This is a watershed parenting moment.
When we first found out we were coming to Jakarta we were told so many good things. We were told we would love the place and thus far, we’re pretty happy with where we ended up.
But, we were cautioned about a few things. The traffic and pollution you’ve heard about. The other thing was the school. The school Z attends is an amazing facility and we’ve been happy for the most part with her teachers. We think Z has been pretty happy as well. But we were warned a number of times about things that happen after school. Namely, the parties.
It seems that there is a pretty liberal interpretation of a drinking age here in Indonesia. On the books, the drinking age is 21, but no one knows this. In particular, the people who sell alcohol. Apparently, if you look like you’ve entered puberty you can get alcohol. Like so many of the rules, they’re overlooked until needed.
There is also a contingent of kids at school who come from significant means. Children of local magnates and executives.
What do well-off people like to do? Entertain. Which leads us to the parties. Several times a year usually at term breaks, a group of kids rent out a local night club and invites most if not all of the high school. These are not school sanctioned events The parties start at 11 pm. They charge admission and I’m told they only allow kids from the school in. They all dress up and talk and dance to loud music,… oh, yeah, and they drink. Reportedly, a lot. Or some do anyway. There are reports of kids getting out of hand with their drinking.
The three of us have all been talking about this issue for months. How to be responsible How to limit oneself. How to be safe. How resist peer pressure. Maybe we just go out and buy her some drinks? No, thanks, Dad, that would be awkward. We wrestled with whether or not to allow this at all.
There was a party earlier in the year. Z opted not to go and quietly Mrs. S.A.M and I were pleased, or at least relieved.
Which brings us to the watershed moment.
It’s the end of the school term this week, and tonight there is another party. This time our wee daughter has asked to go with a friend from school. And, so we reviewed all the things we talked about. We tighten our sphincters and place our faith in our ability as parents, over the years, to instill some common sense and good decision making in her.
We hope she comes back safely and pray that we haven’t sent her down a path of long term addiction and misery. It’s going to be a long night.