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Do you think there is anything that can be done about teen drinking?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on September 30, 2005

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Photo of Sarah Sims

“I think if they lowered the drinking age to 18, it would help stop the problem.”

Photo of Hazem Chahine

“No. At least it’s highly unlikely. Maybe if the parents keep a good eye on their children, but that rarely happens.”

Photo of Joni Reese

“Constant supervision, which is impossible. The more you can supervise, the better though.”

Photo of Adriane Kasick

“Just making teens aware of the consequences; the health problems, drunk driving and legal consequences.”

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Comments

neopolss 9 years, 10 months ago

and LEGALLY drunk is perfectly ok!

I say lower it to 18. Enough of the nanny crap. If you are recognized as an adult at 18, then you can drink like an adult. Let's look at it from another angle too. We waste a lot of city time, police man hours, and money through our criminal justice system chasing after underage drinkers, trying to bust underage drinkers, and prosecuting bars.

While Officer Joe is at the bar looking for an "easy pick", the sound of smashing glass echoes somehwere in the city as another vehicle is broken into.

tell_it_like_it_is 9 years, 10 months ago

I don't think there is much you can do. Its been around since time began almost and its a right of passage. The best you can do is talk to your kids and remind them of the dangers and encourage them to do things like call home if they ever feel they are in an unsafe situation. And for pete sakes lower the drinking age back to 18. I think that would take a lot of the risk out of it and therefore some of the fun.

Aileen Dingus 9 years, 10 months ago

"I think if they lowered the drinking age to 18, it would help stop the problem."

?? WTF is that supposed to mean? They're still teenagers, it's just now that 18 and 19 yr olds would be LEGALLY drunk.

enochville 9 years, 10 months ago

I am sick of the attitude of some parents that say, "There is nothing I can do to keep my kids from underage alcohol use, experimenting with drugs, having premarital sex, etc. Teens will be teens. I can't supervize them all the time." This thinking disgusts me. I can understand being frustrated by your children making poor choices, but just because parenting is hard does not give you a right to give up as these thoughts suggest. You cannot run away from your responsibility to teach and train your child in the path that leads to a successful and happy life. I understand that people who think there is nothing they can do may be out of ideas or at the end of their rope. I would say to them to acknowledge that and get help, don't abdicate your responsibility and be neglectful of your children's development. It is not enough to just make sure your kids are fed and clothed and have a roof over your head. That alone does not constitute all that a parent is responsible for. You need to do all that you can to help your child internalize the values and morals that will serve as a compass to guide them to a successful and happy life.

Some are sure to respond to me saying, in order for kids to learn they have to make their own choices including mistakes. I absolutely agree with that. That is part of the proper training of a child, but that is not to be confused with an attitude of "I can't stop you, so you can do what you want, just be safe". I am also against the attitude by some parents that are so controlling, they break the spirit and confidence of their children in their own abilities. These two extremes should not be used to justify the use of the other. Kids who are perpetually in trouble with the law come from two types of families: neglectful parents and overcontrolling parents. There is a lot of space in between these two.

Children need consistency, consequences for good and bad behavior, a clear message from parents, and an undying love and loyalty to the well-being of those children. In the beginning, you motivate them by external consequences, the loss of priviledges and such. But, to develop internal motivation, in which they do what is right because they want to and know it is in their own best interest, they need a parent who lives by example so there is no hypocricy, they need to learn the rationale for their code of conduct, and they need to see the natural consequences of different choices, sometimes from their own mistakes but preferrably from the mistakes and good choices of others.

There is something you can do about teenage drinking. I and some of my friends never drank alcohol ever and we never had premarital sex, because of our religious beliefs that are written in our hearts. We have made promises to God that we will not break. Our parents did not have to worry because we were not doing it for them. We were doing it for us and for the Lord.

italianprincess 9 years, 10 months ago

I have already told my oldest if he plans to drink , drive, go to a school function and plans on drinking ( think before you act here ) don't call me from the police station. Hes know the wrath of the mom ( or the power of the mom as my youngest puts it ) and will stay the night there in jail.

You can't supervise your kids all the time, but only hope and trust that they make the correct decisions out in the world. Its not like I'm going to follow him around town all day and night.

Basically it goes like this.........If you plan on acting like an adult, be prepared to take the wrath of an adult when you get caught. My mom did the same thing to all of us and we turned out to be pretty good kids.

Have a great Friday everyone and a wonderful weekend. Halloween is on its way and I have already started decorating for Halloween. I have a Halloween party every year and love to decorate.

gccs14r 9 years, 10 months ago

If we had a more Continental attitude about alcohol, kids wouldn't see it as a forbidden fruit to be consumed as often and as quickly as possible.

There shouldn't be so much a drinking age as much as a drinking maturity. If your parents think a spot of wine with dinner is OK, then it should be OK. If your local barman thinks you'll be a responsible customer, you should be able to order a pint from him.

ku_law 9 years, 10 months ago

"If your local barman thinks you'll be a responsible customer, you should be able to order a pint from him." That is ridiculous. "Responsible customer" should read "Customer with money who can pay his or her tab." "Barmen" have no clue who will be a responsible customer. That is evident every night on Mass street.

