Parents who host lose the most

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

Students are back in school, catching up after summer and making weekend plans.

Often those plans include parties, and often those parties include alcohol.

Many parents try compromising with their teens by providing alcohol at semi-supervised house parties.

We all know who they are. They’re known as the “cool parents.”

But hosting underage drinking parties is not the safe — or cool — solution some parents may think it is.

Just because teens pledge to surrender their car keys and not leave the house, there is no way to guarantee a completely safe environment when alcohol is involved.

Drunk driving is only one of the concerns when high school students get ahold of alcohol.

What about alcohol poisoning, rape or serious injuries, all of which can result from drinking, even with parents a room or two away?

Drinking is linked to two-thirds of all sexual assaults and date rapes of teens, and it increases the likelihood of contracting HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases, according to the American Medical Association.

It can also cause long-term, irreversible damage to teen brains because they are not fully developed until age 20. That includes the part that makes decisions.

Data from last year’s Illinois Youth Survey shows teens are getting alcohol from home, whether or not their parents know about it.

Parents do not have to go as far as buying a keg or shotgunning a beer during the party to be irresponsible.

Turning a blind eye and leaving the liquor cabinet unlocked before heading to bed is no less of a crime.

Besides being irresponsible, providing alcohol to minors can get parents in a heap of trouble with law enforcement.

Adults who host drinking parties can be charged with unlawful delivery of an alcoholic beverage, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and even child endangerment, all Class A misdemeanors, punishable with up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

Parents have a responsibility to protect their children and teach them right from wrong. Providing alcohol to teens is not cool. It is dangerous and illegal.

Bad decisions by parents who host drinking parties, or those who accept parent-hosted parties, should not put the community’s teens at risk.

Too many local teens, especially in neighboring Tazewell County, have paid the ultimate price for drinking, and parents should be the ones to make sure their children and their children’s friends are not next.

Parents should set rules for teens and stick to them. Compromising by providing alcohol to minors only compromises their futures.