Source: Grosse Pointe News Online

Be a responsible host
Ask the Experts

September 06, 2012

Q. Are parents responsible for the consequences of underage drinking in their home? If so, how serious are those consequences?

A. Kids love to celebrate. Whether at a family graduation party or a spontaneous late night get together, some kids celebrate with alcohol. What’s worse, 65 percent of kids under age 21 who say they drink admit they get alcohol from family and friends. That means they get it from their parents, their friends’ parents, or older siblings. Make no mistake about this: If you provide alcohol, directly or indirectly, to someone under the legal drinking age you can be held responsible for what happens after they have consumed it.

Even when children are old enough to be held liable for their actions, their parents can still be held equally responsible and subject to severe and permanent consequences. Those consequences can be punitive, civil, or even criminal.

It does not matter what you did when you were younger or what you think your personal privacy entitles you to do. While there is a perception that it is “safer” if minors are consuming alcohol under the “supervision” of an adult, it is still illegal and can have serious and dangerous consequences. Minors can leave your home, drive under the influence, and get into a serious car accident. There is a serious risk for alcohol poisoning, especially when youth are involved with binge drinking.

Zero tolerance for providing alcohol to anyone under 21 at any time in any place is the only safe way to live under the laws of this country.

Don’t worry about being a buddy, be a parent. If you leave your children on their own, give them some back up with neighbors or close-by family or don’t leave them. It will be a hard and unpopular position, but not as hard as standing by a hospital bed or a gravesite.

Lazar is a State Farm Insurance agent in Grosse Pointe Farms with 30 years experience in property and casualty insurance. He can be reached at (313) 882-0600. Parents Who Host, Lose the Most is a campaign focused on providing information to parents on the consequences of providing alcohol to minors. For more information about how to get involved with this campaign, contact Anne Nearhood, Community Organizer at CARE of Southeastern Michigan, at Ed Lazar and CARE are members of The Family Center’s Association of Professionals.

The Family Center, a 501(c) (3), non-profit organization, serves as the community’s centralized hub for information, resources and referral for families and professionals.

To view more Ask The Experts articles, visit our website E-mail your questions to info@family To volunteer or contribute, visit or call (313) 432-3832 or write to: 20090 Morningside Drive, Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236