Sunny Hostin

A Conversation About Underage Drinking

Anderson Cooper - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 9:20AM -- Parents always have tough decisions to make, but are they protecting their children's well-being by allowing them to drink in their own home?

According to the American Medical Association, one in four parents says they have allowed their child to drink in their home. One in four teens says they have attended a party in which minors are drinking in front of parents. If a teen sneaks alcohol into your home during a party, you could be taken from your home in handcuffs.

It happened to Bill, who was arrested for contributing to the delinquency of minors after (to his surprise) teenagers were found drinking in his home. His wife Cynthia joined him on the show to give their side of the story to Anderson...

Anderson's CNN colleague and legal expert Sunny Hostin says, "If you're a parent and you allow underage drinking in your home, then you can be criminally responsible and you can be civilly responsible. And the law doesn't allow for much flexibility. In fact, if you're not in the house, but know the drinking is going on, you can still be liable."

While parents say they put safeguards in place, journalist and blogger Rene Syler of GoodEnoughMother.com, says parents put blinders on and do not do enough to make sure underage drinking is not happening in their home. "Hey, I want to trust my kids too," says Rene, "but I trust and verify."

What are the rules in your home? Have you allowed your underage child to drink in your home? If a parent doesn't know a teen is drinking in their home, should that parent be held liable?

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