NYT “Room For Debate”: Teenage Drinking Diaries

Two weeks ago, the New York Times hosted a panel discussion about social host laws as part of their ongoing Room For Debate feature. Over the weekend, the editors posted some responses from readers in an entry they called “Teenage Drinking Diaries.” Many of those readers embraced a new approach to alcohol education that prioritizes moderation and responsibility. Here’s a sampling of their comments:

“I live near the Canadian border. Quebec’s drinking age is 18, and the drunk driving laws are very strict. My parents believed in demystifying alcohol. From a young age (around 12), my sisters and I were allowed to have wine on special occasions. I never liked the taste, or the effect. Aside from 1 or 2 occasions in college, I never felt the urge to drink once I left home. I’m in my 30s, and I haven’t had a drink in over 10 years.

I don’t have kids myself, but I’m also disturbed by the current trend of treating teens like infants until they turn 18, at which point they’re completely on their own. How can you develop a sense of responsibility when you can’t be held responsible for anything?” – Liz

“What would you rather have? Kids experiencing the effects of alcohol with the guidance of their parents, or kids experiencing alcohol for the first time with their peers shouting ‘chug, chug, chug’ at them?” – Dash

Check out the rest of this weekend’s Room For Debate post to see the other contributions, and let us know what you think in the comments.

One Response to “NYT “Room For Debate”: Teenage Drinking Diaries”

  1. Edwin Says:

    The drinking age must be lowered to 18 along with its important components. The provinces of Quebec, Alberta and Manitoba respect the age of majority by having their drinking age at 18. Liz is correct because for too many young women and young men in the United States, alcohol is thought as an indulgence. Dash is correct because young adults are not going to learn alcohol responsibility by chugging alcohol in university but parents can teach better than anyone else. Home is the place to learn responsibility.