The most common ways youth report getting alcohol are:
- From someone they know who is 21 years or older
- At home WITH a parent’s permission
(Source: Oklahoma Prevention Needs Assessment Survey 2018)
Many parents believe that youth are going to drink anyway, so therefore they can better protect the child by at least making sure they drink alcohol at home.
There are several important reasons to reconsider this idea:
- While we may think all youth drink, it’s not the case. Sure the numbers are much higher than we would like due to the risks, consequences, and costs to our state, but all of your child’s friends aren’t drinking. According to the 2017 Oklahoma Youth Risk and Behavior Survey, about 1/3 of youth report current alcohol use, and 2/3 report lifetime use.
- They care what you think. Research continually shows that parent and guardian disapproval is one of the number one factors in a child’s decision not to drink.
- When we prevent children from drinking, we are protecting them from the risk of addiction. When a person begins drinking alcohol as a minor, they are FOUR TIMES more likely to develop a life long problem with addiction. Talk to your child about your rules and why alcohol is particularly risky for young brains.
- There are numerous cases where drinking at home has led to injury, sexual assault, and death. Consider Shelby’s story https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/parenting/a13054/binge-drinking-killed-shelby-allen/ or Cody from Oklahoma http://stopsocialhosting.blogspot.com/
- Due to preventable deaths like these, it is now illegal in Oklahoma to knowingly provide alcohol to a child in your home. You may have heard of this law – it is usually referred to as Cody’s Law or Social Host Law.