Are You a Toxic Parent?

(Timothy Devine)
By Marc Fisher
Sunday, July 30, 2006

True or False:

·Kids are going to drink anyway, so they might as well do it at home, under adult supervision

·Restricting teenagers makes no sense when they'll be on their own in college soon enough

·You'd rather be your child's friend than an authority figure

If you answered 'true' to any of the above, you are not alone.

But that doesn't mean you're right

Each fall, when Montgomery County high schools send home the list of families who have signed the Safe Home Pledge, Nancy Murray studies the document as if it were holy writ. "You better believe I examine it," says Murray, a Burtonsville mother of four. The families on the list have agreed to abide by these rules for their teenagers:

(1) I will supervise parties or gatherings in my home.

(2) I will welcome calls from other parents when my child is hosting a party or gathering.

(3) I will call the parents for a Safe Home confirmation when my child is attending a party or gathering.

(4) I will not allow or serve alcohol, tobacco or other drugs in my home or on my property.

Lots of parents sign the pledge, often because of peer pressure: If everyone else is signing, how would it look if your name were not on the list? Who opposes keeping kids safe? But it's something else entirely actually to pick up the phone and call other parents, especially when your kid is 15, 16, 17 years old.

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