Talking about underage drinking -- Gazette.Net


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Recent media coverage of a beach week party gives parents and under-21s alike multiple opportunities to apply critical-thinking skills to the beach-week tradition, parent and youth responsibilities regarding underage drinking, and upholding personal integrity by admitting a mistake without ambiguous, defensive language. ... [“Gansler’s soul searching,” editorial, Oct. 30]

To define their own moral compass, parents first need to decide whether they would want another adult, whom they might not even know, to intervene if that adult observed their child in a risky or illegal situation and contact them, for the sake of their child’s safety and well-being. If a parent does want this action taken, he/she should be prepared to do the same for other children.

Underage drinking is not a rite of passage. ... Parents can set limits on beach week — or any teen gathering — from saying “no” to requiring law-abiding adults actively supervise the event, and the parents of any youth who breaks any law will be called to pick up their child.

Let us give our children the message that when you make a mistake, take full responsibility with clear language that you were wrong, what you learned, and how you will make amends if possible, or at least how you will be more responsible in the future.

Under 21s, you know right from wrong and the legal drinking age, and you are still a few years out from a mature frontal lobe. Talk with your parents about how to define safe vs. dangerous risks (those that do irreversible harm to self and/or others), and whether a dangerous risk is worth putting your future on the line.

You are smart enough to do the right thing, if you just give yourself the chance!

Whatever mistakes parents or under 21s make, regardless of how many times or their rationale, both groups have an opportunity to grow and improve, and nothing is forcing them to repeat any mistake.

Patty Winters, Derwood

The writer is the coordinator of the Brave and Bold Coalition.