The town next to ours has decided that this year’s prom go-ers must take district provided transportation to the prom. For an extra $11 added to the tickets, students MUST take a chartered coach to the prom. Anyone refusing to take this will not be allowed to go to the event.
Why? What craziness is involved here? Why alcohol of course! Last year, some students snuck alcohol into the prom. Over the summer, a recent graduate of this high school died in a car accident, coming home from a party where, surprise, alcohol was served. To prevent this, the district decided that all students must forgo the limos and arrive in a bus.
To me, this is bullshit at its highest form. What are we telling these kids? You are 16,17 and 18. Here is the event where you go and show how you can act and be adults in our society. And we are going to babysit you while you go!
There has to be a better way to address the alcohol situation in our society. Why do we treat our children as, well, children until they turn 18 or 21 and then BOOM! let them loose? Why can’t we slowly increase their responsibility?
Both of our girls have already had a taste of alcohol. At 8 days old, at their Brit Bats. On Friday nights, when Jay can drink, we have wine and the girls both get 1tsp. It is part of the Jewish tradition to celebrate with wine and bread. Our family goal is to teach our girls to respect alcohol. I see no problem with underage drinking IF it is done with the parents, under supervision. We need to teach our children to respect alcohol as a society. Teach them young. Let’s not make it a forbidden fruit.
Unless there is a history of alcoholism in the family, I believe that Americans need to teach our families how to drink alcohol. Like caffeine, it is a drug. But it is a depressant, not a stimulant. We need to introduce alcohol to our children in small amounts. We need to keep an open discussion from toddler hood to adulthood. When is alcohol appropriate? Is binge drinking ever appropriate? How does alcohol affect you? What to depressants do to your body? Why should you not drive or even attempt to get in a car with someone who has been drinking? Why should you avoid parties with alcohol? What consequences has society set up for underage drinking?
If there is a history of alcoholism, we need to discuss this early with our kids. If there was heart disease or cancer, would you not share this? At the right age, sure! But kids will start drinking early, some as early as middle school, so let’s address these thing early. Alcoholism is a disease. If you have it, your child might. Explain this. Explain how an addiction can take over one’s life.
As a society, sex and alcohol are glamorous and exciting. As parents, we need to step back from "society" and deal with these issues. Discuss these things with your kids. Not a simple "don’t drink". An honest discussion. Let them ask questions. Let them ask when you started drinking. Let them know the stupid things you have done while drunk. Let them understand the dangers and the pluses.
And most of all, let them know that you are always there to talk to about alcohol, or anything. From an early age. Because these things will hit them sooner than you think. Be aggressive. Be proactive. Talk to your family…