Monday, March 27, 2006

Mercatornet on Teenage Binging

Matthew Mehan writes:
Hello everyone,

This is about teen drinking issues and parenting...

Thought you would enjoy it; please pass it along to others as I think it would be a helpful read! And since I am now officially helping Mercatornet to thrive in the US market as one of their editors, I would ask you to please sign up for the weekly updates on Mercatornet, and the FamilyEdge newsletter.
Here's a teaser:
A Washington DC suburban publication, Bethesda Magazine, recently investigated the habits of local teens from public and private schools in wealthy Montgomery County, in Maryland. It cited Captain Thomas Didone, of the local police:
"Over the past few years the problem has increased primarily due to parents hosting parties where alcohol is present and not allowing officers access so that we can safely close the party. When we can't issue citations and call the teens' parents, they continue going to parties and remain at risk."
If parental resolve slackens, do teens at least fear their high school principal? Not in Bar Harbor. Principal Sally Leighton says that only students who participate in extracurricular athletics or clubs can be punished. They have to sign a good behaviour contract which penalises off school grounds drinking with only a 15-day suspension from the activity or sport.

What about the coaches? Don’t high schoolers fear them? Yes, but serious parties are held between seasons, when good behaviour contracts lapse. This legalistic approach suggests that contracts are not building blocks of character but mere guarantees that the coaches will have players in peak physical condition.

What about the law? That, too, is ineffective. The worst outcome for a night of drunkenness is a fine or community service. Only the poorest families will be hurt by fines and community service is a badge of honour for high school rebels, provided they can still play sports and participate in extracurricular activities.
Read the whole thing!