Teenagers say it’s wrong
Surveys show that the majority of teenagers think that it’s wrong for parents to buy alcohol for their children. It’s not uncommon for teenagers to nag sometimes, just to see where the boundaries lie, and it doesn’t actually mean that they want their parents to give in to them. Because if you do, your teenager might well start to wonder what you actually mean when you warn them about alcohol but, at the same time, are willing to buy it for them. Setting rules and sticking to them is a way of showing you care. Breaking the rules can be interpreted as meaning that you don’t care.
Everyone knows someone who knows someone who'll buy it for you. All they want is the money - they don't care that you're too young.
Liv, aged 15, Gothenburg
Selling alcohol to anyone under the age of 20 is, as you’re undoubtedly aware, prohibited – unless they’re being served in a restaurant or buying “folköl” (mid-strength beer), where the minimum age is 18. Anyone buying alcohol for minors can be fined or imprisoned – it’s the person supplying a minor with alcohol who commits the crime, not the minor for whom it is bought.
It’s no guarantee that they’ll drink less – quite the reverse
A lot of adults think that they’ll have a better idea of what their teenagers are drinking if they buy the alcohol themselves. They think that a few ciders are better than a bottle of spirits. But teenagers’ drinking is usually more about getting drunk than about sipping a cider. A teenager who’s given a couple of bottles of beer or alcopop by their parents is unlikely to be satisfied with that. It’s more likely to be a bonus, given that they’re planning to drink anyway. There is no evidence to show that young people avoid contacting illegal dealers, for example, just because their parents have given them a few beers.
No. Everyone else’s parents are not giving them alcohol
Many parents are worried that their children will be left out. It’s common for young people to believe that everyone else is allowed to do things or is doing things that they, themselves, are not allowed to do. It’s a concept that’s called “majority misunderstanding”. In reality, the vast majority of teens have the same discussions with their parents, and the vast majority of parents are just as worried that their children will be excluded from the group. The solution is to talk to other parents of your teenager’s classmates or friends and agree on a “one rule for all” solution.