The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

STAFF EDITORIAL: Assign an age for minors drinking with their parents

As of now, underagers in Wisconsin can drink in any location with their parents’ supervision. Most 16-year-olds think, “Booyah!”

But considering the state’s drunken driving stats, and that Wisconsin ranks highest in the nation in underage drinkers, this law needs to change.

Luckily, a new bill in Madison may raise the supervised drinking age.

It was already passed by the State Assembly, and is currently waiting for a vote in the Senate until it reconvenes.

The assembly is on the right track by voting to allow only those 18 and older to drink with their parents.

Fourteen other states allow minors to drink with their parents, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

But no states share the severity of Wisconsin’s drinking problem. Our state has plenty of reasons to make changes to drinking as usual.

However, age 18 is a bit too old to teach minors good drinking habits before they’re forced to learn them on their own.

Many 18-year-olds are on their way to college, not at home with their parents.

If they have not been properly trained by responsible adults how to drink leisurely and wisely, they could end up being the drunk kid puking in the back of the LIMO, or worse: drunk driving, DUI’s, jail time, even death.

Perhaps 17 would be a better age. That way, students can learn how to drink in a safer, controlled environment, before many are unleashed into the sloppy world of “Animal House” or “Old School’s” fraternity.

Obviously, there’s an underage drinking problem the State Assembly has been recently willing to fix.

Studies show those who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence.

Also, alcohol consumption in adolescents can lead to clinical depression.

These are sobering statistics that Wisconsin needs to fix — especially in a state where beer is enmeshed in the state’s identity and culture.

The state is smart to assign some kind of age to drinking with parental supervision.

However, one more year of parental supervision could perhaps curtail unwanted side effects.

Not that Wisconsin will churn out sophisticated drinkers who only sip, not chug, but knowledge and know-how can go a long way.

Wisconsin should lead the charge in combating underage drinking by promoting a new generation of smart, stable people who learn through their parents’ or guardians’ examples before they lunge into college with only covert drinking experience.

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