This seems to be a problem of modern times so I have been wondering why this has occurred over the years.
When I was young, a great many years ago, we had drinking under age of course, but I can never recall actually going out with the intention of getting paralytic drunk. Naturally I have been drunk but this has usually been as a consequence of the good company and not noticing just how much I indulged. Even today I enjoy a drink but avoid over imbibing, it causes me too much agony!
Taking these matters into consideration, I have come to the idea that the reason for my more controlled drinking for pleasure must be due to my earlier life experiences when very young. So what is the difference in my early upbringing and the upbringing of to days youngsters,
The thing that strikes me as a big difference in our upbringing is the lack of over protection which my generation had to put up with. I started school at 5 and at 5 and a day I was walking to school on my own, together with a lot of other children in the area plus an older sibling. We lived in London and this meant that we, in the winter months walked home in the dark, with only good gas street lighting. After dinner, we all played out in the street and wandered over quite a large range of the area.
At 7 whilst playing jumping the rope ( in the street of course ), I landed on the taut rope and double fractured my arm. The kids accompanied me home where my mother got the local scout to splint my arm with a couple of bits of wood from the back garden, then Mum and I took a bus ride ( two buses ) to the hospital where they X-rayed the arm, said how good the scout was and put it in plaster and sent us home. No sedatives for me and Mum had a cup of tea when she got home.
A couple of years later, the world decided to have a war and the children in the cities were evacuated. This meant being taken away from home ( Mum’s and Dad’s ) and being located elsewhere in the country with strangers, known as foster parents, I had 3 such moves and they each had their own problems but we managed.
Whilst evacuated we still walked to make-shift schools in church halls and the like. On one occasion a German aircraft returning from an overnight raid on London, saw us going to school and actually machine-gunned the street. Fortunately, no one was hurt and when we reported the incident to the then foster parents, they commented how lucky we were to have not been shot and simply sent us to school again the next day
Eventually, I went back again to London where the air raids were still going on and after school we now had a more adventurous play ground, we had all the bombed buildings to play in. And so life went on till we were adults, to us this was about 15 at the earliest and 17 at the very latest. We certainly never considered ourselves as children at 17, and because of our actually having to deal with the every day happenings from a young age, we were really quite street wise and aware of how easy it was to get into difficulties and therefore, we could handle the responsibility of every day living, including drinking.
Now days, because of an unhealthy fear of paedophiles and the like, we have children that are lucky if they can get out on their own at the age of 12. Furthermore, all challenging activities are removed for fear that the children will be injured and someone will be sued for some unreasonable compensation. All this over protection denies our children their right to grow and experiment and develop the ability to handle the every day challenges that they will eventually face.
It seems to me that we have got to overcome this unreasonable fear of paedophiles and encourage our children to get out and develop. Statistically, there is next to no chance of a paedophile interfering with our children between home and school, especially if there are a few hundred other children all travelling in the same direction. Recently there has been a couple of reported cases of men trying to drag children into vehicles but the children have been able to make enough commotion to abort the efforts. Statistics show that there is only 3 main ways of limiting the abuse of children and these are to stop sending them to religious schools, stop sending them to community camps and the scout like organisations, and the most common place of abuse is at home so you have to avoid leaving them alone with any male members of the family. It would be considered unreasonable if one tried to enforce any of these three solutions.
Seriously, I think that we must start to raise our children so that they are aware of the various aspects of life and trust them to have the answers from their every day activities. I think that parents have trust the intelligence of their children and do what the parents of old did, they told their children that they must never go with strangers and pointed out any persons in particular that they, themselves, didn’t trust. I get the impression that the poor kids of today are academically very able and can cope pretty well; however, they have very limited social education and have absolutely very little idea of self responsibility. I believe this to be because they have been mollycoddled for too long when they should have been encouraged to be more daring and self-reliant.
All this crap about lowering drinking age and making closing times earlier is just cosmetics which will have only the effect of making more under age drinkers and more drinking in parks etc. Also all the talk about the police getting tough and having more power to close premises etc, is just going back to the 60’s when the police had the powers and were, therefore, open to corruption and bribery. The police have the authority now, and what it needs is the backing of the courts and the parents to bring these wayward children ( as we now call 16 and 17 year olds ) into line and make them realize that they have to live within the bounds of the law and, more importantly, the norms of society.