GreenEyedBlues 9 years, 10 months ago

"Constant supervision [...] The more you can supervise, the better though" - Joni Reese, accountant, Wellsville

For the love of Christ, Joni! I'd hate to be a child under her roof! What with two way mirrors, metal detectors, hidden cameras, telephone conversations tapped 24/7 and passwords galore! Not to mention the mandatory breathalyzer before and after school.

redbird 9 years, 10 months ago

Some say that if there are more things for teens to do,that in itself would deter the drinking habits in teens....I do agree to some degree on this..But without the resources to keep the teens interested or to provide an entertainment that will be condusive to keeping them out of an environment to drink in(at an affordable cost or free in some cases)outdoor,indoor concerts(no alcohol)with good bands,something that can be regulated to the degree that there is a zero tolerance to alcohol consumption in the same environment of the teens.....the above said "forbidden fruit" and just the lack of something to do(most times just the curiosity) that is when drinking will occur....Cruise Mass St on a Friday and Saturday night.....it seems the teen entertainment is watching drunks,is that entertaining or just a lesson in how to drink and think you're looking cool!!!

jonas 9 years, 10 months ago

Teenage drinking will occur.

Often.

That is all.

E_M: That was. . . moving. Too bad it, as you say, ain't happenin' anytime soon.

Topside 9 years, 10 months ago

Gccs14r, has got this one right in my opinion. There really doesn't need to be any posts after that. If this country didn't have an uptight "forbidden fruit" attitude about everything from alcohol, porn/nudity, gambling, etc...this country would save a lot of money and a lot of people if we would be more like europe. Why spend billions of dollars a year to treat addictions and put out stupid ad campaigns, that do very little. Will there always be alcoholics, addicts? YES. But, I would like to see a change beacuse, the US has been fighting teen drinking for decades and I think hardly a dent has been made for all the money spent.

Liberty 9 years, 10 months ago

I agree with enochville. What kids need today is accountability with a real authority called God through real parenting. The corporate and government/school agenda has been to remove God from people's lives. This has created this disaster with the children and our country with little respect for life or liberty or responsiblity for ones actions. Children need to know what proper boundaries are and if they don't ever find out what that is from their parents while growing up, they turn to extreme behavior as soon as they think they can get away with it, having no accountiblity to God for what they do in this life and not thinking through the consequences of their actions or how it may affect them or others around them. Teens are generally not criminal, but are simply not trained properly by their parents because most parents are concerned about making money and don't want to be bothered with actually raising and training children in proper behavior and a real relationship with their creator God.

staff04 9 years, 10 months ago

Oh christ, are we really going to debate this again?

hawkrew 9 years, 10 months ago

Completely off subject, but has anyone every seen the program Google Earth? It is sweet, download it if you haven't.

Todd 9 years, 10 months ago

How about teaching kids about drinking? Heck, teach them out things are fermented. Have your teenagers sample different drinks with you. It's old school, once a parent thinks something is cool the kids won't. Also, teaching your kids about different drinks and their effects that will take the mystery out of it.

italianprincess 9 years, 10 months ago

Just a question here......

Do schools or possibly drivers ed still show those car wreck videos? When I took drivers ed in school ( back in the caveman days ....LOL ) they did. I was just wondering if they show them here.

Those videos might just make them think about drinking and driving at least, but may not stop them completely. Anything is worth a try.

Fishman 9 years, 10 months ago

My father drank while I was growing up, my mother drank starting when I was about 11, because she couldn't handle my father's drinking. With this example, and they telling me not to drink, I started drinking when I was about 15 1/2. Because of the stress, and the nutiness in my house, I finally found the relief I was looking for in the bottle. My grades went from all A's and B's to C's and D's. I love my parents, but what you grow up with, and how your parents raise you makes a lot more of a difference of how you look at alcohol, than an age limit. I was lucky, I got help in my late 20's, and have been sober since. Eight of my "partying" buddies are six feet under, and I'm only 46. There's only two still alive, albeit barely. I run into their red faces once a year or so. Most kids will experiment when a young adult with alcohol. If they have had a good upbringing, most likely they won't go overboard. The statistics prove it. If you're hungover, and reading this, this is the future you are passing on to your children. 18, 21, 24 whatever. That's not the problem. Alcohol, among other things was the devil in disguise for me. However I still personally feel that if someone can be dodging bullets at 18, then they should be able to have a beer, or a glass of wine with dinner, and not be looking at facing the courts for it. I can't remember who said it, but parents that are too neglectful, and those that are too controlling do their children no favors whatsoever. Have a great day everyone, and if you're one of the parents that have problem here, I hope you can find the strenght to somehow find AA, DCCA, or Bert Nash as soon as possible. If not for yourself, then for your children. Life is not a dress rehearsal.

enochville 9 years, 10 months ago

Fishman: Thank you for sharing your story. I am so glad that you were able to overcome your problem before it was too late. I am grateful for your encouraging words for others to get help as well.

italianprincess 9 years, 10 months ago

LOL.........I see now what you meant.

