Alcohol at teen parties


Teenagers are putting their parents under increasing pressure to allow alcohol to be available at parties.

Here are 5 things to know before you say yes:

  1. Contrary to what your son may tell you, there are parents who do not support the drinking of alcohol by their sons. There are a significant number of parties where alcohol is not available.
  2. When making the decision about serving alcohol at your sons’ parties ask yourself: What good reason is there to have alcohol at this party? Why do we need to have alcohol? Be clear in your mind about what you are trying to achieve by having alcohol available.
  3. Problems tend to arise under these circumstances:
  • Open parties – where anyone is allowed to attend and there is no controlled access to the party.
  • A lack of parental supervision at the party.
  • Individuals attending the party are permitted to bring their own alcohol into the venue.
  • Alcohol being freely and openly available at the party.
  • Individuals who attend the party arranging for alcohol to be delivered to the party by an after hours “mobile drop-off service”. These services will deliver alcohol and other substances to parties for a fee.

4. Teenagers from a well-known senior school in Cape Town identified the following ingredients for a successful party:
  • Strict control of access so that only people who have been invited are allowed to attend.
  • Security to keep out uninvited guests and to ensure that no alcohol is brought into the party. There are individuals who offer such a security service and who will provide “bouncers” for private parties to ensure that order is maintained.
  • Limited availability of alcohol.
  • Parental supervision during the party.
5. Some parents are of the opinion that allowing boys to drink moderate amounts of alcohol is “good for them” and “teaches them to drink responsibly”. This comes from South Africa having a drinking culture and should be reconsidered. Are you giving your son mixed messages about the use of alcohol?

The decision about whether to serve alcohol at adolescent parties should not be taken lightly: it is illegal to serve teens without adult consent. Teenage drinking is a problem and can have dangerous consequences. Limit the potential for alcohol abuse and, wherever possible, encourage teens not to drink.

How would you introduce your teens to alcohol? Do you think moderate amounts of alcohol teaches them to drink responsibly or should they stay away from it altogether?

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