the data indicate there are fewer young drinkers, but a greater proportion of them are hard-core drinkers. Parents have helped create this paradox. Many parents seem torn between two competing impulses: officially, most say in surveys that they oppose any drinking by those under 21. But unofficially many also seem to think kids will be kids--after all, not so long ago, they were themselves drinking as teens. A few of these parents have even allowed their kids to have big drunken parties at home.
But there is a better way. At first it sounds a little nutty, but you might consider drinking with your kids. Incongruously, the way to produce fewer problem drinkers is to create more drinkers overall--that is, to begin to create a culture in which alcohol is not an alluring risk but part of quotidian family life. Of course, that's a mostly European approach to alcohol, but there's reason to think it could work here. And it may be the best way to solve the binge-drinking problem.
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