My qoute was just a bit different. I got confused when you put the word " adult " in there instead of my word " mom ".

My kids know not to mess with me. My oldest will spend a night in jail because I won't go and get him. I would tell the police to keep him over night to give him a scare. He would of course go to JC until he turns 18, but the wrath includes that also.

Does anyone remember that show on tv along time ago called " Scared Straight " I do believe instead of taking kids to the jail to meet inmates they took them to a prison. Scared the cr@p out of them thats for sure.

My kids know not to mess with me like I have stated before. I have told them both......." If you plan on making my life a living hell, I can make yours worse. I'm not a mean mom, but do demand my kids act right.

sunflower_sue 9 years, 10 months ago

Talk to your kids; hope they are listening; and PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!

BTW, Teens will be teens! Not using that as an excuse. It is a fact. I'm not a lazy parent, either. I talk to my kids everyday...about everything.

I agree with IP 100 %. This is the approach my Mom took. She raised 4 of us (by herself) and we all turned out fairly well. (None in prison.);o) And we are a very close group. Not bad, Mom! (I think she prayed a lot!)

sunflower_sue 9 years, 10 months ago

IP, You crack me up! Reminds me of myself, though. Whenever my kids say I'm mean, I just say "You have no idea what mean is, and, if you want a new mom, I can arrange that by the end of the day. She won't love you like I do, but if that's what you want..." Works every time!

bankboy119 9 years, 10 months ago

IP- No carwreck videos aren't shown anymore...at least not that I'm aware of. They weren't when I went through the program but that doesn't mean they haven't brought them back.

sunflower_sue 9 years, 10 months ago

Gotta go ya'll. Taking fresh baked peanut butter-chocolate chip blondies to school for my baby's 9th birthday today. Today I'll be "the best Mom in the world" and get to hear from some of the kiddies "I wish you were my mom." Does wonders for my ego! Hee Hee! Bake and the world will love you! (My mom was a "baker". Maybe THATS why we all turned out OK.)

Maybe I should start the "cookies against teen drinking campaign?"

italianprincess 9 years, 10 months ago

Sunflower Sue,

Have the heard this one?

I'm running away and never coming back.

This is my come back line.......Well if I help you pack you can get to where you are going before it gets dark out.

ROLMAO.........I'm telling you people, my boys will always love me and put up with my Rosanne mom like nature.

Talk to your kids and be honest with them. They may get tired of hearing you repeat yourself a million times, but it will sink in one day.

I can't wait to continue decorating this weekend, I just wish I didn't have to take it all down.......LOL

redmorgan 9 years, 10 months ago

I think that if children have a good, open relationship with their parents they will be more likely to not drink. However, all teenagers experiment at some point. There is really no stopping it. Hopefully, they will just be prudent enough to not drink to excess and to not drive while drinking.

Carmenilla 9 years, 10 months ago

I was across the "pond" recently and was amazed by the totally different attitude over there in regards to drinking. I am not much of a drinker really but was more likely to have a glass of wine here and there with meals and such. What amazed me was that I was in a European city "known for partying" yet the only loud obnoxious drunk people were American tourists. Okay there was that New Zealand rugby team I saw but they were probably like that without alcohol. My point is that Americans have this binge mentality. Binge on booze, binge on food, binge on shopping, binge on driving fast, you get my drift. E_m said it best. We can't change the attitudes overnight but we can show our children and the next generation (for those without rugrats ;-) that some things in life are worth enjoying in moderation. But we aren't a very moderate country. It will be hard for us to shed our national adolescence. We have some growing up to do. And we can do it with or without God (sorry Christians but you don't own the rights to morality-man, am I gonna get it now) and with or without restricting everything til we've taken what little joy is out there worth having and replaced it with a stringent code to live by. I saw that demystification and a lower drinking age CAN work. And pub life isn't taboo. Whole families (even dogs) hang out in pubs, eating, drinking and laughing.....

Until we stop stigmatizing alcohol (and some drugs even) we will continue to have teens puking in garbage cans and thinking they can take 11 shots of vodka and not get alcohol poisoning. There has to be a common sense approach. I have never liked drinking to excess because I don't like to feel that out of control. Maybe when people start feeling less restricted and confined to a certain way of thinking they can understand that the need to binge on ANYTHING (except maybe loving one another) is unnecessary.

And yes, I'm a big believer in the power of fresh baked goods. But hey, I'm a pastry chef.

