A lot of young individuals between the ages of 12 and 20 have tried some sort of alcohol. According to centurycouncil.org, in the age group of 12-20 year olds, approximately 6.9 million (18%) reported having engaged in binge drinking and 2.1 million (6%) in heavy drinking. The amount of drinking that is happening with underage drinker should be declining, but with the unimpressive numbers, underage drinking is out of control.
One way to decrease the numbers is to find the proper punishment for underage drinkers. In New Jersey, the parent of an underage drinker can be held liable for the amounts of alcohol their child and their friends drink. In addition, they can be held accountable for “serving” underage drinkers on their property. The punishment for anyone in New Jersey who serves a minor a alcoholic drink can be fined up to $ 1,000 and/or up to 6 months of prison (State of New Jersey, 2c:33-17a).
This type of punishment for anyone serving or providing alcohol to a minor is very common is most states. Now, the punishment to a minor can have a longer lasting effect that just a fine or short term in prison. The laws around underage drinking are called Zero Tolerance Laws. Some examples of the zero tolerance infraction are; 10 day suspension from school and revoked driver’s license. If the student was actually caught drinking and driving while under age, the punishment can be more severe. There is even a chance the child may not get their drivers license until much past sixteen. This would be devastating for a lot of teenagers who count on driving around and seeing friends on weekends as well as during the summer month.
The best and swiftest type of punishment for underage drinkers is a combination of both official and home punishment.
The first time a teenage is caught participating in underage drinking the punishment should fit the situation. This will help deter the kid from trying the activity again. The best thing a parent can do is be overly involved in a kid’s life, this will take time and effort from the parent or guardian. In the long run, it’s just what the kid needs. Communication is key. Speak to your teen about what was going on for them when they were impulsive.
Many teens are able to open up and also to think about the consequences of their actions. Many sports’ teams in high school will suspend someone for a certain number of games if they are caught with alcohol. This often is quite effective as participation in sports is seen as very important to most on the team. When people post pictures on social media sites of parties involving alcohol, school officials are often notified and this is something for your teen to understand.
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