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Should Parents be Allowed to Purchase Alcohol for Their Children Younger Than 21?

Wisconsin reportedly has a law that allows it and Colorado is considering one.

The Denver Post recently reported that a Republican lawmaker plans to introduce a bill in the Colorado legislature that would allow restaurants and bars to provide alcohol to young adults, older than 18 but younger than 21, if their parents are on hand to make the purchase. It reports that Wisconsin has a similar law.

The Post reports the congressman was introducing the bill after not being able to share a drink with his daughter on her 20th birthday. Another argument was that parents of members of the military would also then be able to buy their children a drink to celebrate their return from a tour of duty.

What do you think — good idea? Or why not leave it the way it is — another three years is not long to wait?

Sherry Lambert January 10, 2013 at 03:52 PM
WHAT!? Heck no...21 years old to drink and only drink responsibility!!
Michael Robinson January 10, 2013 at 03:58 PM
Only if we can be sure the < 21 person understands the biological and potential social consequences of drinking.
Darrell Moore January 10, 2013 at 05:51 PM
NO!! Its supplying alcohol to a minor!!! There is a law on the books forbidding that.
Bluedobee January 10, 2013 at 06:11 PM
Lower the age to 18. Personally I think it hypocritical that an 18 year old is considered knowlegable and responsible enough to vote and/or to offer his or her life for their country, but then we deem then not responsible or knowledgable enough to handle alcohol. That's ridiculous.....
Justin Rempe January 10, 2013 at 06:17 PM
Folks, there are plenty of 30-80 year olds that are not physically or mentally responsible enough to drink alcohol. Age is simply a number. Maturity of the individual is everything. Maybe they need a test to take (like getting a driver's license)...
Watts January 10, 2013 at 06:25 PM
I think that this is one of the dumbest ideas ever. It puts too much judgement call on the establishment. What are they supposed to do, be checking ID's to see if names match? What if you have a daughter who married at 18 and had her last name change. Or a 19 year old meets their biological parent. Or the person who had the drug addicted parent who had to give the child over to be raised by an aunt and uncle who took on the role of parenting. I could sit here all day rattling off such quandaries of the modern family and what is the expectation of the teenage waiter (or 22 year old manager) at Chili's supposed to be when they start hearing story after story about why an older person feels that they have the right to buy alcohol for an underage person. And there is an infinite amount of such scenarios that you could come up with that anybody could just say that one was their case and is some employee supposed to stand there and try to guess if the person is lying or not? What we should do is simply drop the drinking age to 18 and forget about this other nonsense. It is insane that we think that somebody is old enough to vote and determine political outcomes in this nation or that we are ready to arm them and send them to foreign countries at the age of 18, yet we don't think that they are responsible enough to drink. It used to tick me off when I was 18 to 20, but even well beyond that now, it is embarrassing as a nation that we still have a drinking age of 21.
Watts January 10, 2013 at 06:27 PM
Sorry, didn't mean to apear as if I was just duplicating your points, but I was typing while yours was getting posted and I only saw it afterwards. But obviously, I agree 100%!
chloi January 10, 2013 at 06:28 PM
That's a tough one at that, old enough to serve our country, but underage to drink. Maybe those "in" the service should be able to drink at 18, but must show there ID of being in the service. Someone not in, no then? As far as parents buying for 18 till 21, then "if" someone drives and hurts another person because of them buying it for them. They should be help responsiable also. It is a good question, but what's a good anwser? Just a thought.
chloi January 10, 2013 at 06:31 PM
Some good point's there!
Bluedobee January 10, 2013 at 06:44 PM
That's OK...I too agree 100%
Watts January 10, 2013 at 08:45 PM
I don't know if it is a state by state thing or if it even exists at all, but in college in New Haven, CT, I used to work the door of a club and military people who were 18 to 20 were allowed to drink. They had to have an active military ID and a matching state ID (any state) or matching passport, but that was as good as a valid ID from anybody else showing them to be 21. This was back in the mid 80's, so who knows if thats till applies. Also, while I am all for extending extra social benefits like this for our military, I was talking more about anybody who is of the same age that we feel is responsible enough to enlist in our military should be seen as responsible enough to drink. As Justin very accurately pointed out above, the number itself is almost irrelevant in how responsible anybody is going to be with alcohol at any age.
Susan January 11, 2013 at 05:04 AM
I was 18 when the drinking age was 18 so 21 has always seemed ridiculous to me if you are considered legally responsible for your actions at 18. Another point I would like to bring up is I feel that lowering the age to 18 might curb some of the excess that sometimes happens in the 18-21 year old group as they are sneaking liquor and the group is hiding themselves away to drink it. A lot more chance of everyone overdoing it there. If they were allowed to be in a controlled setting hanging out maybe there would not be as much overindulgence. Yes legally they are not allowed to drink but the majority are doing it anyway. They are hiding away in groups and driving anyway f they are irresponsible that way. As someone pointed out, an older age doesn't always bring sound judgement wit it. Most of your 18-21 year olds have been drinking since high school. And you can't say not my kid because it probably is your kid too. By college when they are no longer anywhere near home sometimes, better it be somewhere most of the time where a bartender can make a judgement call and cut them off. Where it is a little harder perhaps to overindulge. In my day there was the rats at colleges where everyone hung out. There are is also something exciting and dangerous about being in that in between and it not being legal that I thinks makes it more enticing.
Kenneth Stepp January 11, 2013 at 10:55 AM
I have 5 children. Two are under 21, one is under 18. 21 Is a good age to legally drink in my opinion. I'd hate to see it lowered.
