Hey Leah,I need a drink. I just learned my 15-year-old daughter is dating a senior. Apparently, he’s a good kid, but so was I at that age, if you catch my drift. He’s coming by this weekend, and I don’t want to blow it. Can you talk me off a ledge here?

—Mike F., Farmingdale, NY

Hi Mike,
Your anxiety is understandable. Let me pour you a chilled shot of Tullamore DEW and a beer to calm your nerves. While I am not a parent, I was once a 15-year-old girl who dated a senior. I’m sure my folks were freaking out. Before you go into full panic mode, first give the guy a chance. After all, you must be a pretty cool dad if your daughter feels comfortable bringing him to the house. Get to know him. Hopefully, he truly is a decent kid, and you’ve got nothing to worry about. Either way, make sure your daughter knows how to be safe and take care of herself, and remind her she can always confide in you if there’s an issue. She’s obviously starting to date, and while you may not love the idea, it’s better to establish an open and honest dialogue; or you can drive her away. And hey, if he ends up being a jerk, just think – he’s likely going to college next year, and you’ll never have to see him again.

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Leah Pupkin has been a craft cocktail bartender and consultant for the past ten years. She has worked in countless bars and curated cocktail programs all over New York and Australia. She now resides in Portland, Oregon, where she is currently the bar director at G-Love. Leah produces sponsored content for various liquor brands and runs a blog featuring movie reviews accompanied by craft cocktail pairings when not behind the bar. You can find the blog at thebardirector.com and follow all her work on Instagram @thebardirector.