MLCC Warns Parents of Underage Drinking Dangers Contact:
Andrea Miller 517-322-5898Agency:
Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
December 15, 2010 (Lansing, MI)-The Michigan Liquor Control Commission urges parents/guardians who will be hosting holiday parties to think and be safe this season. According to recent research, one typical way for underage youth to obtain alcohol is at parties where parents and other adults have left them unsupervised.
"Parents have the most influence on whether or not their child will drink alcohol," said Nida Samona, Chairperson of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. "It's never too early to talk to your children about the dangers of underage drinking. Statistics show that 65 percent of our youth get alcohol from friends and family and numbers show that 50 percent of 12 year olds have been drunk before. So please help our kids be safe and alcohol free this holiday season."
"Social hosting" is defined as providing and/or serving alcohol to a young person who is under the minimum age of 21. Social hosting can take place in a party-like atmosphere or by any adult simply providing alcohol to teenagers and their peers for them to drink. It can even extend to parents and homeowners who are not on the premises and/or did not provide the alcohol.
When addressing the issues of social hosting and underage drinking, one of the most compelling reasons for not providing alcohol to underage youth or allowing underage drinking events to occur on property, outside of the risks of alcohol-related injuries and/or death, is liability (both civil and criminal).
MLCC offers these tips from the International Institute for Alcohol Awareness about hosting holiday events where there may be underage youth:
- Monitor alcohol use in your home. If you keep alcohol in your home, keep track of the supply. Do not keep alcohol in an accessible place. Never serve alcohol to underage youth.
- Connect with other parents and caregivers. Getting to know other parents and guardians can help you keep closer touch on what's going in your child's life. Friendly relations can make it easier for you to call the parent/caregiver of a teen who is having a party to be sure that a responsible adult will be present and that alcohol will not be available.
- Keep track of your child's activities. Be aware of your teen's plans and whereabouts. Generally, your child will be more open to your supervision if he or she feels you are keeping tabs because you care, not because you distrust him or her.
- Develop family rules about teen drinking. When parents/caregivers establish clear "no alcohol" rules and expectations, their children are less likely to begin drinking.
- Set a good example. Parents and guardians are important role models for their children. If you use alcohol, set a good example and drink responsibly.
- Don't support underage drinking. Your attitudes and behavior toward underage drinking also influence your child. Avoid making jokes about underage drinking or drunkenness, or otherwise showing acceptance of underage alcohol use. In addition, never serve alcohol to your child's underage friends. Underage drinking is illegal.
- Help your child build healthy friendships. If your child's friends use alcohol, your child is more likely to drink too. So it makes sense to try to encourage your child to develop friendships with kids who do not drink and who are otherwise healthy influences on your child. A good first step is to simply get to know your child's friends better. You can then invite the kids you feel good about to family get-togethers and outings and find other ways to encourage your child to spend time with those kids.
- Encourage healthy alternatives to alcohol. One reason kids drink is out of boredom. Therefore, it makes sense to encourage your child to participate in supervised after-school and weekend activities that are challenging and fun. Studies indicate that the availability of enjoyable, alcohol-free activities is a big reason for deciding not to use alcohol.
MLCC wishes you a safe and happy holiday season!
For more information on this please visit www.notnrhouse.org/tipsor for more information on MLCC activities and future public awareness campaigns please visit our website at www.michigan.gov/lcc.