Confrontation 9 years, 10 months ago

I don't understand the people who justify teen drinking by saying, "They just don't have anything else to do." I grew up in a town of 100 people, and there were no art events, theatre junk, arcades, or anything to keep us occupied. I had to use my mind and become more creative. I didn't drink. I didn't smoke weed to cure my boredom. I wasn't having sex. My mom set a good example by not drinking or smoking. There was no alcohol in the fridge or garage. Lazy parents like to blame boredom, society, drinking age, and everything else, to excuse themselves from responsibility. In reality, 99% of the time, it is the parent's example or lack of even minor supervision that leads to these activities. I think the parents should be held responsible and should be sitting in the cell with their kids.

staff04 9 years, 10 months ago

e_m: I guess you're right. It isn't a debate, but how many times has this thing been flogged in the last year? The drinking age isn't going to change, they aren't going to legalize pot, roundabouts are stupid, and they interview too many baristas.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 9 years, 10 months ago

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Redneckgal 9 years, 10 months ago

Confrontation-I have a feeling that you may be one of those people who don't have kids and yet seems to know how to tell everyone else how to raise theres. My parents were wonderful people. They raised us well and believe you me we knew who was boss. But that didn't keep us from experimenting with the normal teenage things. Kids are gonna do it. It doesn't neccesarily mean bad parenting.

ms_canada 9 years, 10 months ago

There is always something that can be done about any law enforcement problem if the authorities are willing to spend enough money. but they aren't. We, here in my province, did lower the drinking age to 18 and it has done nothing to improve the incidence of teen drunkenness. People of that age just simply do not have the experience or the sense to know when enough is enough. Heck, a lot of people of any age do not know when enough is enough. Many good suggestions were written here so far today. Would that there were more parents like our IP. Good on you Princess!! :o) In a perfect world parents would communicate with their kids. Some just don't know how, some don't care too much and some are like the parents of fisherman. They have problems of their own to deal with. So teens drink, a reality. But the consequences of drunkenness are just too crushing at times for us to bear. Car wrecks with terrible injuries or deaths, grief for parents and friends. Do we just have to put up with this? Do we just let it ride and shrug our shoulders. No, we try to do something and if parents fail, then perhaps it is up to the authorities to institute stiffer policing and harsher penalties. If more policing is needed, then go after the civic gov. to either employ more officers or change policy to make the present officers more effective. Something can always be done.

Carmenilla 9 years, 10 months ago

TOB, I'm not saying there aren't Americans with the ability to differentiate between good choices and bad. And I DON'T think Eorope is better, just different. Granted they have had a lot more time to figure some things out. Not all, some. But to me, it was pretty darn interesting that on ANY given weekend night I can go downtown and see people totally wasted getting in their cars and driving away. Its a matter of personal responsibility and a lot of people I see and know have NO idea what that means. When do we know that we are drunk? When do we know that enough is enough of any one thing? Do we? Do you? As a society we often encourage people to be all or nothing. To be wild and crazy because thats how you have fun. Its got have some damaging side effects. And it does...

Carmenilla 9 years, 10 months ago

By the way, while I was a broad abroad, I saw no commercials that involved exciting beautiful thin people drinking and having a fabulous time. All of the European beer ads were funny and wierd but did not glorify drinking as THE way to have a good time.

enochville 9 years, 10 months ago

I personally feel that this is a problem for families to solve with the support of their communities, not for the government to solve. "The world would try to change people by working from the outside in. God changes people by working from the inside out." Social programs and laws are there as a last resort to catch the kids of those families like Fishman who completely fail in their responsibilities. Our point of intervention should be in strengthening families and supporting them with help. My church has two Sunday School classes for the adults back to back. One focuses on the word of God; the second uses the words of the prophets to teach us how to be better spouses and parents. We promote "Family Home Evenings" in which every Monday night each family meets together in their own home for a short lesson, family play time, and a refreshment. The youth are taught at church during their Sunday school classes and on their youth night each week the standards that we live by including modesty in dress and actions, what is appropriate entertainment, avoid alcohol and drugs, and chastity before marriage. In our homes, we get monthly visits from other members who share with us a quick lesson and offer their support to our families. I know that our families and children are stronger because we do these things than if we didn't do them.

Jayhawk226 9 years, 10 months ago

Family night sounds great....with a glass of wine, as well.

Demonstrate that it can be done with grace and enjoyment.

Alcohol isn't the downfall; irresponsibility is.

jonas 9 years, 10 months ago

Enochville: You have a valid point, but I don't see the acknowledgement that teen drinking will occur as the same as either a condonation or an excuse to just let it happen uncontrolledly. However, simply the existence of drinking by teens is not by itself a wholly bad or wrong thing, and thinking it is is perhaps part of the problem. Much the same as drug education, alcohol ed. in this country is too obsessed on do=bad don't=good, black and white, no middle area type of dogma. It only causes conflicts, because it's simply not true. The message that kids recieve, then, is something along the lines of "There is a responsable way to consume alcohol, BUT YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO DO IT SO DON'T YOU DARE TRY TO!" which, considering the general nature of teens, is a sure bet to get them to try. (Also, I must concur with Carmenilla on the binge/overconsume mentality that's written deep into the American lifestyle, at least right now).

At any rate, I think vigilance on the part of the parents is the only real way to keep their kids (including their drinking) under some form of control. My parents were very vigilant, and while it didn't stop me from drinking in the slightest, finding ways to be discreet enough to escape their eyes kept me, on the whole, in contained, controlled environments where there was little chance that I could do harm to myself or others.

jonas 9 years, 10 months ago

By they way, that was in response to your first posts, not this last one.

