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NBC’s ‘The Slap’ parents needed a plan

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The scene is a mahogany-paneled courtroom with soft light filtering through the floor-to-ceiling windows. The camera tightens up on a distraught mother, Rosie, in the witness box.

Lawyer: Who was watching your child at the barbecue?

Mother: All of us. There were lots of adults there. We all take care of the kids.

Lawyer: How much did you have to drink?

Mother: Three to four glasses of wine.

Lawyer: And you were breastfeeding?

Mother: Yes. (Starts to cry.)

Lawyer: And how much had your husband been drinking? More than three or four drinks?

Mother: More than three. We were at a barbecue.

Lawyer: Neither you nor your husband decided not to drink that day so that at least one of you could adequately supervise your child? (Voice rising.)

Mother: We hadn't talked about it, it was just understood.

Lawyer: What was understood?

Mother: That we would both look after him. It was a barbecue. (Desperation in her voice.)

Lawyer: But did you??

The above scene unfolded during Episode 7 of The Slap. This NBC miniseries revolves around the aftermath from Harry, a married father, slapping Rosie and Gary’s out-of-control five-year-old son, Hugo, in the heat of the moment when Hugo strikes at the other children with a bat and kicks Harry in the shin during a suburban barbecue.

Fast-forward through much outrage and misunderstanding to the legal proceedings. Nothing says family fun in the sun gone horribly wrong like going to court.

While this is drama with a capital “D,” there is an important takeaway point here for us all. Things could have been so much better (albeit, it would have been a one episode miniseries) if Rosie and her husband had just made a pre-party plan.

This is why advocates for parents everywhere to focus on why talking in advance, having a plan, and making responsible choices before arriving at an event is the best course of action.

As parents, it is our obligation to decide how we’re getting home safely from a party where there is alcohol served, whether our children are with us or not. But if our children are with us, there are even more things to consider.

So open the discussion at home and make a plan.

  1. Who gets to drink and who is the designated driver?
  2. How are you going to divide or share child supervision responsibilities?
  3. What measures can you take to make this a safe and fun party for everyone?

Estimating blood alcohol concentrations can be a tricky business, dependent on many variables. The best course of action is to play it safe. If you plan to drink, don’t plan to drive. But keep in mind, responsible behavior is not just limited to when you are behind the wheel. Make sure everyone has an enjoyable and safe time by making a plan BEFORE you cross the threshold.

Ellen Williams and Erin Dymowski are the two friends and writers who share the blog, The Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms – a place of support, sensibility, and fun.

*The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility ( or any member.*

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