This time of year...

May 3, 2013 

Each year as the weather turns warmer and kids, slowly, check out of their high school routines, we inevitably see it – an increase in underage drinking.

While no community or school district is immune to this problem at any time of the year, it usually rears its head around graduation and prom time.

Kids, especially seniors, gain a little more freedom. And parents, unfortunately, sometimes get a little lax on the topic.

We even see some parents willingly throwing so-called “house parties” for high school kids under some pretty faulty reasoning.

High school was a while ago for me, let’s just say 20-ish years. But I still remember some moms and dads discussing the “it’s safer if they drink with me” argument about these parties.

Problem is, these kids still usually have to drive home. More likely, though, they are leaving these parties and going to other ones.

That’s a dangerous game to play, obviously.

I remember growing up being scared to death to even be around alcohol, much less consume it in front of adults.

Ah, the healthy fears that came with growing up. Perhaps that’s what some of these kids are missing.

Access to alcohol at that age is dangerous enough. You couple in a minor-in-possession charge, a trip to court and some time in front of a judge, and perhaps you have a rehabilitated teenager.

On the other hand, some kids just don’t learn.

In rural and urban communities alike, the issues of teenage drinking loom over us at all times, it seems.

I remember some of our best athletes and smartest kids in high school making some really ill-advised decisions regarding drinking. I learned early on that everyone is susceptible and the police really don’t care how good you are on the football field or what you just scored on the ACT.

The biggest difference for me now, though, compared to 20 years ago, is how enabling some parents have become to supplying alcohol.

Kids are going to make silly decisions on their own. All the time, in fact. They learn from it and grow from it. We all did.

But adding in the extra pressure – and make no mistake, that’s what these house parties turn into – of parents supplying the booze, and we end up almost endorsing something we shouldn’t here.

Here’s to a safe month of May, and beyond, for all Cass County graduates and teens.

Take advantage of the lives you have ahead of you.

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