Italian Princess: Speaking of you and your kids, I haven't seen your boy at Tae Kwon Do (I'd not call him "your boy" but I don't know what you're preferred level of anonymity is) recently. Are you still attending?

Jayhawk226 9 years, 10 months ago

Just random trivia (and an assertion of what a crummy winter will do to people!!!):

Binge drinking: The best and the worst states

¢ States with highest percentage of binge drinking among nonstudent adults:*

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Michigan
  3. Illinois
  4. Minnesota
  5. New Hampshire
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Delaware
  8. Iowa
  9. Colorado
  10. Vermont

¢ States with the lowest percentage of binge drinking among nonstudent adults:*

  1. Tennessee
  2. Kentucky
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Utah
  5. Arkansas
  6. North Carolina
  7. Alabama
  8. Georgia
  9. South Carolina
  10. Florida

http://www.coloradoan.com/news/coloradoanpublishing/alcohol/022405_states.html

Jayhawk226 9 years, 10 months ago

non-student adults were defined as being over the age of 25 and not enrolled in college.

bankboy119 9 years, 10 months ago

I'd compare America to Rome. Completely corrupt politicians with a very fickle mob. As long as the mob was appeased the politicians were happy because they kept control even though control was being lost throughout the rest of the world. Pretty soon it's all going to come crumbling down. Also Rome was known for everything to excess.

Confrontation 9 years, 10 months ago

Redneckgal: I don't have a problem with teen experimentation. I am referring to those parents who keep letting their kids get tanked without any punishment, or those who just give up control since "kids will be kids." Teens will experiment, but they do not need absolute freedomon, and this experimentation should not be encouraged. There is honestly no benefit to drinking, smoking, or doing drugs, so parents shouldn't make it seem that way.

jonas 9 years, 10 months ago

Confrontation: Sure there is. Alcohol can serve as a good ice-breaker for the same reason that excess of it can cause problems: the incremental dropping of inhibitions. Again, the problem comes from a lack of restraint or taught control, which turns a loosening of the tongue or a small gain in confidence into a Girls Gone Wild video. I don't have any urge to turn this into a propaganda post, but I still say there are some benefits to controlled legalization of pot.

Smoking, now, I probably have to agree with you. Having smoked, I can say I see no benefit to it all, at least in hindsight.

Carmenilla 9 years, 10 months ago

TOB, I'm right there with ya. Its not just the age thing its an individualized variety of factors that lead up to personal responsibility with drinking or anything really. Behavior is inevitably influenced by society though. No denying it despite the bubbles we build for ourselves.

lunacydetector 9 years, 10 months ago

before i had children, i would say if a person is old enough to die for their country (18 years old), then they are old enough to drink - but now i'm not so sure.

i partied a lot when i was younger. i also had two friends die from doing something stupid under the influence and i had one friend almost lose his life in a car accident. these people were also over 18. if they didn't drink when they were underage, would their lives be different today (still alive for 2, and able to walk for the other)? probably a safe bet they would be more mature in their actions if they started drinking later in life.

what was the question again?

GreenEyedBlues 9 years, 10 months ago

In school they had the local law enforcement and EMTs come out to stage a drunk driving accident. They made it as real as possible; most of us didn't realize that it was a demonstration. [I caught on because how often do teachers let you go outside to watch the goings-on of a car accident?]

Anyway, they took three kids and put costume blood all over them and set them in a busted-up car. One of the kids was actually zipped up in a body bag!!!

It was super scary.

GreenEyedBlues 9 years, 10 months ago

By the way...

If teens today aren't obeying the laws despite tangible threats of time in Juvenile Hall and DUIs, how can one expect to crack open a bible and tell them that an unseen force may or may not punish them in the afterlife? [Which I'm sure they've had plenty of time to contemplate in their 15-20 years of life]?

I know we can go 'round and 'round with this, but I just wanted to throw that out there.

BunE 9 years, 10 months ago

I think that we should just pour booze down their throats until they can't drink any more or pass out or die. Sort of like that smoke a carton of cigs in the closet that my dad...oops, I have said too much...

Stupid teenagers, In my day we were forced to drink beer because of the great milk shortage of the 80s.

enochville 9 years, 10 months ago

jonas: You said, "I don't see the acknowledgement that teen drinking will occur as the same as either a condonation or an excuse to just let it happen uncontrolledly." I agree with that statement. My point of the first paragraph of my 7:30am post, which your statement seems to be in response to, was the whole attitude of some that "there is nothing I can do" then they cite as evidence "because kids are going to do it anyway".

Then you said, "simply the existence of drinking by teens is not by itself a wholly bad or wrong thing, and thinking it is is perhaps part of the problem." Here we differ. You seem to believe that it is only the improper use of alcohol (binging, drunk driving, doing dangerous things that you wouldn't do sober, etc.) combined with the inexperience and immaturity of teens that is bad. If that were my belief then the arbitrariness of the drinking age would cause me to think that teens need to learn to be responsible with their drinking. If that were my thinking I could draw paralels to the requirement of being 15 to have a driver's permit and 16 to have a driver's license. We all need to be responsible drivers, so a teen's first experience driving should be under supervision so that they can learn to be responsible drivers.

