Today, an Athens man was arrested after officials said he forced his 15-year-old son to drink alcohol until he passed out. Several people at the home said the teen’s father, 35-year-old Mark Allen Hughes, forced his son to play a drinking game with him while watching the Tennessee football game on Saturday. Witnesses told police that Hughes made his son play the game after he caught the 15-year-old drinking. Some of the witnesses then left the home, but when they came back, the teen lying unresponsive on the kitchen floor.This father has been charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect as well as contributing to the delinquency of a child.
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I think this incident should bring light to anyone over the age of 21 who has ever or even thought about supplying alcohol to a minor.
The legal drinking age was not just chosen at random. Research indicates that the human brain continues to develop into a person’s early twenties and that exposure of the developing brain to alcohol may have long-lasting effects on intellectual capabilities.
While many parents may think that allowing their teens and their teens’ friends to drink at home under adult supervision keeps kids safe and leads to healthier attitudes about drinking, the truth is that there are serious negative consequences for both parents and teens.
The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids has broken down the underage drinking Myths.
Myth: Some parents think that providing alcohol to teens at home decreases the risk for continued drinking as teens get older, and subsequent drinking problems later in life.
Truth: The opposite is true – parents should be aware that supplying alcohol to minors actually increases, rather than decreases the risk for continued drinking in the teenage years and leads to subsequent problem drinking later in life.
Myth: Young people from European cultures whose parents give them alcohol at an early age learn to drink more responsibly than their American counterparts.
Truth: A greater percentage of European youth report drinking regularly (in the past 30 days) versus American youth, and for a majority of European countries, a greater percentage of young people report having been intoxicated before the age of 13 than is the case in the U.S. The World Health Organization cites global longitudinal studies that found the earlier young people start drinking, the more likely they are to experience alcohol-related injury and alcohol dependence later in life.
Myth: Some parents believe that being ‘too strict’ about adolescent drinking during high school will cause teens to drink more when they first leave the home and do not have as much parental oversight.
Truth: New research from The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) reveals that teens who perceive their parents to be more permissive about alcohol use are MORE likely to abuse alcohol and to use other drugs.
Myth: Parents who serve alcohol to teenagers at home are under no legal jeopardy.
Truth: A majority of states have civil and or criminal penalties for adults who serve alcohol to underage kids at home.
So the next time someone you know or yourself, even, has the thought of serving to minors, please think twice. It could cost the both of you.
Be a Parent. Not a Peer.