pulled back.

And I think every parent from, you know, millions of years before us and millions of years after us, they're going to go, like, I don't know what to do with this one. Right. And other ones are going to go with that one. It's a piece of cake, but this stuff that they're seeing, especially after the last 22 months, that's what they're seeing. You know, like somebody chugged something, somebody takes something, somebody try something. And then, you know, it's glossed over with editing and, and sort of mistruths and right.

And then they become tick-tock famous. They're like eating, I don't know,  tide pods or  whatever.

Which is awful. But, you know, that's where something where every time you look at somebody, somebody holding a drink, somebody holding a cigarette, you know, like we used to, you know, they used to say to us when we were younger, like you're influenced by the movies. Right. But we weren't necessarily influenced like that by the movies. Right, right, right. It wasn't, you know, you can't go to one, two hour movie once a month and then have your whole life altered. But every minute of every second of every day has this person that says you should do this, or don't do this, or be with this or dress like this, or act like this.

And all of a sudden those conversations you have are they, are they having as much value and strengths as the next person? So I think those are the scary ones.

And it's also, they're seeing their own peers in these situations having a great time and they're fine. Right. They seem fine. And okay. So it can't be as bad as it, you know, you're telling me, um, because, my friends are having fun. They're at parties. I want to be at that party too. You know? It's yeah. It's really, really challenging. It's really challenging. So husband being in law enforcement or, you know, was, I should say, right. He's retired. Yay.

Um, what, what kind of conversations did he bring into the house on this topic?

Oddly, there, there was more conversations about like, like he would share news stories or he would share like, uh, things that have happened. Like, so he bothered me in the beginning ways, like he would show pictures of a car crash with four teens died, like bring it up, sit them down and show it to them. Like he.

Did that. That is powerful. Oh really?

But then when it came to like a sit-down, like, are they going to be like, that's where he didn't have strength in it, you know? Like, so I think somewhere, I think it's almost good that we are different in our styles, you know? Yeah. But, you know, he was very, he has a very sort of black and white view of things, but I will tell you as, as my oldest is, is older, you know, I, I got worried, see, this is so crazy. I can't believe I'm saying it out loud, but it was like senior year.

He was now going to parties, but he's not a drinker. So then I was having these moments where I was realizing he's going to go to college and he's not going to be surrounded by his people. Right. So he has this group of friends, they called themselves the council.

They've been friends since they were four, they're everywhere with him. And all of a sudden I kept thinking, my God, if he's going to try alcohol, I think I want him with them. You know, like something happened to him, they would end it and it gets strange. So, you know, Tik TOK, I'm halfway through his senior year and I'm like, Jesus, he kind of try it. You know? And I found myself in the funniest situation because I have a big family. And so, you know, we would get together. And the summer before his senior year, they're like, you got to start drinking now, you know, whatever. And I think it was around Christmas time.

He said to me, the only people that try to get me to drink are my family. I was like, oh my.

We're peer pressuring our oldest so bad.

You know? And I certainly didn't mean it. Like, I'm sure my brothers, you know, were teasing him, but you know, for me, I really certainly didn't want him to, but I really was very fearful that his first, his first outing of, of drinking would be around complete strangers in an uncomfortable place. And it isn't, it isn't how I wanted it to happen, you know? Well, and also,.

And I guess what you can handle. I mean, I think that's the other thing is, um, you know, not knowing what you can handle, if you've never drank anything. And, and we've done that to you. I mean, at a family event, we'll have like wine and we'll say, do you want to try it? You're not here where here this is, you know? Cause if you're just doing it out of curiosity, well, I'd rather be here for the curiosity part. I'm not asking you to go get drunk, but you know, see if you like it or not. This is if you're just trying to just taste it, you know? So we have done that.

Um, my husband, you know, grew up in a different way. Like, you know, where my family was very much like, you don't do it. You yeah. You die kind of thing.