I do not believe alcohol consumption is good for anybody. Now I am not moving to legislate a prohibition and by so doing put my beliefs of proper conduct into law that everyone must obey. But, I am suggesting that parents who believe it is wrong for teens to drink, or have sex for that matter, should not throw up their hands in desparation and say, "Well, since you're going to do it anyway I am not going to try to get you not to."

Most things are good in moderation, but many things are not good in any amount. Among them are rat poison, anthrax, heroine, cocaine, tobacco, etc. I consider that alcohol is a poison and is not good for consumption, no matter how old you are. You and many others would disagree with that. That is fine.

enochville 9 years, 10 months ago

Con't: Some posters have left messages today that suggest that they would agree with Hamlet that "Nothing is either good nor bad, but thinking makes it so." For people who feel this way, it is the fact that we have as a society labeled things good or bad that creates all the problems. I think this is only true for some people with psychological disorders. For example, a client with OCD may only have problems because he believes that shaking people's hands will contaminate him. If he quit believing that his problem would go away.

But, I think people need to understand that there are laws in this world that carry with them consequences, some of them that contribute to our well-being and optimal functioning and others that harm us or prevent us from optimally functioning. Almost all people are familiar with the laws of physics; they are no longer controversial as they have been in times past, so I'll start there. If you jump from a tall building with only clothes on you will fall to either serious injury or death. It does not matter whether you think of it as bad or not, the consequence will follow just the same and it is bad for you; therefore, jumping from tall buildings with no safety equipment is "bad".

Laws do not only exist in the physical world, but also in the biological world. Let's also move from 100% probability of a consequence like falling, to probabilities that are only high. If you have unprotected sex with someone who is HIV+, there is a high likelihood of contracting HIV, which will harm your body biologically; therefore, it is bad to have unprotected sex with someone who is HIV+, even though a bad outcome (like contracting the disease) won't happen every time.

Now, there are also laws with consequences in the social/emotional realm as well as the psychological realm. These laws are not very well understood because we just started studying them and the consequences are very probablistic and are easily hid by the consequences of other behaviors and beliefs. For instance, social scientists have shown repeatedly that idividuals who go to church often are happier and healthier (less psychological distress) than individuals who do not; therefore, as a general rule going to church is good for you. There is a main effect there, but it is probablistic. Clearly, not everyone receives such benefits from going to church. The reason why everyone does not recieve the benefit is because the effect of other idiosyncratic variables that differ for each person. For instance, one would not be healthier and happier for attending church if everytime he or she went, he or she was molested by a priest. There could be lots of other reasons, but the main effect is there.

enochville 9 years, 10 months ago

Con't Lucky, for us, we don't have to wait for scientists to discover all the behaviors that are good for us, because God has already told us what is good and what is bad. Now each society may add things which do not belong there or take away things from that list according to their beliefs, but the real laws still remain in force and the consequences will follow whether we believe them or not. It is sometimes hard for us to tell what is good for us or not just by thinking of examples because we have an easier time finding examples that support our views than those that don't. Also, since the consequences are so probabilistic and do not occur in isolation, but can be overshadowed by the consequences of other actions, it is hard to tell what was the result of this behavior and what was the result of that.

In conclusion, there is an objective "good" and "bad" and we will be wise to know the difference and choose the good. Otherwise, we sacrifice the optimal happiness that can only be had by living the principle. There is much more I could say, but I have gone on long enough, and will respond to comments as they come up.

Redneckgal 9 years, 10 months ago

HOLY COW! enochville! I take it your not posting from work! LOL

ms_canada 9 years, 10 months ago

As I said earlier, the legal age to drink here is 18. Some of the things that teens do cause more trouble than others. Here there is a rite of spring so to speak. It is the grad. bush party. Do you have those down there? Sometime in May the new grads organize a party out in the rural area, perhaps a campground or farmers field. They drive out there, drink all night and then the accidents happen and the deaths. Well when my grandson graduated last year, the parents did the organizing. Got the booze, organized the locale, hired a bus and driver, organized the food. One or two parents went along and the police knew about the whole thing, approved and looked the other way. The attitude was, they will do this anyway, so why not make it a deathless night instead of a grief filled night. The kids liked it and they had fun, although how one can call leaning against a tree puking your guts out, fun, I don't understand. But it was a worry free night also for the parents of the kids involved. Something to think about.

Linda Aikins 9 years, 10 months ago

Enochville, I'm sure your posts have tons of good information. But I, like TOB, will wait for the cliff notes. Most of us are at work (don't tell) and don't have time to read the long ones. Sorry. Luckily it wasn't directed at me! At least not yet.

"As a general rule we can't write anything longer than the average crap". Jeff Goldblum, The Big Chill

Ceallach 9 years, 10 months ago

Teenagers need a few more years to become mature mentally (as opposed to just being mature in places). I view lowering the drinking age back to 18 as sending a message that we do not care how much they mess up themselves or others as long as we don't have to deal with it through the courts, police hours, or parental supervision.

