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Consequences of giving a beer to underage niece?

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myalterego posted 9/11/2013 16:19 PM

Mr. alter ego gave our niece a beer this past weekend at a tailgate. She is underage... not only is she not 21, she is 17 years old.

How do I convince him this is a really bad idea?

I understand the consequences are much more severe than when I grew up - I'm not sure he gets that.

any thoughts or advice? or am I over-reacting?

jrc1963 posted 9/11/2013 16:23 PM


I'm not sure you can convince him if he's not getting what a huge issue this could be.

myalterego posted 9/11/2013 16:30 PM

I'm not sure you can convince him if he's not getting what a huge issue this could be.

that's what scares me.

I may have to put down a strong ultimatum. I also don't like the fact that he was so casual about it - our kids are on the younger side, so we still have a few years before it becomes an issue in our own house - but I disagree with casual drinking of a 17yo.

brooke4 posted 9/11/2013 16:50 PM

I don't know if he could get in trouble legally for this, and if she was going to be anywhere near a driver's seat, absolutely not. But otherwise, I'm not sure I see it as a disaster.

We're American but live in Europe where it's legal for them to drink in people's houses from a much younger age, and I have to say, my oldest just started (an extremely academic, not party school) college in the US and is *shocked* by how immature American freshman are about alcohol and how much they binge drink compared with her friends here.

miadianna posted 9/11/2013 16:59 PM

My XH thinks it's cool to offer alcohol to his underage kids when they are driving home. Thank God they are smart enough to throw it out the window when he comes running outside in the driveway to give them "one for the road" as they have to drive 100 miles at night.

GabyBaby posted 9/11/2013 17:07 PM

I don't know if he could get in trouble legally for this
Yes, he absolutely CAN get in trouble (legally) for this.
Ever see the news stories of the mom who provided alcohol for the houseful of kids attending a party in her home?

We're American but live in Europe where it's legal
I'm assuming MAE is in the U.S., so serving an underaged person is illegal. Serving an underaged MINOR can get you in a crapload more trouble. Contributing to the deliquency of a minor comes to mind...

Myalterego - I'm with JRC on this one. If you have to convince your H that hic actions are a problem, that, to me, isnt the real issue.

I'm the mother of 2 underaged young adults (one is 20, the other is 17). I'd be extremely pissed off with the adult who gave my child alcohol. I have less say with the 20yr old, but she knows that there are consequences for actions and tends to not do extremely stupid (illegal) things.

What did your niece's parents have to say about your husband's antics?

[This message edited by GabyBaby at 5:15 PM, September 11th (Wednesday)]

asurvivor posted 9/11/2013 17:17 PM

I'm not trying to be anything but helpful here so please don't think I'm rude but Mr. Alterego sounds like he needs some serious education. This is neither cute or cool and has consequences. In California you have a $1000 fine and possible jail time if caught. If she happened to have an alcohol related injury of any kind or inflict one there are much more serious consequences. Google your own State laws and if he doesn't get it or care... well... then there is always that.

myalterego posted 9/11/2013 17:18 PM

We are in the US.

My concern is that we could get nailed for -Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor... but more importantly, because she is under 18yo, also - Corruption of a Minor.

I don't know what the consequences of that are, but it doesn't sound like it would be like a traffic ticket.

I casually noticed her drinking last Saturday and didn't have a chance to ask him until yesterday. I was surprised when he told me he poured the beer for her (but he had been drinking, too). He was traveling and had been awake for about 24 hours when I asked him, so in fairness to him, he probably wasn't very with it. I certainly need to have a "real" conversation about it.

I just have a gut instinct that it is a really bad idea... but trying to figure out if I need to let it go or push hard.

GabyBaby posted 9/11/2013 17:24 PM

I just have a gut instinct that it is a really bad idea... but trying to figure out if I need to let it go or push hard.
Let's look at it from another angle then.

What do you think the girl's parent's reaction will be when (not if) you tell them?
Gently, if you think they wont mind and that it isn't a big deal, then I see a few scenarios:
1. You're not being realistic.
2. Her parents have issues and then the young lady most likely has other risky behaviors that are in play as well.
3. You may be hit with all kinds of hell, such as your H (and possibly you) not being trusted with your niece because of this behavior.

Legalities aside, I can tell you that if I found out one of my siblings gave my kids a beer, it'd be a problem. I'd have to question their judgement on a lot more than "this one little beer".
It isn't cute and it isn't something to be laughed off.

myalterego posted 9/11/2013 17:29 PM

What do you think the girl's parent's reaction will be when (not if) you tell them?

