Blame the parents
Should parents take the legal rap if children use alcohol?
(Shawn Benjamin)
The sins of the fathers? In this case it’s the sins of the kids that will fall on the parents. If your under-16 child is caught drinking alcohol in Milan, you can expect a hefty impact on your wallet. In an effort to curb the huge underage drinking problem in the area, authorities are clamping down on under-16 drinkers. According to BBC News, parents face a fine of 500 Euros (around R5600), if their kids are caught drinking alcohol.

While I do believe parents are responsible for their children, can they realistically be expected to prevent teens from drinking when they are not with them? While I disagree with parents who routinely provide alcohol or turn a blind eye to their teen’s drinking, everyone who has been a teen knows how easy and tempting it is to experiment when you’re away from home.

It’s quite fun to imagine this law being enacted here in South Africa, considering the free availability of alcohol in many residential areas, and the number of children exposed to high alcohol use in their homes.

‘Enforcement of the law is very important at the place where people sell,’ Adrian Botha, director of the ARA, an alcohol-industry body aimed at promoting responsible alcohol use. ‘But parents are all important, so if this creates an awareness amongst parents, then that is a good thing. I doubt it would work in South Africa, we are such a lawless society. Yet we do need to keep encouraging parents to take responsibility.’

Do you think parents should be legally responsible if their children break the law? At what age should children be allowed to drink at all?

Read more by Adele Hamilton

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