The article also fails to mention a federally-funded study that found that young people who drank at home with their parents tended to drink less often and were only half as likely to engage in heavy episodic or “binge” drinking.
It additionally fails to mention a large study in the UK that found that teenagers who drink alcohol with their parents exhibit the safest drinking behaviors and are least likely to drink heavily.
Dr. Mark Bellis, who led the study and heads the Public Health Centre, said “the majority of people who are drinking at early ages are not then going on to be problem drinkers later in life.” He said “the real issues are around people understanding alcohol, learning about alcohol, being set a good example by their parents.”
Dr. Bellis said that “The majority of people, by the age of 14, 15 or 16, have drunk alcohol. The question is are they learning to drink from their parents, in a socially responsible environment or are they learning behind the bushes in a park or in a bar where they shouldn’t be in the first place?” The health leader emphasized that “the chances are, if they are in the latter position, they are learning to binge-drink, they are hiding their drinking (from their parents).”
These studies are also consistent with the experience of numerous countries and groups in which children learn to drink alcohol from an early age but who have low rates of alcohol abuse. These groups include Jews, Italians, Greeks, French, Spaniards Portuguese, among many others.
However, the article quotes the head of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, who asserts that “the highest rate of cirrhosis of the liver is in France,” where it’s legal to drink at an early age. As STATS point out, MADD is simply wrong as the medical journal Lancet makes clear.
The article suggests that drinking at an early age damages the developing brain. In reality, there is no evidence that drinking in moderation at an early age causes any brain damage. In fact, students in these early-drinking groups tend to out-perform most U.S. students on standardized tests of math, geography, and other subjects.
STATS concludes that “given that 80% of teens will drink before they reach the legal age, it is not unreasonable for parents to consider ways to reduce the risks their kids face as a result, and the magazine does a disservice to them by blindly supporting current policy without fully investigating the research.”
Kids and teens are more likely to get alcohol and abuse alcohol because it is a forbidden fruit. When kids and teens are exposed to alcohol for most of their lives, they do not see it as a big deal. They are much less likely to abuse alcohol. Parents need to show their children that alcohol is not a big deal as long as it is used in moderation at the appropriate times.
If you make alcohol "taboo" then teens will feel the urge to consume it behind your backs even more because of the restriction parents impose. It is wiser to allow them to drink under responsible adults rather than risk them sneaking out in order to do so under bad influences not knowing their limits.
Many teens who have to hide their use of alcohol do so outside of the home, creating situations where they consume alcohol and then are forced to drive somewhere else to return home. If parents allowed teens to consume alcohol in the home under supervision, and were responsible to make sure that none drove anywhere, countless accidents could be avoided.
The lure of breaking the rules motivates much irresponsible adolescent drinking behavior. If drinking were appreciated as a pleasure that was part and parcel of everyday life, and not a rebellious gesture, it would be much more natural for young people and others to consume it in healthy and manageable proportions. Early mistakes in this regard could be more easily caught by parents before poor habits develop. Countries that use this more accommodating approach often have far less of a problem with alcoholism and drunk driving than the U.S. does. There should at least be some modest movement in this direction, perhaps in a few states, to try out the idea and judge the results. Even if such experiments do not work perfectly right away, lawmakers should continue seeking ways to move in this direction. It has a great deal of logic behind it, while excessive paternalism always backfires.
After all parents are the best guiding force a child could have. There is a greater risk of being misled when a teenager is drinking in the company of his peer group. A parent could stop the child if the teenager is going overboard. Plus the risk involved in driving back home is eliminated. After all, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Teenagers, almost by some natural law, will almost always do what they're told not to do. Alcohol and other recreational drugs are no exception. It would also seem that the more they are told not to do it, the more curious they become. I grew up with open-minded parents and was allowed to do many things at home that were considered wrong and even illegal. They made absolutely sure, though, to ingrain one very important lesson in life into my brain, everything in moderation. That has stuck with into adulthood. In fact, I no longer drink alcohol or use any other recreational drug. I feel I was able to get my "teenage behavior" out of my system as a teenager and in the safety of my own home. Many of my friends were allowed to do the same in my home under the condition that none of them were going to leave during the night. All of us now live healthy lives as adults and were protected from any unnecessary harm during our years as teenagers.
