"My teenage son is very mature for his age." "My teenage daughter is more responsible than some adults I know." Your teen is still too young to drink alcohol.
Scientific research has proven that alcohol damages the adolescent brain, but if you still believe there is nothing wrong with teens drinking, there is one indisputable fact. It is illegal to provide alcohol to anyone under 21 years of age in Pennsylvania - no exceptions.
To date, 41 states have exceptions to the minimum drinking age ranging from "with parental consent on private property" to "for religious purposes." Nine states prohibit underage drinking with "no exceptions." Pennsylvania is one of the nine.
Pennsylvania's Liquor Code includes social hosting laws that do not exempt parents from liability. The law can hold parents responsible even if they did not supply the alcohol but allowed the drinking to occur on their property. Additionally, adults are criminally liable when they provide alcohol to anyone under 21 who is injured, killed or cause a death or injury while under the influence of alcohol.
Community coalitions such as Blair Countians for Drug Free Communities (www .drugfreeblaircounty.com) work to educate and increase awareness on the dangers and legal repercussions of underage drinking, drinking and driving, and other drug issues.
In 2008, 4 percent of the accidents in Pennsylvania in the 16-20 age group involved drinking drivers. In Pennsylvania, the zero tolerance law makes it illegal for anyone under 21 years old to operate a vehicle with any trace of alcohol in his or her system. In other words, there is no legal limit for persons under 21 years old - no exceptions.
Your son may be mature for his age or your daughter very responsible, but you have a responsibility as a parent. When you allow underage drinking, you put your child's health at risk. You also send a very clear message - if you do not agree with the law just ignore it.