Cub Editorial: Parental binge drinking affects us all

Editorial Staff

Most people are well aware of the significance of turning 21; specifically, being able to legally consume alcohol. Many adults take advantage of the opportunity to drink, as it is a globally accepted practice. However, the normalization of drinking in the adult world fosters various opportunities for alcoholism and binge drinking among teens. According to The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in 2019, 25.8 percent of people ages 18 and older reported that they’ve engaged in binge drinking in the past month. This statistic holds true in Marin, where the Marin County Civil Grand Jury states that Marin adults consume about 50 percent more alcohol than the rest of California. While it may not be clear from an outside perspective, parents in Marin consume high amounts of alcohol, and it has affected Redwood students by creating a new generation of binge drinkers.

In 2012, the Marin County Civil Grand Jury declared youth binge drinking a public health crisis. However, minimal action has been taken since. When trying to mitigate the severity of the situation, it’s important to address the root of the problem. 

Prior to starting a class discussion about alcoholism and its effects, Dr. Allan Gold, a psychologist at Del Mar Middle School, asked students about their most significant influences in their daily lives. 

“When [students] were asked who their biggest influences were, they said their friends and their parents,” Gold said.

Due to the fact that parents are so influential in their children’s decision-making, it’s crucial that they demonstrate drinking responsibly in moderation.

According to the Marin County Civil Jury, adults in Marin binge drink three times more than the national average. As a result of this, many Marin teens have grown up seeing excessive drinking as a completely normal practice. This overwhelming presence of alcohol has surrounded Marin teenagers with their parents’ addiction.

Sophomore Layne Colombo is a teen who has recognized  Marin’s alcohol crisis. She remembered multiple accounts of seeing community parents drunk in places where drinking was extremely inappropriate.

“I remember seeing some parents even being drunk at their kid’’s sports games, which has always been really weird to me,” Colombo said. 

Children in Marin have grown up being surrounded by alcohol, even if their parents aren’t the ones drinking. This is why the organization Raising the Bar has started to gain popularity in Marin. Raising the Bar is an organization dedicated to prevent drinking from happening at children’s events such as sports games, swim meets and even the Marin County Fair. While parents are accustomed to drinking at these types of events, Raising the Bar is a significant  step in preventing drinking from negatively influencing children.

Some might argue that drinking is just one of the luxuries of becoming an adult, which it is. However, once parents start patterns of becoming sloppily drunk in front of their children, it becomes unacceptable. Demonstrating drinking in a healthy manner can actually be extremely beneficial for young children and teens. Acquainting youth with social norms for regular consumption of alcoholic beverages teaches them how to handle alcohol in a controlled way.

The only way to stop this problem is for parents to acknowledge their faults and seek healthier habits or sobriety before it affects their children. Teaching about the effects of alcoholism isn’t cutting it anymore. In order to prevent teenage binge drinking parents need to lead by example.