Local and national media outlets are abuzz over the news that Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler was briefly at a party where underage drinking occurred, and I still can't decide if I'm outraged or nonplussed.
As you probably know by now, in June he pitched in with other parents to rent a beach house in Delaware for a senior-week party. Video and photos have emerged of Gansler at the party; he said he stopped by to talk to his son about what time they’d be driving home the next day.
The gubernatorial candidate acknowledges not looking into whether there was underage drinking -- which it has now been confirmed was going on -- and today, he said that failing to investigate the drinking was “a mistake I made.”
I don’t really want to say that I’m not sure what I would have done in that situation because that basically means admitting that if my kids were at a party where I had reason to suspect there was underage drinking, I might look the other way. And that would make me a horrible mom, right?
Gansler said at a press conference today that he faces the same issues as many others: “How will we draw the balance between helping our college-bound teenagers make good choices, and when to pull them back?”
So, how do you strike that balance?
Do you become That Parent, the one who’s super strict and known as a killjoy and who embarrasses his 19-year-old by pulling him out of a party because some people are drinking beer? (Do you go so far as to call the police because the law is being broken? What if you’re, you know, the attorney general?)
Or are you That Parent, the one who irresponsibly lets underage drinking go on right under his nose and ignores it? Maybe even sets the stage for it? For God’s sake, what if someone had gotten hurt? You’re supposed to be a parent to your child, not his best friend.
My kids are still in elementary school so basically the closest I’ve come to this is trying to figure out if I should make them wear helmets Every Single Time they step onto a scooter, or if sometimes it’s OK to let them just tool around without head protection. (I know – you’re wondering how I ever sleep at night.)
So, now that I’ve admitted I’m not sure if I’m a drag or an enabler, tell me: What do you think Gansler should have done? And is it what you would have done, too, or does he need to be better than us?