Written by Mariah J. Garratt || Photo by JESHOOTS.com on Stock Snap
Even if you and your spouse have rules for your teen about underage drinking, the holiday season can put you in an awkward place with relatives who might not be on the same page.
Whether you decide to serve alcohol for those who are of-age, or agree to eliminate the potential risks altogether, here are a number of ideas to keep in mind.
Remember: As of 2012, Illinois Governor, Pat Quinn, enacted Social Host Law, shifting legal liability to parents who provide alcohol to underage youth. This can mean upwards of a $500 fine to those found to be providing liquor to minors and even higher consequences for incidents where harm or even death might occur.
- Step 1: Discuss with of-age family members that you want to set a responsible example for teens. This includes setting a strong standard for all adults to prevent drinking and driving. Your child needs to know it’s never okay to get in the car with someone who is drunk behind the wheel.
- Step 2: Especially be certain to have a chat with any newly legal drinkers. Remind them that they are a role model. Also, if they provide alcohol for a younger sibling, friend, or cousin they will be liable.
- Step 3: Attempt to establish a shared standard with other parents of teens. Avoid the potential of one child, whose parents may be more lax, being able to influence the rest. Let your child know what your expectations are, even if not all your relatives agree.
- Step 4: Think ahead and plan activities so there are not a lot of empty spaces and silence. Keep the energy in the room up so that no one feels the temptation of drinking in order to avoid moments of boredom or social anxiety. (This can be a helpful solution for adults and minors alike!)
- Step 5: If you do choose to have alcohol available for those who are of-age, make drinks available for a limited period of time, ideally towards the beginning of the party to avoid anyone driving under the influence. Consider also…
- Offering mindful servings to your adult consumers to avoid excessive use, which sets a bad example for minors.
- Keeping any liquor in an area where you know it won’t be snuck away out of sight by minors.
- Step 6: If you are the host, you will need to stay sober through the course of the night. Due to Social Host Laws you can be legally liable for the events that take place under your roof.
Don’t let the holiday season make you stressed! Despite the potential awkwardness, know that keeping your child healthy is a gift you can give yourself this year.