Teen Happy Hours: Study Proposes a Weekly Alcohol Allowance for the Children

250px-cocktail1Given our earlier story of how English parents are no longer allowed to buy alcohol with their teenagers present at the store, this may be a bit of a mixed message. A study has concluded that parents should supply alcohol to their teenagers at home rather than have them venture out for more dangerous liaisons. The researchers propose a weekly alcohol allowance for teens.

Study leader Professor Mark Bellis of Liverpool John Moores University found that teens often combine alcohol abuse with sexual encounters that they later regret. The best way to keep the children from such encounters and later problems is to give them a weekly alcohol allowance.

Such a program of introducing alcohol at a younger age will allow teens to “prepare themselves for life in an adult environment dominated by this drug.”

However, you need to leave them at home when you run to the store.

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28 thoughts on “Teen Happy Hours: Study Proposes a Weekly Alcohol Allowance for the Children”

  1. Mikeyes,
    I think you missed my point. I am against prohibition of any mind altering substance, not as an advocate of them, but because it simply doesn’t work to deter use. I use the alcohol/pot comparison simply to illustrate how one is legal (due to the experience of its attempted prohibition) and the other puts people in jail, while truly being more benign. Because I know longer indulge doesn’t mean I’m against the use of mind altering substances, I’m not. The need for religious zealots and hypocritical politicians to mount phony wars against what has been a human prediliction for at least ten thousand years (I suspect from the discovery of the first herbal psychoactive which could put it back 100,000 years or more)should be recognized and I think it would be surprising at how much less damage would be inflicted than by draconian

  2. “The real point is to make an association that “drinking to excess” = “acting childish”.”

    What you say is true, however, it comes up against all of the commercials for alcoholic beverages that I watched in just last Sunday’s pro football games. You see plenty of images for groups of guys drinking beer and acting like jerks. The underlying message is that for young men of drinking age acting like a jerk is normal and part of the fun. In the commercials for harder alcohol, the portrsayal is sophistication, even as the characters are in attendance at wild, booze fueled parties. These are difficult images to counteract with any program and I suspect they lead to a lot of alcohol excess.

  3. I grew up in a German American family. As children we were all allowed a drink of beer now and then. Strangely, we all grew up to be normal adults! None of us became alcoholics. In Germany and many other European countries there is no drinking age. Americans have this hangup with what people do in their homes. Yet they call themselves the land of the free, what hypocrites. I have also always found it funny, that the people who bang the abstinence drum the loudest, are those who can’t learn to moderate their own drinking. The same goes for drugs. There are plenty of people who smoked or still smoke pot, or have tried other drugs without turning into sociopathic addicts.

  4. I’ll sometimes argue that tweeners should have a few special classes where they get wasted… and videotaped. The teacher then uses the tapes in lessons for the next few weeks.

    But that’s not the real point.

    The real point is to make an association that “drinking to excess” = “acting childish”. Something teens are loathesome to do — the fastest way to get them to stop doing something is to convince them it’s something a younger sibling would enjoy. Mix this with parents and other adults demonstrating drinking in moderation and you would be sending a strong signal against excessive use.

    A bit more realistic approach is based on how I’ve read that there’s fewer problems in families where drinking is ritualized, e.g., even teens have wine at church, everyone including children has wine or grape juice at sit-down dinners, etc. Tweens and teens would slowly move from grape to a bit of real wine to a single full glass. Again it normalizes responsible consumption and excessive use (supposedly) becomes far less attractive.

  5. Mike,

    When you mentioned “GB” at first I made the connection to Green Bay, WI. In Wisconsin children can drink in public as long as they are supervised by their parents. (So it is not against the law for a teen to drink as long as his or her parent approves, but you can’t let your child’s friends drink too, that is illegal.)

    Of course, WI also has one of the highest per capita alcoholism rates in the world and the third highest per capita beer consumption.

    Most of this is cultural. WI was populated by Germans and a smattering of Irish and has not been subjected to top down attempts at prohibition (other than the Constitutional Amendment, of course.)

    As the Lutherans say, “Martin Luther’s wife made beer.”

    I don’t think it makes sense to condemn alcohol and then state that “the use of Cannabis and its’ effects are far less harmful to society than those of alcohol.” Mostly it is a matter of access and scope. While one can make a case that alcohol is “more harmful”, that might not be true per capita comparing similar usage patterns. Even if so, the issue is not what is worse, but what to do about abuse/addiction and that becomes a public policy issue. Until those policies are in place (one of which is the issue of legality) then no amount of kvetching is going to help.

  6. Mike,

    Never thought you were. I was just commenting that booze does have some benefits as well as it’s downside.

  7. Also, once in a long while, when out to dinner with friends I might have a shot or two of Tequila Patron Gold, my favorite. That is not very often though, perhaps thrice in a year. The rest of the time I simply have no urge.

  8. Gyges,
    I’m not anti-booze, or any other stimulent for that matter. I just gave it up voluntarily because it no longer did anything for me personally. My wife drinks and my friends drink. I maintain a well stocked liquor cabinet and many bottles of wine. I also don’t think myself superior to anyone who likes to get high and I do remember how much fun it used to give me.

