Unequal in the Eyes of Society

February 12, 2009
It is when the ideals of one are crammed down the throat of another that the one forced to swallow often chokes and rejects those ideals. This is particularly evident in many young people's fascination with drugs and alcohol'particularly, alcohol. It is extremely prevalent in high school culture and, too many, it is as primary preoccupation during the weekends. But why is the consumption of alcohol so important to so many teenagers? The answer lies in how our society'especially the parents'treats alcohol as a dangerous vice that will often lead to an untimely death or jail time. Instead, perhaps, parents should treat their children as adults and let them decide for themselves what to do in their hard-earned free time, all the while reinforcing the responsibilities and risks associated with drinking.

It is true that alcohol can be very dangerous; however, what is more dangerous is how many parents regard it as a taboo. For this reason, as proven by thousands of unfortunate alcohol related deaths each year, teenagers often take deadly, unnecessary risks in order to not get caught drinking. This includes drinking and driving, one of the biggest domestic threats our society faces. If parents were more understanding and tolerant of their children's actions then perhaps their children would take fewer risks. Perhaps, they also might not be inclined to drink as much. Much of the reason why teens drink is to rebel against their parents' authority. Teenagers seek to take control of as much of their lives as they can, and what better way to do so than to indulge in one of the most controlled substances in society? If parents surrendered some authority, then maybe the desire to rebel would be gone, and along with it the desire to drink. Teenagers would be left to see for themselves some of the foolish displays they act out while under the influence. That, I can tell you, is a much more influential force than any parent's scolding.

It is true that there are those who cannot be helped out of the excess of this culture, but for many a bright, upstanding teenager, the obsession with alcohol is just a way for them to gain control; a control they might not need if they had more in other aspects of their lives. Parents must see that it is still in their hands to keep their child safe, but there are effective hands-off methods of doing so. Since every child is unique, I may offer only one universal method to begin with: treat them like an equal.





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