Parents play a major role in their children’s choices about alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. A survey of parents and teens by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found one-third of teen partygoers have been to parties where teens were drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, or using cocaine, ecstasy or prescription drugs while a parent was present. By age 17, nearly half of teens have been at such parties where parents were present.
As a parent, you cannot give alcohol to your teen’s friends under the age of 21 under any circumstance, even in your own home, even with their parent’s permission. You also cannot allow a person under 21, other than your own child, to remain in your home or on your property while consuming or possessing alcohol. There are legal consequences if you do. You can be prosecuted and face time in jail, large fines, loss of property, and civil liability.
Simply taking away the car keys does not solve all of the problems related to underage drinking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, six or more youth under 21 die each day due to non-driving alcohol-related causes, such as homicide, suicide and drowning.
You can protect your children by following these guidelines when hosting teen parties:
Host safe, alcohol-free activities and events for youth
Refuse to supply alcohol to children or allow drinking in your home or on your property
Be at home when your teenager has a party
Make sure your teenager’s friends do not bring alcohol into your home
Talk to other parents about not providing alcohol at youth events
Report underage drinking
Follow these guidelines when allowing your teen to attend another students party:
Call the parent in charge to verify the occasion and location of the party and ensure there will be adult supervision
Make certain that the host will not be serving or allowing alcohol
If the activity seems inappropriate, express concern and keep your child home
Our youth deserve to live and grow to adulthood in an environment where alcohol is not misused.
Let’s be unified in our message, and host alcohol-free parties with fun and healthy activities to show our youth that we care about their future.