The question of whether or not a parent should allow their kids to drink at home is one that comes up often. When it comes to the ethics of doing so, a majority of parents seem to believe that it can help discourage their kids from drinking elsewhere. As to the legalities, laws differ from state to state.
Many parents are known to occasionally allow their kids to have at least a sip of an alcoholic beverage from time to time, particularly on holidays and other celebrations. Some even allow their kids to have an occasional beer or glass of wine during dinner or at parties on a regular basis.
Laws can differ among states. Generally, it is illegal for people under 21 to consume any form of alcohol in public. When parents are present, the rules change in the home, as long as the parents are aware and watching over them. However, if the parent is indulging, there is some speculation as to whether or not that eye is actually watchful. Rather, it could be an enabling device that could backfire.
Drinking under the age of 21 is a Class A misdemeanor that can mean a $1,000 penalty and up to one year in jail. In addition to state laws, cities may also have their own laws about people under 21 consuming alcohol. For instance in NJ, those under 21 who are DUI with blood alcohol content of 0.01% or higher will have their drivers license revoked for 30 to 90 days and be mandated to do community service for 15 to 30 days. Also tacked on will be the necessity to pay and enroll into additional alcohol education programs. If you teen is in this situation, contact NJ lawyers at www.nj-dmv-dwi.com to get professional legal guidance.
Also, when alcohol pertains to a religious event, the rules concerning drinking under 21 relax a bit, but again, only with parents present. In other words, it is not legal for people under 21 to drink in the presence of any other adult, even at home. Nor is it legal outside the home under any circumstances. Should they become aware of it, violations of this law can lead to investigations from the Department of Family Services or similar governmental entities.
Another issue for parents to consider pertains to what kind of message is sent to the kids if they are allowed to drink under a parent’s watchful eye. For instance, will allowing kids to drink make them be more mindful of possible dangers outside of their safe house? Or there is a possibility that doing so will actually encourage them to drink elsewhere.
While plenty of parents have thought that allowing kids to have a sip of alcohol at an early age could prevent them from drinking heavily later, there is no evidence to support this assumption.
In fact, the Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine journal has conducted studies concerning this very issue. In each study, up to 40 percent of parents were said to believe that letting kids try alcohol at home protects them from risky drinking with peers in the future. The majority of kids surveyed admitted that they all tried alcohol by around the age of 9.
Researchers, however, have noted that it is a mistake for any parent to believe that drinking behaviors at home, even under parental supervision, would have any effect on how they may drink with friends. This is because further studies have found that despite being introduced to alcohol at an early age, kids have admitted that their behavior with peers was quite different than it was at home.
Even at home parties, parents are not allowed to distribute or allow alcohol to be consumed by minors without one of their parents present. Anyone who does this is vulnerable to prosecution, fines and possible jail time. Therefore, it would behoove parents to not only reconsider letting their teens drink at home, but to be aware of the repercussions of hosting a party where other teens are drinking, or even drinking and driving as well.
Teresa Stewart enjoys learning about childrens’ well-being so writes to help clarify child drink laws for parents. In the northeastern US, New Jersey lawyer Evan M. Levow of Levow & Associates handles aggressive DWI representation. The firm, found at www.nj-dmv-dwi.com, has experience to expose weaknesses in the state’s methods of analysis, which could diminish intoxicated driving charges against the client.
Photo #1 Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/merfam/6884112289/
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