Dad forces sons to drink alcohol

Jun 8, 2012 at 10:00 p.m. ET

An Arizona dad is feeling the heat after he forced his teen sons to drink liquor after he busted them sneaking into his stash. Is this sort of punishment cruel, or is this what kids need today to stay on the straight and narrow?

Kristopher Harvey was unhappily surprised when he discovered his teen sons, aged 13 and 14, were sneaking alcohol while he was away from home. He forced them to consume three shots of hard liquor and has now been charged with two counts of child abuse after neighbors heard the kids shouting from the pool that evening.

"Unfortunately it was some of the things I learned when I was a child, that this is how you teach your children to do things,” said a remorseful Harvey. “I realize now that it was the biggest mistake of my life." He faces 17 years to life and may lose the ability to see his kids again.

Doing it old-school

Punishment like this certainly isn’t new and vogue — in fact, it has the vintage feel of old-school parenting. If a kid drinks or smokes, force him to do it until he gets sick — this way perhaps he’ll realize how wrong the activity was. Laura from Australia said this method worked wonders. “Forty years ago my daughter was 4 and I caught her and a little friend smoking behind the shed so I sat her down and made her smoke a whole cigarette,” she shared. “She has never smoked again, so it worked with her.”

And Jennifer from Arizona said, “I wish that ‘Here, drink more booze!’ was the response when I got caught drinking while in high school. Instead I think I was yelled at and then grounded for what seemed like years!”

Gains the wrong result

Melissa, mom of three, has memories of friends going through a similar punishment. “I remember someone's dad making them smoke an entire packet of cigarettes after catching them stealing one,” she explained. “What I cannot remember is if that actually stopped them from going on to smoke. It probably didn't though, and just set up an even more combative relationship between parent and child.”

Allow your kids to drink

And still another option — albeit highly illegal if your kids are underage and will land you in jail — is to let your kids drink at home. “My parents let me drink to avoid any sneaking around,” said Lindsay, mom of one. “We were open about it, and as a result liquor lost its appeal. I will most likely do the same with my son. I would rather he drink at home and be safe, than to sneak around and hurt himself or someone else.”

Only time, and the courts, will tell whether this parenting misstep will go punished or not. But with the danger of alcohol poisoning — or simply making your kids hate you more — this may not have been the wisest form of discipline.

More on teens and drinking

How to deal: Teenage drinking
Is your teen drinking?
Should you lock alcohol away from teens?