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Teens,grog and parents

By Michael Grose

There is no doubt we have a problem with young people and binge drinking in this country. One of the immediate consequences is the terrible violence we see among our young. It seems every weekend youth violence makes the news and it nearly always involves alcohol.

The long-term consequence of current binge-drinking, I predict, will be a higher degree of alcoholism in future adults than we currently see. This is based on the fact that the developing teen brain tends to hard-wire prominent behaviours they are engaged in, which is why teenagers and addiction go hand-in-hand.

Professionals in fields of mental health, education and psychology are now questioning the notion of parents introducing alcohol to teenagers at home below the age of sixteen.

This is at a time when increasingly parents are purchasing alcohol for young people to take to parties in the belief that they are going to drink anyway so if they buy it for them they are less likely to get smashed.

As Paul Stanley father of Matt, who died a violent death at a party in Queensland recently and member of that state's government youth taskforces says: "The research is telling us that this ( i.e. supplying young people with grog prevents them getting drunk) is rubbish. We want to see a situation where parents are not dropping their 15 year-olds off at parties with crates of beer. It is happening and it is irresponsible and it is wrong."

A recent Federal Government report released this year showed 37 per cent of young people aged from 12 to 17 got their most recent drink from their parents. The supply of alcohol to young parents is an easy option and one that needs to be moderated.

Another recent Australian study shows that parents believe it is safer to introduce their children to alcohol than to let them get it from other sources, usually their friends. This is a simplistic notion and somewhat flawed as an assumption.

Parents maybe better off teaching children about the negative consequences of alcohol and not provide alcohol for them at home until they are very clzse to the legal drinking age. They should definitely not provide alcohol to young people when they are under age to take to parties, 'schoolies week' or wherever they will consume it. If recent proposals become law then parents will be prosecuted if caught doing so in the state of Queensland in the future. That is not such a bad thing.

We need to revolutionise our thinking in terms of young people and alcohol and the role that parents play in promoting responsible drinking. Indeed, maybe teenagers and responsible drinking is an oxymoron and we need to present 'NO' as an option, just as parents of past generations did.

Parenting Ideas 

Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Alexandra Boyd wrote Feb 22, 2008
    • I hope my kids don’t drink!

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Laurimarie128 wrote Nov 11, 2008
    • This is a subject that has touched my family very deeply!
      And, today we are being further torn apart by it.

      My oldest son started drinking in high school.  Typical behavior...BUT, I wasn’t aware that his UNCLES let him drink on family vacations at the age of 15!  Even betting who could drink a beer faster!  My father died from alcoholism at 57 and due to my childhood I am not and have never been into drinking.  I don’t believe in allowing children to drink under the age of 21, and in my heart I’m afraid for my kids to drink at all!

      My son ended up being involved in a fight which resulted in the other kid needing stitches.  My son was drunk, and high at the time.  He was also in AODA treatment, our family was in counsiling, my husband and I were each in individual counsiling as well.
      Treatment continued but my son wasn’t ready to realize he had a problem. Another fight landed him in jail. And, eventually prison for 2 years.
      While my husband, 3 other children, and I visited him, no matter where he was in the state (he ended up in 4 different facilities over the 2 years) every Sunday, my husbands family (the uncles who thought it was fun to drink with him) saw him 1 time.

      My son came home from prison and was involved in a sober house.  Got his life together, met a wonderful girl, and after a 2 year engagement was married this past June.
      But, he is drinking again.  AND, the uncles who were not around during the hard years are constantly encouraging all my adult children to drink. (my other son has also had legal problems, thou less severe).  At parties they pull out watch my kids make poor choices is a knife in my heart.  To watch family members encourage them on a path to ruin is a knife in my back.

      My husband and I have removed ourselves from involvement with his family.  We’ve told our kids how we feel (hurt, betrayed, like we are waiting for the next disaster).  And we have asked Aunts and Uncles to remember the tragic past we lived through.  They have come back to say “Just because alcohol is the root of all evil for you, it isn’t for us“, “We're not going to jeopardize our relationship with your kids by being hypocrites and not being who we are.” “You can’t protect your kids from bad things forever.”  They think we should understand their point of view...but how can I?  I would never be drunk throwing up in a bathroom at my nephews wedding!  I would never be so drunk I couldn’t walk OR talk!  These people are alcoholic themselves and are protecting their lifestyle while I am trying to protetct my kids lives!
      I realize they are adults and make their own choices, that doesn’t make it hurt any less when you watch them do the wrong thing.
      All we can do now is pray, all things in God’s time.
      And, remove ourselves from being part of the extended family.  I refuse to enable anyones alcoholic behavior.  And, maybe one day one of my nieces or nephews will ask “Where is Auntie Lauri and Uncle Zeke“?  And someone can tell them what party poopers we are...and a little seed for thought will be planted in their head...what they see at birthday parties and 4th of july picnics isn’t normal.

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