  9. Nothing as “mouth watering” as an ice-cold Carta Blanca with a basket of hot tortilla chips and spicy salsa!

  10. Mike,

    In defense of booze:

    There are well documented positive health effects to moderate drinking (of all sorts of alcohol not just wine).

    For better or for worse beer drinking is a major part of many cultures for a very simple reason: it was sterile. At times when you couldn’t get a glass of water that wouldn’t make you sick, beer was always free of germs. Not to mention the added benefit of being filling and having nutrients, the traditional miners lunch in New Castle was a beer, a hunk of bread and cheese. Double Bocks were originally brewed in German Monasteries to help sustain them through the fasting during Lent.

    Then there’s the religious aspect. Mead, Wine, Beer, and hard cider have all been the “drink of the gods.” The reason that apples are traditionally the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is because the Early Roman church was seeking to discredit the early Celtic Christians who used hard cider in their sacraments instead of wine. The oldest surviving recipe for beer is actually a prayer to a Sumarian Goddess.

  11. Mike, I had a friend who stopped smoking cigarettes, he said it was harder than kicking heroin, despite the fact he never used heroin. I believe nicotine addiction is a”serious” problem in our society. I used to “dip copenhagen” for a few years in my twenties. When I would backpack into the Los Padres national forest, I would bring a couple of tins of snuff. My friends and I wouls sit around the campfire at night and drink “Yukon Jack” and dip snuff. I was briefly addicted to this stuff and had to go cold turkey to stop, I haven’t touched “copenhagen” in years and never will again. I liked the taste of tobacco too much, also the nicotine “buzz”..

  12. Mike, I have a nickname for you, “Wild Child”. You are truly “wild”, but I dig your posts.. “Fat Joint”, gotta love it!

  13. I loved “Reefer Madness”. This hysterical film gave me a barrels worth of entertainment. I never stopped laughing throughout. Hey, did anybody ever see the movie “the Unknown”, with Lon Chaney, it was one of the last silent pictures ever made? It was on TMC last night, and I had seen it before. It was one of the eeriest and freakiest films I have had the good fortune to view, very eerie film with a modern soundtrack to add to the moody atmospheric quality of the film..

  14. Billy,
    I’m suspicious of those studies because of who funds them. I smoked grass daily for 20 years. Used to write some of my A Masters papers after a fat joint. Didn’t affect my intellect.
    However, I stopped cold after I became a parent because I wanted to ensure that my attention was focused on my kids. Found that after not getting high for so long I didn’t need it and I no longer drink alcohol either, even though it wouldn’t interfere with my health and I never was a problematic user. One can really learn to activate their own endorphins.

    My point though was that the use of Cannabis and its’ effects are far less harmful to society than those of alcohol. That was in tandem with the point that prohibiting victimless crimes works only to society’s detriment. Don’t get me started on cigarettes though, which to me is the worst drug of all and the hardest to kick. It took me forty-five years.

  15. My friend’s dad let us drink at his house during high school as long as we gave him our keys and didn’t go anywhere. I feel like the experience really helped me learn about alcohol before I went to college (or high school parties where there were no parents or anything around). I know the law says that kind of behavior is illega, but I can’t help but think that if kids had more experience with alcohol they wouldn’t go so crazy at college and get so many DUIs (I bet that I know more people who have had a DUI than haven’t… no joke).

  16. Mike, as usual that was a masterful post. My friend, you should post for the New Yorker. Gotta tell ya, I think the use of “grass” ain’t so harmless. Studies done, have showed the deleterious effects to long term use of “weed”. Lung cancer and possible chromosomal damage not to mention gynecomastia have all been linked to an overindulgence of “weed”. I had friends in high school that smoked a lot of grass and never finished high school, some are still trying to get their GED!

  17. Was it not Great Briton that supplied every sailor with a weekly ration of Rum? Makes total sense to me.

    Busch still gives it employees two cases of beer a month as part of the pay.

    I grew up in a household where alcohol was the social norm. But only ever day ending in that ended in “Y.” It took a while for me to figure out that I was one that could not drink sanely nor make a sane decision once I did make a decision to drink. It became quite a conundrum. I can remember having sips of my mother beer at the age of 5. She was a nurse, made sense then. Today, not so much.

  18. Alcohol abuse in the US, GB and elsewhere is the number one substance abuse problem and it is legal. I’ve never been to GB, but from what I read, it is an alcohol infused culture that has little understanding of the potential harm. Meanwhile, a relatively harmless intoxicant such as marijuana is viewed as a threat to normative society. The image of drunk soccer fans slugging it out infuses my perceptions, as does a culture where people of all ages and marital status spend their evenings in pubs.
    Finally, the study’s tie in with alcohol and sexuality adds icing to this failed cake.

    Prohibition of any kind never works. The obsession of do-gooders against the human tendency towards pleasure, fueled by religions who define sin as pleasure rather than harm to one’s fellow humans, makes for these failed policies that cause considerable harm and do us no appreciable good.

    As far as drinking at home with the kids, it reminds me that when at thirteen I began to smoke cigarettes (before the first surgeon generals report), my father who allowed it taught me how to inhale, which I didn’t do at first, so that I wouldn’t look effeminate when I smoked. Considering that both my parents, heavy smokers, died at 54 and that my own health can be problematic, I look askance at such solutions to problems that are so often misunderstood.

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