When I was sixteen I hung out with some friends in the cemetery down the street and got totally blotto on some warm Andre “champagne, ” threw up all over my beloved ostrich skin boots, and stumbled home crying to my mommy. My mom was mad, of course, but what was she going to do with her underage daughter who was vomiting all over the place and sobbing? She washed my face and put a bucket next to my bed and the next day made me a cheese sandwich. And then she grounded me. Forever. I’m not even totally sure I’m not grounded right now, so I should probably call and ask her.Even though my mom was pretty cool when I came home wasted that time, my parents never bought me booze as a teenager, and I will never buy alcohol for my own kids. But according to a new study reported by The Age, some of you mommies out there are totally buying your kids the giggle juice:
PARENTS are willing to buy alcohol for children as young as 14 even though they know it is illegal to do so, according to a new survey, but older brothers and sisters are most guilty of providing drinks to minors.
Research leader Sandra Jones said children were not only influencing their peers to drink, but were pressuring their parents and siblings to let them.
”Kids say to them, ‘Everyone else’s parents buy them alcohol, you’re the only one who doesn’t and I won’t fit in if you don’t’,” Professor Jones, from the University of Wollongong, said.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m totally stoked for the day when my kid tells me if I don’t buy him booze he won’t “fit in” so I can laugh in his face forever. According to the National Institute On Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism, approximately 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking and about two in every five 8th graders have consumed alcohol. I think we can all agree that drunk drivers suck and that it’s not a great idea to let our preteens and teens get drunk. So then why are so many parents caving in and buying their kids alcohol?
More than 800 people from NSW were surveyed as part of her study of underage drinking, which was funded by the Foundation for Alcohol Research & Education and done in partnership with NSW police. It revealed a belief among adults that buying drinks for under-18s was normal and unlikely to result in penalties.
Um, no, it’s not normal and yes, you can get in trouble. Laws vary by state but most include hefty fines and jail time, and even more so if the kid you are buying alcohol for ends up causing damage to another human or property while drunk driving.
Most teens will try alcohol at some point, whether by getting it from a peer or stealing it from our own bar carts while we are sleeping. But that’s different than actually buying booze for your kids. I don’t think giving your kid a tiny sip of wine at Thanksgiving is the end of the world, and I mean a sip, as in a splash in a wine glass so they can make a toast, but not enough where they will feel any affects from the booze. And I don’t mean giving it to a six-year-old.
If my kids are at a party when they are teens and their friends are drinking I will always want them to call me for a ride. I will always try and teach them that they have their whole lives to drink if they want to, that it’s better to consume alcohol in a responsible manner and not drink just to get drunk, and that they should never drive after drinking. If they end up getting drunk as teens I won’t be thrilled about it, but I will always put a bucket next to their bed. And ground them. I just will never be the cool mom hosting a keg party at my house.