Tammy Osier January 11, 2013 at 11:20 AM
How about instead of dropping the drinking age to match the voting age, raise the voting age to match the drinking age lol
LP. January 11, 2013 at 12:08 PM
I don't have a problem with this. An 18 year old is considered to be an ADULT, not a minor. They can vote & risk their lives for our country. Perhaps if they have a drink with their parents they learn moderation? And to Watts talking about the teenaged waiter or 22 yr old manager, they already deal with id's every day anyway to make sure someone is 21, just saying. So yes, if they are with their parents or an adult. Better still, lower the drinking age to 18. 21 is ridiculous to start with.
Good Grief Y'all January 11, 2013 at 12:15 PM
A lot of 18 yr olds are still in high school. That's too young a mind-set for alcohol use. Yes, some will get it anyway, no doubt. IMO it shouldn't be legal to put more alcohol-influenced drivers on the road. The law curtails most of that. There are big consequences if caught or involved in an accident. Plus, insurance rates would skyrocket for those drivers, probably all of us. There was a time when seat belts weren't required and passengers could drink in vehicles - open containers allowed, even a time when people thought nothing of driving after drinking or drinking and driving. It was a time of do as you please and, oh-well attitudes if something went wrong. Let's not add to our problems.
Good Grief Y'all January 11, 2013 at 01:48 PM
The military is all volunteer now. No draft as in the Vietnam era.
r patton January 11, 2013 at 04:28 PM
Let me see now, the law says you have to be 21...........ummmmmmmm NOPE.
r patton January 11, 2013 at 04:29 PM
I have a better idea, if you don't pay taxes (52% of citizens don't) you CAN NOT vote. Good idea?
Good Grief Y'all January 11, 2013 at 04:36 PM
Sort of like those good old Jim Crow laws (poll tax), huh rp? That's unconstitutional, so not a good idea.
Elizabeth January 11, 2013 at 04:44 PM
I agree, Becky! When we are out to eat with my adult children and I am paying, they do not assume I am paying for alcohol. They know I will not. Also, why does every celebration for some people have to be celebrated with alcohol?
Pamela January 11, 2013 at 06:37 PM
It's really about the message that is being sent by buying your kid a drink, not the age at which they should be able to drink. Are you making the statement that special occasions should be celebrated with alcohol, that they are special when they are bought a drink, or that they're more grown up and/or respected when they drink? Generally the statement that is made to the kid is "the law really isn't all that important to me so I'm going to support not only your underage drinking, but I'm also going to support your disrespect of the law". I've always found that baking a cake that they like or making their favorite dinner and spending time with them conveys the message I want to send a whole lot better! Changing the law for that reason is ridiculous! I don't truly believe that age has much to do with responsibility when it comes to drinking - I've seen some 40 year olds that shouldn't be able to drink. But, the line has to be drawn somewhere, and as parents our biggest responsibility is to teach them to respect it even when we don't agree with it.
Good Grief Y'all January 11, 2013 at 07:30 PM
Very well said, Pamela!
Dusty Graham January 11, 2013 at 09:14 PM
Why not allow adults to model and participate in behavior to train young adults on how to interact with alcohol? We don't just give a sixteen-year-old the keys and say "now you magically know how to drive" nor to we toss a six-year-old a baseball and expect them to know how to play. We participate in these activities with them and show them how it's done. Why shouldn't the same model be used with alcohol? At twenty-one, anyone in the USA can buy as much alcohol as they wish and use it how they wish. If they have nothing to model against, they can endanger themselves and others. Give parents the rights that many other countries already enjoy. Share a glass of wine with their children. Teach them to respect the grape, then perhaps we would not have to deal with so many unfortunate consequences.
Karsten Torch January 11, 2013 at 11:47 PM
Dusty, thank you. Great points. In most of Europe, the drinking age doesn't really exist. In Germany, or at least it buses to be this way, there was a minimum age to be in a bar after a certain time. And they don't have the problems with binge drinking we have here. I don't drink, but I don't think it's my place to restrict parents in that way. Moderation is the key. Too much sugar is bad for children too, yet we're ok with allowing parents to make the decisions regarding that. The trick is we have to expect people to be responsible. And that may be the problem in this country....
Good Grief Y'all January 12, 2013 at 12:46 AM
Well, too many adults can't handle alcohol and are poor parental role models. I agree there should be awareness and education about using alcoholic beverages in moderation, education on the risks, recognizing destructive tendencies toward addiction, etc. Not everyone is going to be a teetotaler, religious influence or not.
Good Grief Y'all January 12, 2013 at 12:50 AM
Many parents probably do educate their older children about alcohol in the privacy of their own home. You can't and shouldn't try to legislate that. I don't think breaking the law in a public place should be encouraged, and I don't think the legal age should be lowered. There's plenty of adulthood awaiting, God willing, indulgence or enjoyment - whichever way you view alcohol.
Amy January 12, 2013 at 02:09 AM
Does anyone remember the fat smoking baby in Indonesia? The longer we put off bad habits, the better. If you're that much into celebrating with your kid, take a vacation to Mexico or French Canada where the drinking age is 18.
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew January 12, 2013 at 03:32 AM
2nd on raising the voting age to 21... Raise the drinking age 26 if healthcare coverage is provided by the parent! 21 otherwise.
Shane Reynolds January 12, 2013 at 02:34 PM
Absolutely. The country needs parents to be actually parent, and I don't want to parent anyone else's children. If they decide this is how they want to introduce alcohol to their young adults, it's not really any of my business. They would be exposing themselves to legal liability if their kids were to drink and drive or otherwise cause damage, but the alternative for most is that their sons and daughters turn 21 away from home where their only guidance is other 21 year-olds.

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