Parents Allowing Teens to Drink at Home: Big-Time Mistake

Every so often, I read something about how this country could cut down on binge drinking by college students if parents would just allow their teens to experience small amounts of alcoholic beverages at home and learn how to drink responsibly.

This month in the Lake Oswego Review, a  teen wrote a piece pointing out that kids in Europe start drinking at home at an early age.  And if only kids didn’t have to be put up with scare tactics from their parents, they’d be so much better off and not have to go crazy once they’re out of the house and on to college.

I agree with the young author on the scare tactics part. Good information and education doesn’t have to be freightening or threatening.  But almost everything else he got wrong big time.

Here’s the reality:

*European countries have major problems with alcoholism and underage binge drinking – a lot worse than here.  Most governments there are starting to crack down on underage drinking, alcohol sales, and driving under the influence.  So much for how wonderful it is to allow kids to drink at home.

*Medical science has discovered in just the past ten years that there is a direct correlation between the age a person begins drinking and whether he or she experiences alcohol problems as an adult.  The top national experts in the addictions field say a kid who starts drinking at 15 or 16 has a five times bigger chance of grappling with alcohol addiction as an adult.  The adolescent brain is a developing brain, and alcohol and/or drugs absolutely affects several aspects of brain development.

*If parents allow their kids to drink at home, it is enabling an activity that is not only dangerous to the health of that kid, but illegal.  There are good reasons why you can’t – or shouldn’t – drink until you’re 21.

If parents really want to be successful in preventing their kids from abusing alcohol, they need to help change the culture that says drinking is a right of passage and start talking to their kids early and often.  Parents are the biggest influence on kids – yeah, even bigger than peer pressure.

There is a reason why the percentage of young people smoking cigarettes continues to drop.  Since kindergarden, they’ve learned how unhealthy it is.  I dare say parents wouldn’t tell their kids it’s OK to light up a cigarette after dinner.  The same should hold true for underage drinking.

Pete Schulberg, Communications Director

Oregon Partnership

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6 Responses to Parents Allowing Teens to Drink at Home: Big-Time Mistake

  1. maureen says:

    Thank you. Please send this in to the people at Time. I just read an article making the exact and very much incorrect point. His arguments are so bogus!

  2. yeah, can’t believe some people think that if you drink with your kid or allow them to at home that its somehow ok.

  3. Chris says:

    I do not seem to sound ignorant but i just did a research paper for school on this exact subject, researchers have found that drinking with your underage adolescents can be benneficial. The part about European countries having high alcoholism rates is also wrong. The only country whos number is higher is France and it isnt by very much.The rest are three times less then ours. I had also read the article in Time, it was a very good article and was backed up by alot of sources and documented information, so its not bogus.

    • opblog says:

      More and more medical research shows that adolescent brains are more affected by alcochol than previously believed.

      European countries are seeing more problems with teen drinking…and so by the way, is Oregon.

      OP

  4. Chris says:

    I dont understand how Europeans are having more problems with teen alcoholism as it is legal and socialy acceptable there. If any of you have kidsyou will know that kids are going to drink. So we are asking them to leave the house (most likely in a car) and drink in an unsafe environment. So our society is indirectly condoning drunk driving. WOW thats real safe.

  5. Chris says:

    Whats the matter. You realize im right. I can cite everything i wrote which is more then the rest of you can say

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