I think that the taboo of alcohol is the greatest contributing factor to the problem of binge drinking in the US. Teenagers aren't allowed to drink at home, so they go to some remote location and drink far more than they should. Still not wanting their parents to know, they get in the car to go home, and tragedy ensues. I think that parents need to teach their kids how to handle alcohol because just saying "don't drink" is obviously ineffective. If teenagers are taught that drinking isn't really that big a deal, they are less likely to sneak off to do it in unhealthy amounts.
Teens should drink at home so that they become aware of their limits. This helps them know how much to drink on social occasions to ensure they don't go overboard. This is vital to mature drinking.
I definitely don't think that parents should host teenage drinking parties, but I don't think the opposite extreme of banning all alcohol is reasonable either. Parents can allow their kids to satisfy their curiosity about alcoholic beverages by allowing them to have a small glass of wine at a holiday dinner, or taste the beer. Kids are less likely to sneak around if there's no taboo involved.
The law forbids drinking under the age of 21; therefore, when parents allow it under their supervision, they are teaching their teens that it is okay to disobey the law. That in and of itself is a dangerous premise because teens are then uncertain as to where to draw the line. Furthermore, alcohol is not something that teens should learn to rely on to make them feel good or to get rid of their troubles. A teenager who learns to drink at an early age will more than likely become a heavier drinker later.
People of any age cannot be certain that they will not abuse alcohol in a way that will be socially and physically dangerous. The home is the place to show wisdom. Outside the home the choice is the teens. Parents cannot keep youth from committing dangerous choices. That is not the way the real world works. Drunk teens are not seeing the wisdom of others clearly and those allowing them to drink in the home are not showing wisdom. Why would people want to abide in a place of storms or confusion? Allowing people to practice drunkeness in the home is not a sober judgment.
Allowing teens to experiment with alcohol under supervision would not help prevent dangerous situations from occurring. Also, it is against the law, and teens shouldn't be drinking alcohol under any circumstances. There are many health problems that alcohol causes, especially at young ages. Not only are there health issues, experimenting at a young age could lead to the addiction of alcohol. This is not something that is worth risking. Instead of experimenting with alcohol, they should be taught the harmful things that alcohol does to them. Teens shouldn't experiment with alcohol because it won't prevent things from happening in the future.
The law in the United States clearly says that it is against the law to drink under age 21; therefore, the parents would be helping their children break the law.
Using alcohol is one of the worst things you could possibly do; I would rather see someone use weed than drink alcohol. It can change people for the worse, make them lie and do things they regret for the rest of their life. The government only allows it to be sold because they can make some fast money off of the taxes. If there was a law prohibiting government from making a dime off of it, it would be illegal just like any drug.
While I do think it is important to keep an open line of communication when it comes to alcohol and if a parent feels that it is safer to have the child at home drinking then away from the home, then that is their choice. But I do not think that it should be encouraged by any means.
Alcohol is a dangerous and addictive drug. It makes absolutely no sense for parents to encourage their children to drink alcohol in the home, because it is a safer environment for the experimenting. Nothing about alcohol is safe for experimentation, and starting it safely in the home is only likely to lead children to more quickly use it, and abuse it unwisely outside the home.
Alcohol is seen by many as a way to temporarily forget one's problems and relax. As a depressant, alcohol helps people to unwind and forget their problems while they are under the influence. If teens start drinking in the home, this could possibly lead to them depending on alcohol to cope through life.
Parents should not encourage their teens to experiment with alcohol under their supervision in the home. This only communicates to teenagers that underage drinking is okay under certain circumstances. There could be danger if friends come over and drink as well. This will also make it difficult for other teenagers' parents who do not allow their kids to drink in their home.
I believe that laws limiting alcohol consumption to a particular age are in place for a reason, and should be followed. When parents allow younger people to violate these laws inside their home, they are not teaching responsibility or limits. They are teaching minors that they are above the law. Also, no studies prove that allowing this behavior "only inside the home" reduces alcohol related crimes involving minors. In fact, many parents have been sued because they have allowed minors to leave their house drunk, and these minors have become involved in vandalism and drunk driving accidents.