My husband's parents took a different approach with him and he feels, it was like, great. First of all, they did let him try it in front of them too. But they also just gave the whole, we trust you. We trust you to make these good decisions. And we know, you know, what you can handle, I think were the words maybe he says they used. Um, and for some reason, for him that was very empowering because, you know, he didn't want to ever break that trust. So he was like, I always kind of stayed within those limits because I knew, you know, granted he got himself in trouble.

Sure. But like, he pretty much stayed within limits cause he knew. And he also knew that he can count on his family if he needed something. We know when they were young, when he was younger. And so for him, that was very helpful. So I think we try to do a little bit of the, Hey, do too much, you're going to die kind of thing scare a little bit. And also, but, but we trust you and we're there for you. So we kind of bounce between the two I think, but I, you know, we're still very new, so we haven't had to, you know, pick anyone up drunk or anything like that.

Oh, you know what though? It's, isn't a nice the age your husband is and how impactful that was. You know, I I'd like to think at least with my son that that's kind of where we are. Like, there's a lot of trust in it. You know, the, um, you know, I will tell you he's home from college. And, uh, yesterday they were playing, um, they were playing darts in the garage and he had a, uh, a cell, uh, a spiked seltzer with my husband. And I was like, what the heck? You know, what's happened to that before.

Yeah. Yeah. And then I found myself going like, well, what is going on? There is a built trust. And it, it started, you know, very young and, and I, you know, I, I keep every day, you hope that the next day continues to be it because you hear some story, you know, you hear about the kids that was nothing.

And now has an issue with it or a kid that, you know, did this and tried that. And, you know, especially when they're far away and you aren't there. And I think that your husband's point is it's like a really fantastic point. You know, that there is some piece of it as they get older, that there has to be trust in them, you know? And as much as we would love to control everything and we would love to believe that nothing bad will happen and that they have all the tools they need that some aspect of it is day one without us be it, you know, if they stay home for school, it's day one, when they get their first jobs and they move out of their first apartments, if they go away to school, it's younger and they're by themselves and, and surrounded, you know, like now you're surrounded by a bunch of uncomfortable people trying to meet each other, which alcohol helps, you know?


And just like you said, I mean, I'd rather trust my kid and let them experiment almost like try and out when they're still around people like that close group of friends, of your sons or just around family versus being out in the real world. And that's their first, you know, and I will tell you,.

Right, the very end of it was the late spring. So it was, they went skiing. One of the moms took the council to this group of kids that are together. And she said to me, sort of similar conversation like I'm a little terrified that these kids are going to go to college. They're really good kids. They are not triers of things. I take that back one is they try or things. The rest.

It's sometimes nice to have one in the group because they.

Can, she said, I'm going to, um, bring the boys skiing and I'm going to bring spiked seltzers with me. Cause that's, they don't drink. Like right now, it's not like beers or booze. It's really like the seltzers are all the rage. Um, and she was like, I just need to know I'm going to be there, but how do you guys feel about, and I, and I was twisted, uh, you know, my husband immediately goes to police mode and says, you know, like who takes ownership of that and whatever.

And I was like, okay, you know, the boys are, you know, 200, 250 pounds each they're not tinies. And the two seltzers are gonna, you know, if they're going to try it. And I was, I was nervous. And, uh, Ben was funny because he came home and I, she, I didn't tell him, I knew that.

And I, I said, how to go and what's going on. And, and he said, I tried the seltzers, you know, mom, I think they're gross. And I was like, oh, okay. You know, I'm like that, you know, he's like, wow. You know, I thought maybe it was the flavor. Then I think it just might be the drink. I was like, okay. So, you know, as weird as the first experience with it was he offered it up and I knew it was super safe and certainly not real-life.

Yeah. But I, you know, I, I hate, I almost hated knowing, I think I was more nervous and I was nowhere near them then. Um, cause then you wonder, right. Who's the person that's going to have a problem with alcohol. That first taste becomes the, you know, and I think,.

