Wait. Are you for teaching responsibility? Or are you for “teaching them not to do it until they’re adults?” Because teaching responsibility (giving out condoms, etc.,) is why some European nations have a lower abortion rate than the US. And why most 1st World European nations have a lower teen pregnancy rate than the Bible Belt states. And teaching them “not to do it” is why abstinance programs are such a joke. (The rate of STDs is alarmingly high within the “virginity pledge” crowd.)
I’m all for teaching responsibility and moderation, and giving access to condoms and accurate safe sex literature. Speaking to the alcohol question, I really don’t know what to think about this dad. I’d never do what he did, but the alternative sounds worse. I was never a drinker myself though - a bad stomach will curb all alcohol problems.
Did they serve you alcohol? Did they buy it for you? If you don’t mind telling I’d like to know. Looking at studies of general habits there will of course always be personal anecdotes that go against the grain, but I have yet to see a study where the correlation isn’t clearly evident. Pretty much all of them I’ve read are in swedish so I can’t link to them or anything so you’ll just have to take my word for it. :)
Anyway, if it’s personal anecdote time I might as well chime in.
My mom doesn’t drink. At all. She says she’s never seen the need. My dad does, but besides having beer/wine at dinner he doesn’t really drink anything at home. Alcohol was something that never really figured into my life. I never asked my parents for alcohol because I knew they’d say no. There was never really any alcohol around the house. They never made it easy for me to drink, they never approved of it. By contrast I had classmates in high school whose parents helped them get alcohol because they thought it to be safer, or because they thought it was part of making their kids adults, or whatever, and those were the people I saw party and get drunk almost every weekend.
I’ve never seen anything like the college behaviour you speak of here at my university though. There are certainly environments here were you are exposed to a lot of alcohol, I’ve been in the middle of it myself, but generally people know where they stand with alcohol already and just increase their intake.
Nope, in Canada you can drink at 19, or 18 in some provinces (Quebec and Manitoba for example).
In the UK you can drink in pubs if it’s with a meal from 16.
There are far fewer stupid idiots going out and binge drinking in both Canada and the UK than there seem to be in the US. (And I speak as someone who lived in university residences in both Canada and the UK, so I certainly should have seen it.)
Why? 21 is absolutely batshit insane. It’s crazy high, and the only reason for it is political pressure exerted by MADD beginning in the early 1980s. Wasn’t that long ago that 18 was a pretty commonly accepted drinking age in US states and Canadian provinces. Now we’ve moved to 19 as sort of a national standard, and you guys have really gone crazy and pushed it to 21.
And – this is an old argument, but still the best one – how goofy is it to allow voting at 18, drafting at 18, and driving at 16, while preventing drinking until 21? It just doesn’t make any sense. I don’t know why there isn’t one age of consent – 17 or 18 would be best, AFAIC – to cover all of these things.
Same here, although it happened at the end of high school. Friends from families who were really strict about alcohol went crazy whenever they got the chance to drink, leading to a lot of really dumb behavior.
I’m not sure of the overall validity of this, but a glance at the statitics and social mores in the first world seems to be:
“Don’t do it you filthy drunk horny teenager” results in lots of binge drinking and teen pregnancies.
“Occasional drinks from a young age plus more reasonable views about sex” results in a better attitude towards alcohol and less teen pregnancies.
I’m with Thrrrpt on this one. I don’t much care for the whole “they’re going to do it anyways, we may as well make it safer” line coming out of parenting and schools these days. How about teaching them not to do it until they can take responsibility for their actions? I apply this blanket generalization to alcohol, smoking, sex, etc. We all may quibble on concepts or ethics or morality or such with these traditional taboos, but teaching responsibility doesn’t seem to be out of line.
Of course, parents don’t even really have the right to name their kids, so… Razz
Take what responsibility for their actions? You’re like automatically assuming the act results in the bad effects. If they drink reasonable amounts, no one gets an STD, and no one gets pregnant, what’s the harm?
Did they serve you alcohol? Did they buy it for you? If you don’t mind telling I’d like to know.
My parents didn’t buy me alcohol (during high school, I was living in a third world country with no enforced drinking age, so I was capable of doing that all on my lonesome), but my folks would certainly let me have the occasional glass of wine with dinner or beer by the pool. I think they trusted the fact that I was smart enough to know the side effects of excessive boozing (and, coming from a small English town with massive unemployment, that I did). As with sex, they gave me the facts, respected my judgement and were there if I needed advice or support.
