Should teens be allowed to drink alcohol under your "supervision"?

Underage Drinking

The New Year celebrations will begin soon.  Will you allow your teen to drink alcohol during a party, under your "supervision"?  Maybe you have already allowed this to happen, but there is clear and convincing evidence as to why you might want to reconsider this practice.

Drunk Driving is Not the Only Concern

I wrote a piece about underage drinking for, which is very timely for the holiday season.  Sometimes parents think that because their teen is under their "supervision", and nobody will be driving, that it's okay to let the "under-agers" imbibe.  There are plenty of reasons to just say "no" to the idea of letting them have "just a few", or partake of libations "just for the holidays", however.  Drunk driving, though devastating, is only one part of the equation.

But, It's Legal in Some States!

In some states, under-age drinking is okay if a minor is accompanied by a parent.  This is a frightening prospect, and it clearly points to the fact that some of the lawmakers in these states are behind the times when it comes to understanding the devastating impact that early drinking behaviors can have.

Read More

For the complete article, go here.

What Do You Think?  Weigh-in Below!


Deborah Stewart said…
My answer to your title question is simply - No!!!
I strongly second that, Deborah! Thanks for dropping by!

Annie Fox said…
80% of the teens who write me for advice, fictitiously sign their emails "CONFUSED." That tells you, even under "normal" conditions, they've got more than enough going on emotionally and psychologically to impair their ability to make good decisions. Add drugs or alcohol to an adult bloodstream and clear thinking goes Missing In Action. Add chemicals to the teen brain and OMG!! All kinds of unimaginable crap is likely to happen. Any parent who believes they can "supervise" teen drinking and thus make it "safer" is deluded. Of course, if Mom or Dad wants to send the msg "I'm a cool parent and underage drinking is fine with me." then this is exactly how to do it.
Agreed, Annie! Surprisingly (or not), teens whom I've worked with, who have been allowed to drink alcohol under "adult supervision" lose respect for that parent/adult. There's this inner-conflict, "I want to do this because it's 'fun', but I'm counting on you to be the voice of reason!" When adults cave into teen requests for drinking, or worse, when the adults suggest it in the first place, it creates a slippery slope. I cannot tell you how many teens have said to me, "Why didn't my parents care? Why didn't they say 'no'?"

Thanks for stopping by!

Sue said…
For me it’s all about how you pass on your values, experiences and attitudes to everything and drinking is no exception.

It’s about realising that kids are watching you all the time whether you are aware of it, like it or even notice it.

So how you handle drinking, alcohol and booze is no exception.

My kids have grown up seeing us drink wine, drinking beer watching the football and have seen their Grandma enjoying her glass of red wine around the kitchen table. They’ve seen me at parties, had parties of their own and have grown up with me talking and teaching them about how to strike a balance.

They will make mistakes of course but I hope I have taught them how to learn from them while finding their way through the tricky teenage years. My kids were not allowed alcho pops at my BBQ’s even if their friends parents allowed them – I know the dangers of underage drinking and I’m here to be their parent – not their friend.

As you know my job is not to tell parents what you do – my job is to ask parents better questions to help them find their own answers.

So just for this week imagine you have a camcorder on your shoulder that is following you around and notice what it sees around drinking, alcohol and the message that you are sending to your kids.

The U.K. has been struggling with a rise in alcohol consumption that many people contend is fueling public disorder and violence and i was invited to the House of Commons recently to join a panel about what to do about that.
The biggest problem facing the UK today is alcohol abuse and drug taking.
Health experts say cheap supermarket alcohol, irresponsible bar-room promotions and longer pub opening hours have contributed to the problem. Binge-drinking became an issue during the election campaign here in the UK, with all the parties vowing to crack down.

The UK government this week said it would take a range of steps to curb alcohol abuse, including banning below-cost sales; giving police stronger powers to yank licenses from pubs that over-serve customers; and allowing local councils to permanently close any shop or bar “persistently selling alcohol to children.”
So parents need to step up and send out very clear messages to young underage kids that drinking is NOT OK !

Sue Atkins
Author of "Raising Happy Children for Dummies" and the Parenting Made Easy app

It’s not about beating yourself up if you don’t like what you discover – but about making a small change that will take you in a different direction if you don’t like what you find out.
Thank you, Sue, for your thought-provoking response. It really isn't about parents beating themselves up at all. It really is about education and CHANGE based on what the research shows us!

Ava said…
Wendy, Annie,Sue so true everything you all mention! Lets teach our kids how to have fun without alcohol:)
So wendy no is my answer too!!!
I was surprised to read that some states allow underage drinking if you are with your parents...What a mixed message that is! So is it OK to break other laws if you are with your parents?...I think teens need clear boundaries and guidelines. Most teenagers are great at creating their own grey area and that is when they get into trouble. Underage drinking is not acceptable in my family or state. Teens without rules are teens with much stress. Drinking opens up all kinds of stressful problems that most teens and adults are not equipped to handle. Keep life clean, simple, and drug and alcohol free as long as possible.
Ava and Lori, thanks so much for weighing in! It's a growing problem, to be sure.

glad said…
I think it is better that parents know that their teens are drinking so that they can teach them to drink responsibly. Unlike those parents that has no idea about the drinking activities of their teens. Many teens aren’t that easy to stop from their alcohol addiction that is why they are sent to treatment facilities to get treated.
Hi glad,

Thanks for stopping by. There is no research that supports that one can teach a "teen to drink responsibly", in fact, the research shows that giving teens alcohol is contraindicated. Here's a report that just came out:

Wendy =)

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