The legal drinking age in Virginia is 21 – but a lot of young people resent being treated as less than “fully adult” once they’ve turned 18 years of age or older.
The temptation to imbibe can be particularly strong during the holiday season. After all, alcohol is pretty much everywhere. If you’re a parent of a young person who isn’t legally able to drink, here’s what you need to know.
December is when a lot of people have their very first drink
According to some experts, roughly 11,000 young people will try alcohol for the first time every single day in December. Why? It largely comes down to opportunity – and maybe a little bit of peer pressure.
The main factors that influence underage drinking at this time of year include:
- Permissive attitudes by the adults around them, who don’t think of a single glass of mulled wine or spiked hot chocolate could be any kind of “big deal” during a celebration
- Unattended bottles of liquor, wine, beer and cider that may be left around during holiday celebrations (and the knowledge that nobody is likely to keep track of a bottle or two that goes missing)
- Extended free time, given that schools are usually out for a while and there’s more time to indulge
What can you do to keep your teen or young adult away from temptation? Mostly, it comes down to open communication. Talk to your teen or young adult about the dangers of covert drinking and what can happen if they’re caught in possession of alcohol while underage. Your clearly expressed expectations can be just the right counter to any peer pressure they feel to indulge.
If your teen or young adult does make a mistake, don’t let it unnecessarily damage their future. An experienced defense can mitigate the damage.