The odd thing is, among my friends growing up, we all agreed that my mom was the "cool mom." And my friend A's dad was the "cool dad." And it's not because they plied us with alcohol (we never would've even asked). And it's not because they were hands-off about our whereabouts (I always had to let my mom know exactly where I was, and she would always call the parents of the kids whose parties I was attending to make sure they'd be there, supervising).
But still, she was the "cool mom." She took me and my friends to concerts. She took me and my friends to soccer and baseball games (as did A's dad, which is partly why he was the "cool dad"). She took me and my friends to amusement parks (and let us wander off by ourselves, so long as we met back at a designated place and time). She let me and my friends go downtown by ourselves for the afternoon.
Did she let me drink while I was in high school? Occasionally. She and I both like the taste of good beer, and every now and then she would offer one of her beers to me with dinner (this was not till I was 17, as I recall). I would never ask, but if she offered, I would sometimes accept. I drank because I liked the taste, and definitely not to get drunk. (At my dad's house growing up, we would all occasionally drink wine with dinner on special occasions, but I hardly ever finished my glass--still not a big wine drinker today.)
I don't know that there is one tried & true solution for parents of teens. I think a lot of it depends on the teen, and how much responsibility he or she has earned. My mom gave me and my friends a lot of freedoms, as I saw it, because we were good kids. We did well in school and, more importantly, didn't abuse what freedoms we had. We didn't stay out later than our curfews (and if we were running late, we always called). We didn't try to sneak alcohol at parties (well, one party excepted, but that was a blip on the radar, and we were all so paranoid about being caught that no one got drunk).
I fully intend to be the same kind of parent. When AB goes over to friends' houses, I will be speaking to their parents ahead of time. I will not be providing AB's friends with alcohol at my house. If I smell marijuana or alcohol on my child, you can bet your ass I'm not going to shrug and say, "Kids will be kids."
Despite my good parenting role models, though, I am still apprehensive about what the future will bring for my kid(s). I know that there's really only so much I can do. I cannot always be there to supervise, nor would I want to be. I realize that I can only stick to my plan, and then pray that everything works out OK.
Those of you who have raised teens (YT, jo(e) and others), have you had to deal with "toxic parents"?