The mother was standing right there. In fact, I wondered if she asked her mom for a beer and she said, "ask Uncle Alter Ego" since it was "our" tailgate. That definitely is a detail I need to find out.

I guess I also think about it from the perspective of a mom - my kids are middle school age and HS scares the pi$$ out of me!

GabyBaby posted 9/11/2013 17:37 PM

Then I guess scenario #4 is that her parents dont think it is that big a deal.

However they choose to deal with their daughter, just know that a lot of other parents would have a HUGE problem with it.
If/when you have your kids' friends over, this type of behavior can be a legal nightmare for your family.

hurtbs posted 9/11/2013 17:46 PM

Yes, he can get into trouble legally for this. In some states, providing alcohol to minor is a felony. Sometimes it's contributing to the delinquency. If the niece or anyone she then distributed the alcohol to got into an accident or hurt somebody, he would be legally and financially liable.

myalterego posted 9/11/2013 17:47 PM

If/when you have your kids' friends over, this type of behavior can be a legal nightmare for your family.

I have an issue with giving a 17yo a beer, so I can't imagine I will be doing if for my own kids. Clearly a parenting discussion we need to have.

The concern about this is that it is a public setting and there are undercover cops all over. When I think about the risk/reward scenario... so she gets a beer (yeah?) but we take all the risk. Is it really worth it?

Lucky2HaveMe posted 9/11/2013 18:59 PM

When I was 20yo the drinking age was 18. I was young, full time job, living on my own. I had 18yo sister and 12 & 16yo brothers. All still in HS.
Parents were going away for the weekend to a bowling tournament and asked me to be in charge.

By the time I arrived after work, the party was in full swing. Not an obnoxious # of people, but the keg was tapped. I was 20 yo. I was not mature enough to protect my baby brother. I watched him have his first beer, get shitfaced, sicvk, and hungover.

My sister married an alcoholic and had alcohol abuse issues for years. Her H is sober and she seldom drinks any more. She is the success story. My oldest bro has alcohol abuse issues and drinks to excess. He does not admit he has an issue. Sadly, my baby brother grew into an alcoholic, drug addict, and was in the midst of pulling his life together when he died in a car accident @ 34yo leaving behind 3 small kids.

32 years later I still carry a heavy burden regarding that night so long ago... If I hadn't been the fun sister, maybe lives wouldn't be so broken.

Tell him he does not want that burden on him. He doesn't need to be the cool uncle. He should be the responsible one.

Phoenix1 posted 9/12/2013 02:13 AM

FWIW, don't assume it is illegal without checking your state's laws. Several states (including my own) allow underage drinking if it occurs on non-alcohol selling private property with parental/guardian consent... (No, I have never followed this for my own kids.)

tushnurse posted 9/12/2013 07:59 AM

Time to educate Mr - This is a big freaking deal. You stand to loose a lot of money, face jail time, and get a serious ding that show up on your record forever.

Plus if anyoIne else, friends of her etc were to be served their parents can sue for endangering a minor, and you can loose EVERYTHING!!!!

I get that she is a teen, almost a full fledged adult, but the rules are different now. They are very serious in every state, and the law doesn't give two hoots what you think is ok.

A taste here and there in your own home, is acceptable, but never in public.

As dumb as these laws seem they have done a great deal to cut down on the number of alcohol related deaths in high school kids.

myalterego posted 9/12/2013 09:34 AM

Lucky, thank you for sharing your experiences. Know that there was more than just your one screw-up that caused the downfall, but I know it is hard to let go of the guilt.

Phoenix - it is illegal in our state. Some states allow a parent - in their own home - to give a child a beer. Not our state.

tushnurse (great name!) - I think you make a good point - the rules are different now.

The part that scares me is the possible consequences... for US. We don't even get the reward (except being the cool Uncle). Clearly, we need to have a conversation about it. Thanks all for re-affirming my guy instinct.. which is WHOA.

Lucky2HaveMe posted 9/12/2013 12:05 PM

Oh I know that. Being a parent, I'd my young adult kids ever give my underage nieces & nephews a drink, there will be hell to pay. Some of them are 12. They are BABIES! Ugh. I was such a stupid 20 yo. What's your He's excuse?

Sorry to t/j.

lieshurt posted 9/12/2013 12:14 PM

The mother was standing right there.

I think this is pertinent information that should have been included with the original post.

The only thing I think Mr. Alter Ego should have done differently was have her mother give her the beer if she was okay with her daughter drinking it.

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