Important Information from Franklin Lakes Municipal Alliance

Important Information from Franklin Lakes Municipal Alliance
Posted on 05/15/2017
Important Information from Franklin Lakes Municipal Alliance
One of many decisions facing parents of teenagers is how to deal with the prospect of underage drinking. Though many parents prohibit underage drinking, there are those that allow it. Some parents even host underage drinking in their homes. We've heard all the arguments or rationalizations: "We drank in high school and we're fine;" "All of the other parents allow it;" and "We can keep a better eye on things if they party at home."

Parents should consider recent studies that have clearly demonstrated that consumption of alcohol by teenagers can lead to impaired cognitive and physical development, memory and learning problems, increased risk of abusing other substances, alcohol dependence and future alcohol and mental health problems. Those facts should be enough to convince parents to prohibit underage drinking.

In addition to putting their children at risk, parents that host underage drinking parties in their home are now taking on responsibility for other minors. Parents should understand the laws related to hosting underage drinking. In summary:
  • Adults who knowingly allow a person under the age of 21 to remain on their property while consuming or possessing alcoholic beverages can be prosecuted and face jail, fines and/or loss of property.
  • If someone is injured or dies or if there is property damage arising out of underage drinking on their property, adults can be responsible for civil damages. 
In many cases, damages arising out of underage drinking can dramatically exceed the liability limits on a homeowners' policy. 

Moreover, adults who provide alcohol to underage youth send a mixed message and can only add to a teenager's confusion about the acceptability of drinking. They are also sending the message to teens that they don't have to obey the law. Most teenagers appreciate it when their parents set boundaries and establish expectations that are fairly enforced. 

Here are a few tips that parents may want to consider:
  • Set clear, firm and consistent family rules about teen drinking.  Remind your teenager, prior to a party, that he or she is absolutely prohibited from drinking and using illegal substances.
  • Be a model for responsible behavior.  Parents and guardians are the most important role models for their children.  If you use alcohol, set a good example and drink responsibly.  Also, have a plan for those who drink too much and make sure your guests don't drink and drive.
  • Be aware of how your attitudes and behavior toward underage drinking also influence your teenager.  Avoid making jokes about underage drinking or drunkenness, or otherwise showing acceptance of underage alcohol use.
  • If you are hosting a party for your teenage children, offer plenty of delicious, attractive non-alcoholic drinks.  Supervise the party to ensure others do not bring in alcohol or drugs. Do not keep alcohol somewhere easily accessible by your teens and keep your liquor cabinets locked. 
The above guidelines are adopted from information provided by Parents Who Host Lose the Most, a national campaign of the Drug Free Action Alliance.  It is a public awareness program educating communities and parents about the health and safety risks of serving alcohol at teen parties.  For more information on the Parents Who Host Lose the Most Program, click here.  Click here to view a presentation by The Center For Alcohol and Drug Resources.