What parent doesn't want his/her teen and friends to think they are "cool"? That one parent who allows teenagers to drink alcohol, smoke pot, etc. But there can be a huge liability if you want to be "that" parent. There is a law entitled, "social host liability" that states:
- The legal age to drink alcohol is 21. Providing alcohol to underage guests or allowing them to drink alcohol in your home (even if you did not provide the alcohol) is against the law. and you are subject to criminal prosecution. Check the laws in your state.
- You can also be sued (civil suit) by the other parents. It is left up to a jury if you are liable and for how much. Your homeowners insurance will usually not cover a civil suit, and litigation can be very expensive and a long, drawn out process.
- You could be liable if you allow a guest under the age of 21 to drink alcohol in your home, and he/she becomes very ill or dies of alcohol poisoning or other injuries.
- You could be liable if you provide alcohol to a minor, who subsequently is involved in a motor vehicle crash causing death or injury to a third party.
- If underage drinking takes place in your home, you could be liable even if you were not present.
You may be thinking, "what parent in their right mind would give alcohol to teenagers", but take it from a mother who has been there, there are parents who think it is okay for their teen and friends to drink (and smoke pot) as long as they do it at home.
- Let your house be the "hangout" for your teen and his/her friends, well supplied with their favorite drinks and snacks (but no alcohol).
- Keep up-to-date on the current music/movies (but you don't have to be the expert).
- Listen...I can't say that enough. Your teen's friends may need an adult they can talk to (someone who is not judgmental). If needed, encourage the teen to talk to his/her parents.
- Show compassion to these teens. They may not have loving parents or a happy home life.
Do you want to be the "cool" parent, and if so, in what way?
*picture by: http://www.momaroo.com/745269391/embarassing-parents/