Underage Drinking & the Law

What parents need to know now about the new Social Host Laws

“Should You Drink with Your Kids?”

John Cloud, staff reporter for Time Magazine and Time.com, takes a close look at the new — and falling — statistics on underage drinking in high schools and colleges and makes a novel suggestion.  He states, “…there’s evidence that drinking with your kids–not buying them alcohol for a party but actually drinking with them at home–is a good way to teach responsible drinking behavior.” Cloud characterizes the current “calls to action” by the Surgeon General and the National Institutes of Health, among others, one of this nation’s “periodic alcohol panics.” He includes quotes from psychologist Stanton Peele, author of the 2007 book Addiction-Proof Your Child and Tom Horvath, past president of the American Psychological Association’s division on addictions.

Cloud notes that 30 of the 55 current Social Host laws in California do not specifically exclude a parent serving a drink to their own child, which would make his advice illegal in those communities. Cloud rightly calls the new Social Host laws “the most sweeping change in American alcohol-enforcement since Prohibition” and adds they give police “expansive powers”, a polite way of saying they have tossed away a central tenet of our American legal system: the law of evidence.

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To learn more:

“Should You Drink with Your Kids?” Time.com – June 19, 2008 – Byline: John Cloud

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