Parents, prom season is here! With your teens having one of their most memorable nights of high school, the idea might have crossed your mind to host a party where underage drinking will be present. Some parents think this will keep teens “safe” with it being in the confinements of your own home and supervision. This is this illegal, unsafe and can harbor serious consequences for you and teens partaking in underage drinking.
Providing alcohol to minors is a class A misdemeanor that can result in job losses, tarnished reputations, community service, fines and lawsuits. In Tennessee, parents can spend up to 11 months and 29 days in jail for serving alcohol to a minor. Hosting a party for teens where underage drinking is present is classified as Social Host Liability. If parents are convicted of this, they can be held fully responsible for the legal consequences of providing alcohol to a minor(s). Throughout every state within the United States, the minimum drinking age is 21 and this should be respected and honored when serving alcohol in ANY situation.
Being the life of the party can come at a high cost to teens when engaging in underage drinking. In addition to community service and fines, students can also serve jail time for drinking underage.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol results in deaths of 4,358 young people under the age of 21, on average, every year.
Here are some steps to take at home when talking to your teen:
- Set a good example– Drink responsibly – NEVER drink and drive.
- Talk WITH your kids– Talk early, talk often. Know where they are going, who they are going with, where they will be and when they will be home. Check in on occasion just to make sure.
- Remove temptation– Limit and monitor the cans and bottles in your refrigerator and lock your liquor cabinet.
- Know the warning signs for underage drinking, and if you have concerns get help.
- Talk to your kids’ friends and their parents. Let them know your rules and that you expect your child to follow them no matter where they are. Let the parents know that you do not want your son/daughter drinking alcohol.
- Finally, if you can, get involved in your community’s efforts to address underage drinking.
For more information regarding underage drinking, please visit http://teens.drugabuse.gov/