Written by Doctor G

Should We Let Teens Drink at Home?

FAARTeens drink.

That assumption is the one that most adults make. We figure teens must drink, so the best – maybe the only – way to keep them safe is to let them drink at home.

Responsibility.org, the blog for the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, asked me to weigh in.

Should we serve our teens alcohol to keep them safe?

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3 thoughts on “Should We Let Teens Drink at Home?”

  1. I think that the argument “they’re already doing it…I’ll just keep them safe by serving them at home” ignores the role of parents to teach children right from wrong. There are plenty of developmentally appropriate behaviors that occur in different stages of child development, but are eliminated as the child gravitates into the next stage. Toddlers learn to stop biting because adults teach them to stop doing it. Children learn not to lie because adults teach them the moral problem with lying. If teenagers are told that the drinking laws don’t apply to them by being allowed to drink at home with their parents, then they aren’t learning appropriate lessons about rules, laws and consequences. And unfortunately, teenagers and young adults seem to have this “I’m invincible” mentality. By allowing teenagers to break the law by drinking illegally at home, parents are contributing to this invincible mentality and teaching that the rules don’t apply to them. Unfortunately, this is bad timing to teach these almost-adults that they don’t have to follow the rules and that they’re invincible. Adulthood won’t be very forgiving when they’re caught not following the rules.

  2. I wonder though, if it isn’t better to let your teen experiment with alcohol in a supervised environment. If my children never drink before their 21st birthdays, that means their first forays into drinking will be in college without me around. Especially given the role of alcohol in unwanted sexual encounters in college, I’m thinking I want my kids to have the chance to see what one drink feels like verses three drinks when I am around to help them explore how their judgement, reflexes and decision making are affected. I want them to be comfortable enough that they have learned how to pace themselves and to recognize the signs of too much before they are “drinking in the wild”.

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