Some well-intentioned parents may think that allowing their teens and their teens’ friends to drink at home under adult supervision will keep their kids safe, and lead to healthier attitudes about drinking. The truth is that underage drinking can lead to serious negative consequences for both parents and teens:
- Supplying alcohol to underage youth actually increases (rather than decreases) the risk for continued drinking in their teenage years, and can lead to problem drinking later in life.
- Research shows that teens who perceive their parents to be more permissive about alcohol use are MORE likely to abuse alcohol and to use other drugs.
- A majority of states have civil and or criminal penalties for adults who serve alcohol to minor at home. Under “social host laws”, party hosts are held responsible for car accidents and other disasters resulting from alcohol use at their home.
The bottom line is: parents who provide their teens with alcohol aren’t doing them any favors.
Studies show that parents are the leading influence on their child’s decision about alcohol. Check out SAMHSA’s Talk They Hear You campaign if you need help to start - and keep up - the conversation about the dangers of underage drinking.