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Parents letting kids drink: Good intentions vs. Good Parenting

A story in Chicago Now asks: should parents let their kids drink underage? The answer is simple: No.

This isn’t a case of the end justifying the means. When parents allow their kids to drink under their “supervision,” it ends badly. Horror story after horror story after horror story make the case. And it’s safe to say many of these situations never make it to print.

When it comes to underage drinking, some parents take their good intentions and place them at odds with what they know to be good parenting. As Chicago Now mentions, they make an array of excuses in order to justify allowing their underage kid to drink alcohol. A few excuses the article notes:

  • "I'd rather have it at my house so I know what's going on."
  • "At least I knew nobody was driving" (No DUI's at this party, but one girl was taken to the hospital with alcohol poisoning)
  • "My son is being an entrepreneur!" (He charged $5 for girls and $10 for boys to get into his house and paid off a gambling debt with the profits)
  • "It's just innocent fun - and at least I don't have to worry about my son being the one that ends up pregnant!"
  • "It's gonna happen.  We all did it and our kids are going to do it.  It's all good as long as nobody pukes in my house."

3 Reasons why parents shouldn’t let kids drink:

  1. It’s illegal. Do you want to send a message to your kid that it’s ok to break some laws, but not others?
  2. It’s bad for developing brains. A teenager’s brain is not fully developed, and drinking alcohol underage has been shown to hinder healthy brain development.
  3. Parents can face charges. Many states have laws against social hosting. Parents who allow kids to drink underage could face fines and/or jail time.

Putting an end to the underage drinking issue (which continues to decline, btw, thanks to responsible parents and other members of the community) will continue to take a village.

Let your kids know that underage drinking is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Research continues to show that parents are the leading influence in a kid’s decision to drink — or not to drink — alcohol, so they really are listening, believe it or not. So, begin having conversations about alcohol at an early age.

Be strong. Take a stand. Lay down the law. 

And don’t make good intentions the enemy of good parenting.

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