Teenagers are at a phase where they crave independence and want to start being treated like an adult. With the prevalence of underage drinking, your teens may see their friends drinking alcohol and become curious about it themselves. Some parents even let their teens drink as long as they do it at home.
Surveys done in the state of Iowa show that 54% of young drinkers tried alcohol for the first time before they turned 16. However, it is important to remember that even if they look and act more mature, teenagers are still children and underage drinking is still illegal.
Dangers of underage drinking
In Iowa, you must be at least 21 years old to purchase or consume alcohol. However, teenagers under the legal drinking age may consume alcohol within a private residence with the approval of and in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.
Many parents want to teach their kids to drink responsibly by offering them alcohol at home. However, some studies show that parental influences on alcohol may sometimes lead to heavier drinking in teens. When teens feel like it is okay to drink, they have a tendency to drink more when their parents are not around.
Moreover, parents assume that by allowing kids to drink alcohol at home they save them from drunk driving. While that may be true, drinking can easily cloud teenagers’ minds and lead to other risky behaviors. Reports show that alcohol is a major contributing factor to the two leading violent crimes among college students: sexual assault and physical assault.
Minors caught buying or carrying alcohol may face a misdemeanor charge and fines of up to $500. Apart from being in trouble with the law, their school and future career may also suffer. Unless they take the necessary steps to have the charges expunged, it will stay on their criminal record.
Even if many teenagers act impulsively or have poor judgment, it is the responsibility of parents to guide and correct them. Teenagers are often a mirror of their parents. The best way to help your child develop into a responsible adult is to be a good example.