On the other hand, most of my friends with more strict, anti-drinking families seemed to be determined to pickle their livers by the age of 17…when corelated pretty closely to the behavior I saw in college, several continents and thousands of miles away. Admittedly, I went to UC Santa Barbara, which is known as a party school, but my friends’ experiences at other colleges seem to be pretty similar.
Looking at studies of general habits there will of course always be personal anecdotes that go against the grain, but I have yet to see a study where the correlation isn’t clearly evident. Pretty much all of them I’ve read are in swedish so I can’t link to them or anything so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
Don’t worry, I believe you :) It just doesn’t align itself with my personal experience, nor that of my friends. Could be a cultural thing though…having never been to Sweden, I couldn’t say.
Even if I believe a law is stupid, I’m not going to pass that on to my putative kids. I’m sure there’ll be some law they violate, but I don’t want them to do it because I somehow indicated that it was alright to do so.
edit: man, that was an awfully constructed sentence. Must do better!
I can understand this guy’s desire to provide a safe place for his kid and friends but he’s an idiot. Even if he doesn’t provide the boose, he’s letting it happen on his land and god forbid anything bad happen he’s gonna get sued.
As for age limits etc., 18 is probably ok but damn there are some stupid teens/college age kids. I can recall a freshman at my school (frat pledge I believe) who got drunk at a spring break party and tried jumping between two house boats on a lake and fell between them hitting his head. A sad event but I didnt have that much sympathy for him. Guy was a dumbass. Clearly the 21 age limit and a puritannical view against younger drinkers/adult obsession with alcohol, is not helping solve the problem.
I had the occasional beer in high school, both allowed by mom and a few times when she didn’t know about it, big deal. However, watching one’s old man put away the vino every night when I was younger, watching him get drunk on an airplane (and blame me for a lost bag which had…duty free vodka in it) tends to make an impression on a kid that alcohol is best used in moderation. So I learned a good lesson thus that I never really understood my fellow schoolmates infatuation with alcohol. Oooh, you’ve had a beer behind your parents back! You rebel! Yer all grown up now, and can puke all night over a toliet. Big deal, grow up.
Completely agreed. There’s alot of laws that have to do with this besides things on “taboo subjects”, including financial and legal. Move everything to 18 for age of majority (except leave driving at 16), IMHO.
I don’t agree that “tell them to be safe since they’re gonna do it anyways” is the same as “teaching responsibility”. Teaching responsibility connotes to me an actual educational process which SexEd probably contributes to. But tossing a bunch of condoms at kids with some catchy phrase like “before you bag her, sheath that dagger” isn’t precisely what I’d call educating someone about personal responsibility.
I’m glad you brought up Europe because the attitude about alcohol there illustrates exactly what I’m saying. It’s no big deal having a beer with a movie or wine with dinner in much of Europe. And by having a culture where you learn how to be responsible with something (which by the way isn’t assigned an attractive taboo status) instead of just handing out free booze teaches exactly this kind of thing.
You’re absolutely right, Jason, no one has ever gotten an STD or pregnant from drinking. </cheap shot>
Taking responsibility means learning about the possible consequences. Irresponsible drinking can lead to health problems up to and including death (especially while driving away from that party). Irresponsible sex can lead to STDs and pregnancy. Smoking can lead very quickly to health problems. I’m not assuming bad consequences happen at all times, but I don’t agree that having a bowl of condoms sitting out or taking everyone’s keys but allowing them booze teaches them a goddamn thing about responsibility. If anything, it teaches them that someone else will take care of it and they don’t need to worry about it much.
Moreover, isn’t drinking in a situation where you absolutely, 100% trust that someone will step in if you go to far, where you’ve had to give up one of the two primary potential long-term hardships (i.e. no car=no drunk driving) just to get to the drink, and where the other (wanton drunken sex) is distinctly less likely (because, y’know, Dad will probably not take to kindly to you boffing on the couch) actually taking responsiblity for your actions?
Maybe my world is slightly skewed, but in my world “taking responsibility for my actions” includes knowing when I’m likely to put myself into a risky situation, and having someone I trust there to look out for me in that situation. What it’s not is “having a broomstick rectally inserted so that I never allow myself to cross any imaginary lines”.
Been there, done that, not all that sure it makes me a good person. There’s a difference between indulging in a bit of temporary excess now and again in controlled circumstances, and leading a life of excess.
Of course, this is the same reason that I’d still happily try LSD or other hallucinogens if I could just find enough hard data to support that they really don’t do any long term damage. But I suppose the interest I have in such things also makes me irresponsible, despite the fact that the item that’s kept me from experimenting is knowledge of the possible consequences and a weight of the good vs. bad potential effects.