Does anyone else think our society seems to be rewarding children with drink, smoke and sex, just for growing older? The idea that "you can't until you are . . . .," seems to send that message. The "prizes" are dangled before their eyes like a carrot, without teaching them that some "adult" behavior is not socially acceptable at any age.

beatrice 9 years, 10 months ago

IP and bankboy, this was reported earlier this month. The answer appears to be that car crash videos are still shown in some areas.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- A 12-year-old girl in Tennessee who was watching a police presentation about drinking and driving unexpectedly saw a gruesome photo -- of the remains of her father.

The family didn't know the accident that killed him had involved alcohol, and the girl didn't recognize her father's formal first name when it was announced before the picture was shown last month.

The girl's mother said she was traumatized by the experience.

Her attorney said police made a terrible mistake. He's asking why 12-year-olds are shown mutilated dead bodies when they can't drive for another four years.

Knox County officials said they're looking into the incident.

lepchun 9 years, 10 months ago

Supervision of children yes. I'm sure everyone knows that children go to school children go home without the supervision because parents work. You can teach your children right from wrong. In the end that is their decision. Punish the child yes you can but than you have society on your back for abuse (physical or verbal), so don't lay it all on the parents back, if they want to drink than they will suffer the end result.

Ceallach 9 years, 10 months ago

lepchun: Perhaps I am misreading your post. "Don't lay it all on the parents back?"

Parents working does not relieve them of their responsibility to either personally supervise or pay someone else to supervise their children. "if they want to drink then they will suffer the end result" -- well if people want to raise children they should suffer the end result by being responsible for them until they are of age. Teenagers need supervision, although certainly not in the same way as an 8 or 10 year old. You cannot turn them loose and then say if they make a bad decision, they and they alone are responsible. Kids get into trouble with parents trying their best to supervise and guide them, but if you just turn them loose in such a cavalier manner they are bound to mess up.

staff04 9 years, 10 months ago

e_m: I don't know if activism is the right word for it, but I think it is positive nonetheless. I definitely agree that the number of people with a vested interest in the Lawrence community who come here to discuss/debate shows that Lawrence hasn't turned into a transient hellhole that so many college towns suffer from.

I've read some posts on this board that have made me take a second look at the way I am thinking about things. I'm pretty stubborn in my views, but at least I'll take a look to see what the other side of the argument has to say. I'm glad that this board gives me access to those views.

hottruckinmama 9 years, 10 months ago

beatrice..thats brings up a something that bothers me. i really didn't want my kids to see pictures of dead bodies in these video's to "teach" them something. especially my daughter as she tended to be really bothered by stuff like that. but their was no way for me to opt out like the religous parents get to do for sex ed.

enochville 9 years, 10 months ago

hottruckinmama: I am sorry that they did not let your daughter opt out. If you don't mind me asking, what was the job title of the person you talked to? People don't usually want to bear the responsibility of traumatizing a child due to law suits like beatrice cited above. I would think that there would be some way to opt out. Frankly, your case is stronger than opting out of sex ed for religious reasons. It isn't hard to demonstrate through scientific literature that pictures of gory dead people can psychologically traumitize a child.

sunflower_sue 9 years, 10 months ago

hot...momma, You can opt out of anything. But, from my own experience, the images I saw in "boaters safety" in HS are ones that I'll never forget! I'm an excellent swimmer, BUT, on a boat or just in the lake...life jackets are required in my bunch. I fully credit those images with my ultra cautious attitude.

del888 9 years, 10 months ago

Teens can't buy booze - only adults. If teens are drinking, it's because an adult furnished it to them. Blame the adult not the kids.

bankboy119 9 years, 10 months ago

del...have you ever been to El Mezcal? Or the Hawk for that matter? It's not always the parents that buy it. I was able to buy alcohol when I was 18 because no one checked my ID, all I had to do was grow some stubble.

enochville 9 years, 10 months ago

del: I agree that you need to hold the adult who bought or sold the alcohol to the teen responsible for their actions, but you also have to hold the teen responsible for their part. If a married woman had an affair with her co-worker, her husband would not only hold the co-worker responsible, but his wife as well. It takes two to tango.

realitycheck1 9 years, 10 months ago

Seems to me that there are a lot of people in Lawrence with a lot of time on their hands. Some of the comments posted here are just wise remarks with no real purpose. If you can't think of something to say that is of importance then please stop posting! What a bunch of worthless and useless comments! If you don't have teens in your family, or are a parent of a former teen, then you don't have a clue as how to parent. Mind your own business!

del888 9 years, 10 months ago

When I was 18 (YEARS AGO), the legal drinking age was 18. I could also buy before I was of legal age. However, it would cut down on a lot of teen deaths if the adults would act more like adults. I have heard a lot of stories about parents who hold parties for their high school aged kid and furnish beer at the party. That's just plain stupid. I once attended a graduation pary for twin boys who were graduating from high school. Their parents had a kegger for them, and there must have been 300 under age drinkers there. Needless to say, I left about 15 minutes after I arrived.

