The Responsible Serving of Holiday Spirits
December 4, 2015 – When thinking of the holiday season, we often think of family gatherings with abundance of hugs, food and in many households, alcohol. The LiveFree! Coalition wants to remind the community, especially parents, how essential it is to practice responsible alcohol consumption and serving.
Around this time of the year, parents often have mistaken the belief that if they let their under-aged child have a sip or small serving of alcohol, the child will still understand that they should not drink any other time or place. Parents can also tend to think that by letting a child and their friends drink in their home, they will be viewed as the “cool parent.” Studies show that giving under-aged children a taste of “the forbidden fruit” does not deter them from continuing to drink illegally outside of their home. Studies also show that allowing children to have a supervised drink actually does the opposite because it sets them up to have long standing struggles with alcohol and health later in life.
The idea or fear of being “too strict” when it comes to drinking is the perception that when the child moves out and has a sense of freedom, they will binge drink and set no limits when it comes to alcohol. In reality, the safest way to prevent children from developing alcoholism is to keep them from being exposed to alcohol for as long as possible. Brain development is crucial during adolescent years and facilitating any child or teen in tasting alcohol can immensely hinder that development and their future relationship with alcohol.
Parents are the primary examples for their children. This means, besides keeping them from drinking alcohol, it’s important to set an example of what safe and responsible alcohol consumption looks like. Keeping alcohol easily accessible in a household can provide the opportunity for teens to experiment. According to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, 78 percent of tenth-graders and 50 percent of eighth-graders say alcohol is easily accessible in their homes. This becomes a legal liability to the residents of the home that are providing alcohol to minors, whether the adult is aware under-age drinking is occurring or not.
This holiday season, the LiveFree! Coalition strongly encourages parents to clarify to their kids that there is no safe way to drink under-aged. Maintaining a healthy communication between parents and their children is important, especially during critical years of adolescent growth and curiosity. By parents and adults continuing to explain the consequences and realities of substance abuse to under-aged children and teens, it helps set-up a healthier future for the youth of our community.
About LiveFree! Coalition
LiveFree! Coalition raises awareness about the harmful effects of substance abuse among youth, young adults and adults in Pinellas County. By offering trainings, advocacy, town hall meetings, a Speaker’s Bureau, environmental strategies and awareness events, LiveFree! encourages Pinellas County families to live safe, healthy and drug-free. For more information, visit our website at www.pinellascoalition.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.