Okay, so that's the other thing, like, you know, so here's a parent buying drinks for obviously kids. Right. Um, and there are parties, you know, like sometimes I'm like, oh, we have a great basement. Right. I would love to let her down in the basement. And so that, like, I know where they are and they're safe, you know, versus having her go somewhere to a party or, you know, where I don't know, like part of me is like, oh, I would love to have them here, but then it's like, I can't provide alcohol. Can I, how can I give alcohol?

And granted in that situation, the parent talked to you. I mean, like that was a whole set up,.

Right? This was, this was a small group of people in a very close thing. But I, I agree with you. I would never, you know, even, even, you know, even now, you know, I do that, I'm not having a party. I'm not having a bunch of people over. And even like the Gregg, the graduation Golan, the graduation parties, the parents were like, whatever, whatever, you know, like I had my, I had, I had Pappy next do the cooler. Like you have to go to Pappy to get drinks.

So nobody touched anything at my house. I was uncomfortable with it. You know, I had said to him, if it means that you have the boring party, then that's fine. Have the boring party go to someone else's, but I'm not taking liability for those kids. And you know, as much as, as you and I are talking right now about, about being very trustworthy.

And I know for my son, he's very shy about this. He's not a big, big into it. He's really, you know, even now where he's had some experience away from me, it's not, it's not really for him too much. And yeah. But still, I, I have seen other kids or I have at least heard of the nightmares of other kids and I'm not taking only, it's hard enough to have the conversations when you, you know them or, but I'm not, I'm going to taking liability for that or for that, but you're right.

There's plenty of parents that do.

Yeah. Yeah. And so, I mean, I mean, they have to get it from somewhere. I think someone has to buy it cause especially in a high school, they definitely don't look old enough. I don't think they have ID. And, and occasionally, you know, I'll hear that there is a party at someone's house and their parents are home and that there is alcohol, you know, not, I don't know if the parents know or not. I'm assuming they might, but, um, but yeah, there is alcohol. So yeah, I feel like that's, that's a whole nother thing right. When the parents are actually supplying it. So I don't know, what's better to have a safe house where parents are around and they can supply or is it better just to be sneaking around or not?

I don't think there's any good one. You know, everybody goes into it with the best intention, you know, I'm sure. I mean, maybe not, maybe there's somebody, that's just like, whatever you do you, but I think for the most part, parents are feeling like that. They are feeling like if it's here and I'm, you know, I can be responsible for it. You know, I think if they're like you the way you and I sort of feel about it, not comfortable having that happen at your house, you know, or the person that's hosting that, you know, I think everybody sort of walks in nobody.

I, you know, nobody walks into it with mal-intent, but I think you think back through your life and the, and the situations that you either you saw or you heard about, and you just don't want your kids to be in those, you know, you try not to judge it.

I mean, I don't, I don't think you can walk out of every situation and not judge it, but I don't walk into something and say like, what do you mean those crazy people at that? You know, like, again, it goes right back to you and your child and, and what they're going to do in that situation. You know, I already told you, you know, for my older one, he spent the very long time running from it, you know? And, um, and then it took him a long time to feel comfortable in those scenarios just to hang out, you know, where like my, my, my other kids, you know, like they're more comfortable around things.

And, but they feel very, they feel very empowered to say, it's not for me, you know? Yes. Yeah. And so I think that that's good.

And I think I have someone like my kid is, I think she knows her limits. And I think she, um, is strong enough to say no, but it also thinks she wants to be, be in it. You know, she's definitely a fear of missing out kind of kiddo and likes to be part of things. Um, so, but, but he is strong enough to say no, if she's really uncomfortable, which is good. Um, but still, I mean, I can see that being like, oh yeah, let's try this. Or, you know, just because, you know, they want to live, they want to live in.

The one I have experiences. Right. And again, if you are taking two years of their young lives, that they have been pretty much trapped in space, you know, that I imagine the way we felt when we went to college. Cause our, our, I, at least for me, my mom's thumb was on my head. I got to college freshman year. I was like, woo. So, but I think they're probably feeling a little bit like that now, you know, like every minute right now is under some aspect of health scrutiny or, you know yeah.