del888 9 years, 10 months ago

Hey realitycheck1 - look in the mirror

carol2007 9 years, 10 months ago

I think drinking should be banned altogether. It would solve the problem of underage drinking. Even adults can't handle drinking. Look at how many are invovled in car accidents, and look at how many are alcoholics. I was invovled with a couple of different organizations that were against drinking and all that stuff. Those organizations didn't help reduce the problem at all. We showed what could happen if they were in an accident, and the next week they were back out partying and drinking again. Those organizations don't help. Once teens find out they can drink without anyone finding out they will continue to drink no matter what. It's a probem that won't go away unless alcohol is banned altogether.

hottruckinmama 9 years, 10 months ago

carol if i remember correctly what i learned in 11th grade history we've already tried that once. it was called prohibition and it failed totally. the only folks that helped was the likes of al capone.

Ceallach 9 years, 10 months ago

Many young adults stop drinking and/or overdrinking for a variety of reasons as they mature. But there are always those who are unable to taper off or stop any behavior related to a drug. Very few posts have addressed the problem of alcoholism. I am particularly sensitive about the subject because I am the child of an alcoholic. My father joined the Army as a teenager and began drinking with the guys. A wife, a child and a World War later he was a high functioning alcoholic. For many years he was able to walk the razor's edge and balance his drinking with his family and work. But for some alcohol will not be denied total control and when he fell, he fell hard. For about 16 years his drinking wrecked any semblance of a home or family we may have built. Through AA he was able to regain himself and then we regained our father, but the scars still run deep.

Letting children experiment with alcohol just because teens will be teens is not going to impact them all equally. The more they are encouraged through supervision, etc., to avoid dangerous drinking habits and the more they are taught about the "other side" of alcohol's effects, the better chance they have of not ending up inside the bottle instead of holding it.

realitycheck1 9 years, 10 months ago

Hmmm. Enough said. I'm just pointing out how utterly useless your comments are! There are those who really do have good ideas on here. But, it seems that a few of you answer every column with useless words.

Linda Aikins 9 years, 10 months ago

Didn't we see that same exact post about worthless useless comments on this board not too long ago?

I'm so proud of us. How dare we have fun and be jovial.

Reality1, may I suggest you not frequent this board then? We probably won't change. I know I don't want to.

realitycheck1 9 years, 10 months ago

Must be authorities on every subject that comes up. Oh to have such a brilliant mind!

realitycheck1 9 years, 10 months ago

That's ok Gootsie, I will just read the posts from people with intelligence.

beatrice 9 years, 10 months ago

RC1: "If you don't have teens in your family, or are a parent of a former teen, then you don't have a clue as how to parent. Mind your own business!"

We all must have a say on this very serious topic, even those of us without children. We do have nephews and nieces, and we are concerned. Please remember RC1, it takes a village to raise a family.

(Okay, I just rolled my eyes so heavily as I typed the above that I honestly hurt myself.) Have an unintelligent weekend everyone!

Ceallach 9 years, 10 months ago

reality: You are entitled to your opinion and I don't agree with others about you not posting. This is a community board and by the fact that you are reading, you are part of the community. I have not seen your opinion on today's question. Since there are many posts, and presumably you have read most of them, do you have a problem with underage drinking? Some here do, some do not. If we all agreed, how interesting would that be?

If you are indeed a new poster as it appears, welcome to the board. If you are a regular that just wants to do a little spleen venting :) without it reflecting on your regular username --- shame on you!

enochville 9 years, 10 months ago

even_money: It sounds like a pretty decent life. I am very happy for you.

jonas 9 years, 10 months ago

Enochville: In actual curiosity, where does god tell us that we're not supposed to drink? Do you have a verse of scripture to support that assertion?

Or were you even making that assertion? It seems that you were.

Realitycheck1: Probably too late for you to read this, but thank you for being this season's "Man you guys must have no life/why are you all so pointless/cruel etc." person. It's probably good for the rest of us to have folks like you drop in every couple months, if for no other reason that to laugh and say "man, you must be new here"

http://us.inmagine.com/img/inspirestock/ispc007/isp0800442.jpg

italianprincess 9 years, 10 months ago

Jonas, If you get this before tomorrow, we will be back this coming week. Burned out thing I guess you could say.

To bad the young girl had to see her father's remains in that video. I would be quite upset also if I were her parent.

Did anyone read the article where the class prez from Free State was misqouted and he said that in his post? If not go and read it. I can see why hes the prez of the class now.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 9 years, 10 months ago

That's what I love about this joke of a liberal town. I didn't post one thing that could be considered offensive in my earlier post. Yet, here it's been removed because you "open-minded" thinkers felt that it just must have made too much sense. You are lame.

dream 9 years, 10 months ago

Underage drinking would not be a problem if the bars took checking ID's seriously. Instead the more notorious bars let them in as long as the ID shows 21. It's economics to them. Until those bars that flaunt the fact it is easy to get in when under 21, they will continue to do so until they lose their license or get too big of a fine. There is a big difference between door staff that really tries and those that don't turn away obvious fakes.

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