Who doesn’t want to be known as “the cool parent?” You know–the hip adult who lets their children and their children’s friends drink. The parent who turns a blind eye to underage drinking parties and is a real pal to their kids. Every parent wants the ‘cool’ title. But sometimes being a cool parent can also turn you into a criminal.
While many parents are busy trying to be liked by their children, they often neglect what are known as social host liability laws. Social host liability refers to the notion that parents can be held responsible for providing minors with a drinking environment. Not only can parents be punished for knowingly allowing minors to consume alcohol, but they can also be held accountable for any later actions that may result from those who may be intoxicated.
So when the party ends, and the drunken teenagers disperse, guess who’s liable for that entirely preventable drunk driving accident? Yes, you! When these type of accidents occur, parents can face both criminal and civil sanctions. This means that you can be sued for any damages and injuries that may result. As in the rest of the country, the New York and Long Island areas have their share of underage drinking. So, parents, the next time your underage child asks you if its alright to have some friends over for a few beers, don’t be ‘cool,’ be responsible.
Goldstein and Bashner