This week’s guest blogger is Teresa Lunt, chairperson of Partnership For Change. I encourage parents and professionals to check out the good work of this coalition and see what might be possible to do within your own communities. Later this week, I am participating in a Town Hall Forum* put on by this organization. MWM
I’ve heard parents say, “It’s safer to have kids drinking in my home then be out driving around.” Or, “I just make sure I take the kids’ keys so they can’t leave drunk.” And another, “I want to see how they handle alcohol before heading off to college.”
Although well intentioned, it is misguided to think hosting underage drinking in your home is a “safe” alternative. Even though teen drinking usage rates are on the decline it is still the number one abused substance by youth and young adults. There are other things to take into consideration. Do you know if a child is on medication that may contraindicate with alcohol? A child may have a history of alcoholism in their family; you never know if that first drink is going to be the one that turns to the path of alcoholism.
Youth who start drinking before age 15 years are six times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse
later in life than those who begin drinking at or after age 21 years. Studies show the older the age of onset of that first drink the lower the chances of addiction.
Did you know you or a family member could be held criminally liable for underage drinking on your property? It’s true! A Social Host Ordinance makes it unlawful for an individual, despite age, to provide a location where underage drinking takes place, regardless of who provides the alcohol. It is important to let legal siblings know the law, too. The potential consequences could be 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Don’t put kids in an uncomfortable and conflicting position.
My son attended an after prom party at a friend’s home. We knew the family well. I talked with the mom at the pre-prom photo session and she assured me there would be no drinking or drugs allowed. When my son arrived at the party, he was approached by the father of his friend and was told he’d need to put his keys in a basket. Several of the kids were spending the night; our son was to be home by a 2 am curfew. He pleaded with the father that he would not be drinking and that he would be leaving in time to be home by curfew. When he went to ask for his keys, the father made my son promise not to tell us (his parents) what happened. This is completely unacceptable. What a horrible position this man put my son in.
I implore parents to keep homecoming, prom, graduation and any other celebration safe, responsible and legal!
Please support safe and healthy settings for youth and help do your part to prevent underage drinking. We can and must keep our kids safe and social.
Partnership for Change Chairperson
Learn More – November 3, 2016
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