Around a lot of people, you can't be indoors. You can't, you know, like it's just a lot of nos. I know there is a lot of notes, you know, like, and then you certainly don't want to go like, oh, go wild, because it's been so bad, you know, but I do hear it and they've missed too much and wanting to be part of it sounds so normal, you know, but then you're right.

It, it just jump it up. And then you're back again to, you know, I mean, I I'm, I'm telling you, I'm having these conversations with my kids and I'm telling you that knock on wood so far it's been working, but I can also tell you, some of those conversations were horrible, horrible. You know, you go into something, you hear something, you go to bed, you cry, you know, you're not a good parent, you know, like, you know, but I think all those things we do that we worry about, maybe they'll be impactful for a day, you know?

And maybe the next day they're going to make a decision that we don't agree you on or whatever. But as long as we keep our messages, consistency, you know, like kids were saying to them, like, you know, I trust you. And we're saying to them, like, you have to understand that the downsides to this, and you need to know the dangers and you need to know the, you know, but, but there's only going to be, there's only 18 years that we get to decide, right.

Yeah. At 18 years and one day, you know, that, that could theoretically change, you know, like it doesn't for most people, most people, it doesn't, but it could. And I think there's a, it's funny, there was like a sixth grade teacher when my oldest was in sixth grade and she said, sixth grade parents is where you have to start to straighten that apron string or that physical cord and start cutting. And I was like, oh my God, that's six grade. You know, I was like, that's too little. And you know, then she said, you're going to start with us in middle school by doing it with school.

You know, she's like stop looking at the portal and stop telling, asking them what there is and have them start to develop it. And she goes on when they get the high school. Whoa. And I, she was an older woman and you know, she's just old school. And I thought about it and I was like, man, that's probably the smartest thing somebody told me. And she didn't even mean it. She meant for like, don't be, don't call me every day anymore. But it resonated to me in such a good way that I was like, wow, oh my God, they're halfway through their, their whole school life.

And you do have to start to help them to become good adults. You know, you want this.

To be independent. Yeah. They need to start learning some independence. Yeah. I can see that also, you know, now we got the whole pot thing here. That's legal. Right. So that makes it like, kind of like drinking, right. Alcohol's legal marijuana is legal. Um, so that puts another whole thing. And then on top of that, right. They make some of these things look like yummy brownies.

And bears would have.

Candy. Right. So that's a whole thing because my son asked about it the other day. He's like, so what drugs are just like, no, you can't do. And what can you do? You know? And I was like, what? You know, but, um, cause he's in middle school and he's not in any way going to any sort of party or anything, but it already, he's asking. And, and it's true. We had a conversation about how yummy, some of these things look, you know, brownies, you know,.

I know, you know, it's funny, is it true? I never really thought of that. I have to tell you that that is not something that I have yet experienced. The vaping was as close as I came to it because they would, they will, they will vape pot, you know? So that's where I saw that. I, my neighborhood, like my neighborhood is a very normal neighborhood. They've come home from school and said somebody had heroin, heroin still around. You know what I mean?

But you know, like, because think about like, cause these are the things you hear about, um, like the edibles and the, you know, and pod obviously pot's been around forever, but I was thinking about it and I was like, man, that I, I is not something I had. I had no experience with it. I did with the vaping. It definitely did come up. Um, but again, I think I have the benefit of my kids being terrified of lung cancer. So I think anything smoke, smoke related. They're pretty scared of, but I haven't had any really conversation.

So that's kind of a, that's a whole nother one for you. That's a whole nother know. I find myself the same thing. Like what is an edible like, is that I don't know.


Smoke shops and it's like, here's that? I'm like, how's that possible?

