teenage drinkingI grew up in an alcoholic home in England (where the legal drinking age is 18). Booze didn’t last very long in our house, because it got drank as soon as it crossed the threshold. My parents did a lot of their drinking outside the home at the pub but often brought people back to the house to continue the party. I remember one time I was 15 (I’d already had my first drink at age 13) and my parents were downstairs partying on a Sunday afternoon. People kept coming into my room and asking why I wouldn’t come downstairs and join the party. Did I mention I was 15? 

It doesn’t help teenagers when they grow up in an environment where they routinely see their parents drunk, it sets an example of this is acceptable, this is what people do. It only makes matters worse when they encourage their kids to drink with them. Then there’s the parent who say they’d rather the kids do it around them because they are going to do it anyway. Some parents even buy booze for their underage kids and their friends and host underage drinking parties in their houses. I’m all for educating kids about alcohol, but I’m not for the attitude of some parents (some of which I know personally) who think it’s ok if their kids drink with them or hang out in the local pub at age 16, because, apparently they are going to do it anyway, and in the words of one parent of a 16 year old girl I know, “I may as well drop her off at the pub so I at least know where she is.”  Not only is this parent knowingly letting his kid break the law, he’s helping her to do it and putting her in a potentially dangerous situation.

I have a 9 year old son and I’ve already started talking to him about alcohol and why I don’t drink it and the fact that just because I don’t drink doesn’t mean everyone shouldn’t drink. I’ve already let him know that if he has any questions at all about drugs and alcohol, however stupid he might think the question is, I’m available to talk to. Hopefully, once he gets to the age where all his friends are doing it – he will be armed with the facts about alcohol and alcoholism, as well as his family history of abusing it.

I’m not kidding myself though, I’m pretty sure he will drink before he reaches the legal age, but one thing I do know is that I will not encourage him by dropping him off at a bar or a friend’s house where booze is being served to underage kids. I’m not going to adopt the attitude that at least I’ll know where he is and he’s going to do it anyway.  I think the easier we make it for them to drink underage the more likely they’ll do it and while I can’t stop him from drinking when he gets to the legal age, I’m not going to condone it or encourage it before then. 

For more on teen drinking, click here

  1. Sheila Joyce Gibbs says:

    You have a extremely good attitude on the scourge of society !
    And thankyou for posting it as well !!
    God Bless.

  2. Great post. I agree with everything you’ve said. This website has some good information about alcoholism/addiction that might help other parents understand the importance of talking to their children they way you are… http://www.hbo.com/addiction/adolescent_addiction/index.html?current=1

  3. brittani says:

    Yes, i know what your talking about i spent all my teenaged years grew up in the same kind of environement. But i kept away from it and graduated valed victorian at ym high school! Now i am teahcing my two kids 10 and 14 about teen drinking and use of drunks, and like you said i can’t stop them when they get to the leagal age but i can teach them all their is to know about the bad effect on youth drinking.

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