Responsibility: Something Our Parents Need More Of

April 22, 2008
By Bailey Grove, Winchester, VA

For various reasons, drinking has become a huge problem since the minimum drinking age was raised from 18 to 21 in 1987. Alcohol is a subject that most people consider themselves well informed about, but in fact, many approach it in the wrong way. Many of the problems we see today could be fixed if the drinking age was lowered (just a little), and responsibility was encouraged by parents.

Because of the current drinking age, underage drinking has been pushed out of public view, where it can get out of control. This of course leads to consuming alcohol in an irresponsible manner; mostly because it is forced into unsafe, unsupervised environments; “drinking is seen by these youth as an enticing ‘forbidden fruit’, a ‘badge of rebellion against authority’”; says Dr. Engs, a leading authority on drinking patterns. This forbidden fruit could be seen as less enticing if only parents were legally allowed to introduce alcohol to their children.
Part of being a parent is being able to teach your child responsibility. Of course parents set rules and guidelines that revolve around not drinking, but they are legally not allowed to introduce their children to alcohol before the child’s twenty-first birthday. This is plenty of time for the kids to get a hold of alcohol under no supervision and develop potentially harmful drinking habits. By having parents introduce you to alcohol, before your peers, will most likely allow you to develop good habits, and be able to make good decisions when confronted with alcohol. This argument is supported by practically every other country in the world. Excluding the United States, only three other countries have a drinking age of 21. Though alcohol is an issue concidered around the world, 18 year old drinkers are not looked down upon in other countries. Other countries with a lower drinking age have less of a problem with intoxicated teens. Studies show that teens in other countries, despite drinking more often, become less intoxicated then American teens. From this you can infer that because parents in other countries introduce their children to alcohol and incorporate it into their culture, then they are more likely to be responsible while drinking. Though teens in other countries drink more often, they are more responsible while doing so. Because our Nation’s law has cut off the parents from this prominent factor in teenage lives, the kids are instead being hurt, not helped.
We have taken away the positive influence of parental adivce, and forced kids to learn how to deal with drinking in unsafe enviorments, with other unknowledable teens. If they are introduced to alcohol at a sooner age, and by the right people; they could enjoy alcohol in a whole different way. Instead of drinking to get drunk, they could learn to not abuse the beverage, but to appreciate it in a whole new way.

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