I went to, I think I went to my supermarket once. It was like an organic supermarket and I bought, um, honey sticks or something, which I thought were honey sticks, but they weren't, they had like pot numb gave it to my daughter. Cause she had like a sore throat now it's like, huh. Cause then my husband read it and he's like, do you know what this is? I'm like, I just bought it on the checkout counter. Oh, you know like how that probably could happen all the time.

Oh, can I tell you the funniest story about buying something accidental? Oh my God. We went to a little grocery store like that near us and the girls were little, little, little, and they saw these bright colored cans. One was like strawberry something and one was pineapple something. And they were like, oh my God, they were like 40 cans. Like I was so stupid. And they were like, can we take these to lunch? And I was like, of course you can buy them.

And then I go to package them. And then everyone in this grocery store is looking at me and I'm like, I bought like more liquor drinks for my kids. I had no it's near the candy. You don't like,.

Oh, they should not do that. We don't have time to be reading labels when we are in a restroom at the store.

And I was so embarrassed. I was like, I'll take them. And I'm like, oh my God. Now I'm like Drinking mom. I just, I never wanted to run away longer. I was like, oh my God. At least they got, I read it when I was putting it in the packets of school the next.

Day, that would have been awful. Oh my God. Yeah, no.

Well, and it, and it is, it's so scary. And I mean, it, all of it is so scary and I think that's why, why this is a great topic. And I think it's why we, we probably talk too much to our kids because our parents did. Right. Yeah. Um, and that's why I loved when you said that your husband said his parents talked to him. So I was like, all right, maybe we are breaking them, you know, like, yeah. But, um, but I do think that's it. I think we, we didn't have enough conversations when we were younger.

And so our learns were experiments, you know, like the first time you grabbed the drink, it was in hiding. It was no one can know it was, you know, some of us, me, it was, you know, it was in college and, and without an adult or anyone to carry it around, you know? And, uh, and, and you just want that to change. You want that to be something different. So who, who knows, I guess, I guess I'll, I'll find out soon enough where I'm, you know, I'm at 19, so 17 and 16 coming right behind them.

So, you know,.

So it sounds like you're doing a pretty good job because your kids seem to be doing well. So sounds good.

So far, but, uh, you know, the point about a boy is the point, and I think it's that whole point why we try to arm them, you know, arm them with as much education as we can so that they, they can make informed decisions for themselves. You know? Like,.

And then after seeing this movie, I mean, I did this parenting move, which I don't know is actually even good. And to put it out there, but I was so freaked out that I took my kids and I said, listen, guys, um, you know, drugs are, are bad. You know, going back to my mom's drunk. But then I said, some drugs are worse than others. And forgetting one time is all you need and you will be hooked forever. You know, like, this is what I did. So I was kinda like, okay, pot, you know, that's not as bad.

So if you have to try something, let's do that one. Okay. But these are not okay. You will never come out of it again. It messes with your brain. It will not, you know, like I was like into this whole thing, but I was like, seriously traumatized by this.

No, that was it. It is it's. So it's so sad. It's so heartbreaking. And you know what, I'm confident. I probably have said the same thing about drugs. I'm trying to think I really, this.

One's good, but these are.

Bad. Oh God, I'm sure I did it because anytime I heard, I swear we had, we definitely, I definitely heard around something with the heroin because it sticks with me. I'm confident. I probably turned to the kids. Like if you ever do that, you'll die. I pulled out my desk, my mother voice and everything, you know, no conversation, not even whatever, just like, that's it, do you die? But you know, I, and I think that that's, I think that that's probably okay. You know, cause I think, I think deep down, most people know it.

And I think your point of that, not wanting to miss something and whatever, um, at least if they're, if they are able to do that with something more manageable and safe and.

Safer yeah. At.

Least go sky diving. If you need the rush.

Yeah. I know. Oh goodness. That could be dangerous in itself. A fun.

Class. Right.

