Should you buy alcohol for them?

Many children ask their parents to buy alcohol for them. And as a parent it can be hard to to say no. Most parents want the best for their children, and would maybe like to show their teenager that they trust them. Or perhaps they think that doing this will prevent their kids from contact illegal alcohol dealers. Sadly, it seldom works out that way. Here are some arguments that you might find helpful if you’re unsure how to tackle the situation.

TEENAGERS, THEMSELVES, SAY IT’S WRONG

Surveys show that the majority of teenagers think that it’s wrong for parents to buy alcohol for their children. Teenagers may nag, just to see where the boundaries lie. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that they want their parents to give in to them. Setting rules and sticking to them is a way of showing that you care.

 IT’S ILLEGAL

Selling alcohol to anyone under the age of 20 is, as you probably know, prohibited. The only exceptions are if the person is at least 18 years of age and is served in a restaurant or buys ”folköl” (mid-strength beer) in a place where the minimum age is 18.

Anyone buying alcohol for minors can be fined or imprisoned. It is the person supplying minors with alcohol who is committing the crime, not the minor for whom it is bought.

 "Everyone knows someone who’ll buy it for you. All they want is the money – they don’t care that you’re too young".

Majken, aged 15, Örebro

IT’S NO GUARANTEE THAT THEY’LL DRINK LESS

A lot of adults think that they’ll have a better idea of what their teenagers are drinking if they supply them with the alcohol, and 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 beers or alcopops 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 that young people avoid contacting illegal dealers, for example, just because their parents have given them a few beers. 

EVERYONE ELSE’S PARENTS ARE NOT SAYING OK

It’s common for young people to believe that everyone else is allowed to do things that they, themselves, are not. In reality, the vast majority of teenagers have exactly the same discussions at home, and many parents are worried that their child will be excluded from the group. One possible solution is talk to other parents and agree on what goes.

 HELP OLDER SIBLINGS AND FRIENDS SAY NO

Many young people have older friends, siblings, or others in their circle who’ll buy alcohol for them. And even though the majority of young adults believe it’s wrong to buy alcohol for minors, it can be hard for them to say no. This is where you, as a parent, can help out.

Talk to the over-20s in your child’s circle, help them with arguments, and tell them that you expect them to act responsibly and not to buy alcohol for minors. 

More to read about the same topic

Useful contacts and more info

It can sometimes be good to talk to someone who knows a bit more about teenagers and alcohol, or about anything else, for that matter.

If you want to do more

There’s a lot you can do to support and be there for teenagers. Maybe you can take part in night-time patrols, or make it easier for them to say “no”, or help promote a smarter approach to alcohol in some other way.

Other important topics to read about

When parents are not around

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