Who’s the (ir)responsible one now?

Growing up I had a friend’s “go to” house – and the guarantee to always have a good time!  Their parents made it clear not to tell our parents about it. Looking back on my teenage years, which didn’t end very long ago, I can’t believe the things those parents would allow us to do…or that we did with them! We were involved in very risky behaviour, like drinking games and binge drinking. 

At the time this seemed cool and we all felt invincible. But now, it seems as though more and more parents believe teens are going to drink underage, and there’s nothing they can do about it.  So they try to control it by allowing teens to drink at home. Some even drink with them and buy the alcohol.  The mindset seems to be, “If my kids are going to drink, they may as well do it at home where I can watch them and they’ll be safe.” But really, are teens safe drinking underage? Why has this become acceptable, if not the norm?

Just because teens are drinking at home does not necessarily mean that they are safe. How do we make more parents aware of the risks? How do parents teach their kids about the long-term health effects of drinking and the importance of drinking within the low risk drinking guidelines? Parents always like to say that teens need to be more responsible, but it’s just as, if not more, important for parents to act responsible as they are role models and have significant influence on their children.

Byline: Kelly Pimentel, BScN Student

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