Prom and graduation seasons are quickly approaching. Though COVID-19 lingers on, many school districts around the country are working on plans to allow for both events to safely take place this year. While these celebrations will most likely look and feel different from prepandemic times, there are certain aspects that are likely to continue on—we’re talking about underage drinking.
As a parent, it may be tempting to think to ourselves that if our older teens are going to experiment with a substance, we’d prefer it to be alcohol over other drugs. However, when we consider the range of risks and negative consequences alcohol presents, we know we cannot afford to allow for underage drinking.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) shares the following dangers associated with teens consuming alcohol:
Alcohol is no joke, and underage drinking should not be taken lightly; nor should it be a rite of passage for older or graduating teens. It’s clearly unhealthy and unsafe. It also is illegal.
If you have plans to host an upcoming after-prom party, graduation celebration or any other gathering that includes teens in your home or on your property, it’s essential to keep these tips in mind.
As a parent:
Party hosting suggestions:
While alcohol remains the number one drug of choice among youth, underage drinking is not inevitable, as many parents might think. In fact, more than 58% of teens do not drink alcohol, and nine out of 10 say that underage drinking is not worth the potential negative consequences.
Adults would likely agree that hosting or turning a blind eye to an underage drinking party also not is worth the potential negative legal consequences. Thirty states assign criminal penalties, including and up to felony charges for permitting teens to drink alcohol. If you give alcohol to minors, you could lose your driver’s license, have your property seized, get fined and face criminal charges. You can also be held legally responsible for the actions of any underage teens who drink in your home. Obviously, it’s not worth the health and safety risks to your child or their underage friends and not worth the legal risks for you.
As these celebrations come into full swing, be sure to talk to your children about the wide range of risks and negative consequences associated with underage drinking, and take action to protect yourself legally, while keeping your child and their friends safe and healthy.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA): Underage Drinking Statistics. March 2021.
Prevention Action Alliance: Parents Who Host, Lose The Most; Don’t Be a Party to Teenage Drinking.
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