Underage Drinking at Home – Where are the Parents?

Written by: Dr. Robert A. Lowenstein MD
One of the things that really bothered me when my son was a high school teenager involved his receiving a party invitation to a schoolmate’s home, which announced that alcohol would be served to the teens by the parents who planned on being home.
Having seen more than my share of teenage drug abuse in my practice, with great dismay, I called the parent responsible, only to be told that they thought it would better for them to supervise the underage drinking, as it was going to occur anyway. I failed to see the logic in this then, as I do now.
Recent information published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicates that over one half of teenagers who drank alcohol over the past month actually got the alcohol at home, and about 16 % were actually served the alcohol by a parent. This as the rates of teenage addiction continues to rise.
My view is that parents and caregivers need to prevent this dangerous behavior, rather than condone or support it.  If all parents refuse to allow their children to attend these underage events, or report these parents, maybe this parental misbehavior will end.
What do you think?
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Dr. John Carosso

Dr. Carosso has more than 30 years of experience as a licensed Child Clinical Psychologist and Certified School Psychologist working in private, inpatient, outpatient, residential, school, and home settings. He is Clinical Director of Community Psychiatric Centers (cpcwecare.com), a licensed Behavioral Health Outpatient Clinic, and operates both the Autism Center of Pittsburgh (autismcenterofpittsburgh.com) and the Dyslexia Diagnostic and Treatment Center (dyslexiatreaters.com).