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Trust and Safety: The choices our parents make



Joined: 10/4/2011
Posts: 1
zmansfam

I was unaware of the decisions parents are forced to make when it comes to allowing their underage child to drink. I had always thought that teenagers had snuck drinks without their parent’s knowledge. Little did I know that there are parents who believe supplying alcohol for their teen is the safer path to follow. This weekend, my eyes were opened to the struggles parents face and their reasoning behind their actions. Should they allow their underage child to drink in their home under their supervision or should they enforce zero toleration for underage drinking?
According to the Mother's Against Drunk Drivers' website (madd.org), parents are the most common supplier of alcohol to those under 21 and parents are the primary influencers of teens. Based on my experience this weekend, I found that the parents that are for underage drinking have found loopholes in the law that allow them to encourage underage drinking in their homes.
According to California state law, it is legal to drink under the age of 21 on private, non alcohol-selling premises, with or without parental consent; for example, at a private home, private office or private property.
Many parents believe that it is okay because they would rather have their child drink under their supervision than go somewhere else and possibly get in an accident. Who is to say that the child will not drink somewhere else? If their parents give them permission at home, why would it not be okay to drink at a friend’s house as well?
It is a known fact that traffic crashes are the number one killer of teens, but it is not well known that 28 percent of fatal traffic crashes involving teen drivers are alcohol-related.
Some parents are also under the belief that they are teaching their child to drink responsibly if they consume alcohol under supervision. A study conducted showed that teens who drink with adult supervision are more likely to develop problems with alcohol than kids who are not allowed to drink until age 21.
There are still parents who are against underage drinking and continue to enforce those rules on their children; but the number of parents for underage drinking is almost equal to those against it, making it harder for parents to convince their kids that they are doing the right thing. Both parents and teens should know that adolescent drinkers perform worse in school, are more likely to fall behind and have an increased risk of social problems, depression and violence.
It is also stated that those who start drinking before the age of 15 are 12 times more likely to be unintentionally injured while under the influence of alcohol, seven times more likely to be in a motor vehicle crash after drinking and 10 times more likely to have been in a physical fight after drinking.
Today, there are only about 14 states that have laws making it a crime for an adult to allow underage drinking in their homes. For some reason, alcohol is widely available and strongly promoted in today’s society. People continue to relate drinking with growing up, which are two extremely different experiences in my opinion. Drinking is not and should not be a necessity in order to have fun with friends. As a parent you should think twice about your actions just as you instruct your child to think twice about theirs, and make the decision that will help them in the long run.
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