Adults Encouraging Teens To Drink

By Angie Lewis

Can this be true? According to an article written for WebMD online, four in ten underage drinkers get alcohol from adults, sometimes even from their parents. Attitudes have drastically changed over the years, and we can only speculate to the reasons why parents would give their children alcohol.

Do parents feel if they allow their teenager to drink that later on down the road they won’t abuse alcohol? If this is true, I’m sure not buying it. No one knows for sure who is going to become an alcoholic and who is not – why risk being an enabler to that mystery. I believe that if we encourage our teens to drink it will give them the attitude that it’s ok to possibly abuse alcohol or to drink secretly whenever they want in their rooms or basement of the house.

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

Let’s turn the tables on that passage for a moment. How about if we train a child in the way he should not go, and when he is old he will not turn from it? In other words, maybe if we encourage him or her to drink now they will in fact become an alcoholic. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, June 1997 more than 40% of children who start drinking at age fourteen or younger become alcoholics. Do parents actually want to enable that?

Also the National Institute said alcohol is the leading cause of death among teenagers. Teenage drinking contributes to the high rate of teenage car crashes, traumatic injuries, suicide, and date rape. Alcohol is by far the most used and abused drug among America's teenagers today. According to a national survey, nearly one third (31.5%) of all high school students reported hazardous drinking of five or more drinks in one setting.

Do parents really believe that if they buy their children alcohol they will stay home and drink instead of carousing around town, and possibly getting into more mischief? Alcohol is a drug and it causes even non-alcoholics to do stupid things they normally would not do had they been sober. What are these parents thinking?

I don’t believe that buying alcohol for your children and asking them to stay home and drink is going to prevent them from getting in their car or their friends car and driving around town intoxicated. In fact, once inebriated principles and values go down the tube and bad stuff happens. Once a person starts to drink, whether they have a drinking problem or not, their mental faculties rapidly decline, and teens are already impulsive, mix that with a six-pack.

Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has strife? Who has complaints?
Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?
Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.
Do not gaze at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup,
when it goes down smoothly!
In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.
Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things.
You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging.
“They hit me”, you will say, “but I am not hurt!
They beat me but I don’t feel it!
When will I wake up so I can find another drink?
Proverbs 23:29-35

This is not Europe – this is America. The attitude about alcohol is very different in America than that of our European neighbors. Take Italy for an example. I am married to an Italian, and I know that with dinner Italian parents may pour their teenager a small glass of red wine with the meal, if they ask for it. Because wine is consumed as "part of the meal," Italians also learn to drink responsibly at home when they are still in their teens. As a result, alcoholism in Italy is much less of a problem than in the U.S.

In America parents and adults can be prosecuted for giving their teenagers alcohol. Do you see the difference? Public drinking in America is forbidden except for in public eateries and events. Europe does not have such a prevalence of alcoholism, as does America because it never has been forbidden. We have to factor in all of these things when deciding if we should encourage our children to drink.

Parents and teenagers should become aware of the disturbing influence that alcohol has on the body, mind, and soul. Who can it affect? Why it affects them? And how it affects them? Encouraging our children to drink will not instill good drinking habits later on because it is against the law for minors to drink in America!

Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is lead astray be them is not wise.
Proverbs 20:1


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