Do we know what our children are faced with today? Can we make a difference in their lives? I say yes.
I say that, when it comes to our children, nothing should be more precious. Yet we choose to ignore them in ways that we may not even be conscious of.
It is much easier in this day and age to put our children in another room with the latest videogames than to pay attention to their needs. We raise them the best we can and expect them to just get it.
I believe that life has become more complicated and peer pressure on the youth is much greater. They need us now more than ever. We make decisions every day of our lives. We know what is right and what is wrong. We know how to say no.
We choose for whatever reasons, however, to make bad choices. With the prom and graduation season upon us, it is time to take charge of our choices involving under-age drinking. Year after year, parents make choices to buy kegs of beer and throw parties in their homes using a plethora of excuses and justifications for their children (young adults in their eyes) to drink — coming of age, so to speak.
They believe that it is better to have them drunk at home than on the street. They allow other children to stay and drink in their home with other parents’ permission, and they believe that this is all right. They believe that nothing will happen as long as it is chaperoned, yet, year after year, deaths occur due to over-indulgence.
They drink themselves to death or get away from the party and crash and kill themselves or others, usually innocent third parties. We as adults, half the time, can not control the amount of alcohol we consume once we get started.
So who are we to try and limit the children when we give them permission to drink? How do we decide that they had too much or just the right amount? Keeping kids alive should be the goal this year.
Throw alternative parties. They will appreciate it more. Alcohol does not make it better. Know where your children are on those special nights, and know who they are with.
This is one area that requires tough love. At the same time, give our kids credit and responsibility, and they will make the right choices, I am sure. Talk with them and explain to them about the laws.
Tell them how parents and children can be cited for drinking and how the kegs of beer are traceable, and, should a teen be arrested or killed as a result of that party, the person who buys the beer can be held liable for the death.
Tell them how contributing to the delinquency of a minor is a felony in this state. How hundreds of teenagers are killed every year as a result of drinking and driving. How daughters are raped at parties and on the sides of roads because someone could not handle the alcohol they drank. Tell them how alcohol is poison and how children die as a result of overdose.
I suggest that we still look at our children as children in this respect and not as adults. They may be responsible young people, but, when you add intoxicating substances, adult decisions can not be appropriately made. Be safe and say no to drugs and or alcohol.
Parents, just take time to think, to ponder all that I have said and make your choice accordingly. Children, don’t throw your youth away too soon. Each glass of beer or shot of whiskey could be your last.
(Editor’s note: James Purdy is a detective sergeant with the Valencia County Sheriff’s Department.)