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For Parents: Should I Let My Teen Drink at Home?

This is a topic that is very controversial and both sides of it can be argued all day long; but I’ve done a little research and found a lot of different opinions and statistics on whether or not it’s a good idea to let your teen drink at home. I’ll share with you a little bit of what I found and my own personal opinions and experiences.

Even though the legal drinking age in the United States is 21 years old, it would be naïve to assume that teens actually wait that long to try their first alcoholic beverage. A lot of parents feel that it’s better for their teens to be exposed to alcohol in the security of their own homes, under adult supervision. Let’s face it, whether teens are drinking in secret and hiding it or drinking openly in their own homes, they begin developing their relationship with alcohol from that very first sip (whether they love it or hate it). In most countries the drinking age is younger than 21 years old; which just shows how different the opinions range on this matter.

Some parents believe that by letting their teens (and sometimes even their teen’s friends) drink in the home it teaches them to be responsible with drinking and makes drinking less enticing. For a lot of teens, being allowed to drink at home does it make a lot less appealing and exciting. Many adults think that teens and alcohol go hand-in-hand. There is still a universal delusion that underage drinking is a standard rite of passage for teens when it is actually very hazardous to the developing teenage brain and can have fatal consequences. The craziest part of all of this is that teens are actually very influenced by the actions demonstrated by their parents and letting them drink at home or in a party situation shows the message that this is how you have fun, unwind and relieve stress.

There are many good points on whether letting teens drink at home is suggested or it isn’t and I can definitely see both sides of the argument. When it comes down to it, your teen is going to drink or not drink either way. When I was growing up, when I turned 18 my mom let me and some friends drink at home for my birthday. I honestly think that in some situations if I wasn’t drinking at home at a certain point in my teen years that I might not be here today.

In my opinion I think letting your teen drink at home is one thing but letting your teens friends drink in your home is another issue. I believe it’s a parent’s choice to let their teens drink or not; but it is not up to them whether someone else’s teens drink. Serving alcohol to your teen’s friends or permitting alcohol to be served when your teen is having a party at your home opens the door for criminal and civil liability issues as well.

With all of this being said, it is still a law that the legal drinking age is 21 years old. Each parent has the choice of how they will handle alcohol with their teens and honestly the choice is entirely up to you. If you choose not to let your teen drink at home I think it is important to at least be open about drinking and speak with them about alcohol and drugs at some point. Also to be aware that sometimes the more negative you make something or push it away from your teens, the more they will want it! If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.


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