"Julie A. McPike, 49, of the 200 block of Beverly Road in Barrington was charged July 28 with hosting an underage drinking party at her home..."
There are so many things on so many levels that are wrong when a parent chooses to host parties like this. I can almost hear the rationalization--"well, at least they're at my house so I can monitor their behavior...." Apart from the stark fact that alcohol kills more teens than all other illegal drugs combined, here are a few hypothetical situations:
What about the neighborhood kid who gets so drunk at the party that he totally forgets where he lives? He staggers around the neighborhood and finally recognizes a familiar street corner and that's when it hits him.....the car, that is. Seriously, 6000 kids per year that are 15 or under end up in a hospital because of alcohol!
Or what about the inebriated kid who is just playing around and accidentally shoves a broken bottle into his friends face, lacerating him badly and then ending up in juvenile detention for it? It's true that 1 in 5 sixteen year old kids are involved with violence after drinking alcohol!
Here's another possible scenario--A young 15-year-old girl goes to a party and gets royally smashed for the first time. But that's not the only first. She also hooks up with a guy there and they have unprotected sex and then she ends up with a baby. Yep, 1 out of 8 15-16 year old girls have unprotected sex after drinking alcohol.
It's just too easy for teens to become victims to the effects of alcohol. And for adults to think they are doing any favors by promoting drinking in any way, shape, or form, is a badly misguided mistake!
I'm glad that some states are stepping up and holding adults responsible for what is happening on their property. For instance, Missisippi just stepped up to the plate and established the "social host" law, which holds adults responsible for underage drinking. Violations result in a $1000 fine and/or 90 days in jail.
I have a 14-year-old son and I feel inclined to not only be aware of the friends that he will be with, but also have a good feel for the parents. Just because he is going to a party and the parents will be there doesn't mean that he will always be in good hands. Thankfully, I know many of the parents in my community and I absolutely shouldn't have to worry about something like that. But it's always a good idea to be sure!
Another thing that should give my son pause when confronted with a drinking situation is that we don't drink in our own home. He sees his parents doing just fine without booze and so most likely he will stop and think twice before drinking. Personally, one of the reasons I don't drink is that I want to know when I'm having a good time! That's just me, though!
Here are some more reasons, if you're still on the fence, as to why you shouldn't expose your underage child to alcohol!• Teens who begin drinking before age 15 have a 40 percent higher chance of becoming alcohol dependent than those who wait to 21 to begin drinking.
• Teens who drink regularly can shrink the part of the brain that controls learning, memory and decision-making. An adolescent's brain is still developing and is especially sensitive to alcohol and drugs.
• According to a recent Monitoring the Future survey, nearly 1 out of 5 10th graders and 1 out of 4 12th graders had engaged in binge drinking at least once in the previous two weeks.
• A 2009 national CASA (Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse) teen survey found that 1 out of 3 teen drinkers usually drink with the intent to get drunk, and teens that get drunk are 18 times likelier to have used marijuana.
• Teens who drink are more likely to get poor grades, drop out of school, have unplanned and unprotected sex, and be a victim of car crashes, date rape, alcohol poisoning or suicide.
• According to a recent study, an estimated 29 percent of high school students rode in a car with a drunk driver in the last month.
• An alcohol conviction can limit a teen's scholarship opportunities and future career choices. Many careers require a license to practice, which may be denied.