Do whatever I know this is a, this is a very difficult topic and I definitely am putting this out there to all the listeners that, you know, I'd love to hear any insight into anyone's experience, you know? Um, because I know I'm just starting out in this venture and I have a, probably a long way to go. Um, but I think there are other parents out there that are really in it and have experienced and you know, it'd be nice to know what has worked and what hasn't worked, you know, we can learn from those things too.

Um, but I think what we're saying is I think trust is a big thing, right? I think that's what we're saying. The trust between letting the kid know that you trust them because they don't really want to disappoint you. If you really have that open communication, they don't want to disappoint you. So the keeping that trust and saying that they, you trust them, I think is, is huge and empowering for the child. You know, making sure that they have a safe fall back. If things don't go their way, whether that's you or someone else coming to get them picking them up, maybe dealing with the situation later on, but not that evening.

Right. Yeah.

And I do think some of, I do really believe that the conversations are important because then, you know, I think a lot when, when the, when the kids are little, we make decisions for them. Right? And so some aspect of educating them allows them to be the decision makers, you know, and as they get older, it's become such a huge thing. I want independence. You can't spot there may, you know, but, but if we take the, the earlier times, you know, and I think that's scary to open those conversations when they're younger, because you're, you don't want to drive them to something.

But I do think by, by part of building that trust is, is allowing them to, to know what good decisions look like and, and giving them opportunity to do it. And then learning from the ones, because I mean, even the best kids make bad decisions and you know, hopefully they're not, you know, tragic or, you know, very traumatic, but they're great opportunities to learn you, do you see something bad happened? You experienced something bad happen and you know, because the other ones are tragic.

I love that. I love that. I love that. Um, keeping that conversation open earlier, earlier, like the, pre-conversations almost like giving them the education right. To, to make, uh, a better decision when it's time. And also I love the, if something does happen instead of just like saying like, you know, or either judging the person that happens to, or getting in trouble and just saying, you know, that's it, you're grounded. We're taking away your phone, really using that time to talk about it and get more of those feelings and what they've already learned from that scenario, because you don't want them to learn that they get in trouble.

If they're caught, right. You want them to learn like, okay, wow. This situation, oh my gosh. If he got into a car, what would have happened? Or he's throwing up. Yeah. It was throwing up and he hit his head and, oh my goodness. That like, what could have happened? You know, like, you know, really talking through all those scenarios with them. And instead of just, yeah, you're punished and you know, maybe, maybe you're also not going out this week, but.

There might be balances of it depending upon where.

We're going to talk about it. Talk about it every night. Right. Good. This is definitely a hard topic. And I think after talking about it, it scares to be more, I don't know, Carrie, if I feel any better.

Well, here's what I say to you is I think that I don't think we should feel better about it. I do think we should be a little bit on point. I think if we let ourselves our guards down as parents and we, we, you know, as much as we want to say, we trust you, we, you, a little part needs to have doubts so that you do have, you know, the conversations you do have the calling out, you do have that. That was not a good decision. And, um, I think all of those are really, really important, you know? Like, so I, I think if we were comfortable with it, I think it might be a disservice to us and them.

And we get to stay crazy and nervous. And we, and every day that they stay really wonderful. Then we win and, and if tomorrow something happens than we will deal with it. We deal with it. But I think you're right. It'll be scary until we know that they have a good place or a good foundation or good people around them. And if it's not us one day at a time with all this stuff, parenting is once it's, it's like we started out when they were babies, someone won't sleep through the night, this one's crawling out and you turn to your friends and said, what did you do?

What did you do? What did you do? It's just the same things now with just bigger stuff,.

Bigger. And yeah. And Keri, thank you so much for talking about this tough topic. I really appreciate your honesty and insight because I think you had some really good points that we can all learn from. And I hope that the listeners also, um, just share their stories. Cause I would love to hear more insights about this. I think we can all use help.

Same. So thank you for letting me be part of that.

Keri Wagner


Mother of 3 teens, 2 in high school, 1 in college, full-time nurse practitioner/nurse leader. Happy, crazy, lucky!