Everything Kids

Here's Why Your 18-Year-Old May Soon Be Able to Drink in Illinois

A proposed bill in Illinois would let 18- to 20-year-olds drink beer and wine in restaurants with their parents' permission.

Wine Pouring 18 and Up Africa Studio/Shutterstock
I'm about to date myself here, but back when I went to college in New Orleans, the drinking age was still 18. Which basically meant that while all my high school friends were busy scrambling to score fake IDs, I could kick back and sip Hurricanes to my heart's content without ever breaking a law.

Ah, the good old days!

But guess what? There's now a new bill on the table in Illinois that could lower the state's drinking age back to 18 under certain conditions. Kids ages 18-21 would be able to order and consume beer or wine in a restaurant with parental consent. However, consuming hard alcohol would still be illegal.

It's an interesting concept. And get this: 10 states already have this law in place! Didn't know? Yeah, me neither. So here's the list: Connecticut, Kansas, Louisiana (!), Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

According to WGN TV, supporters of the proposal say it's harmless since the decision is still in the hands of the parent, who is there to make sure their child doesn't drink too much. But others say that since young adults are still developing until the age of 25, the normalizing of parental consent for 18- to 20-year olds is troubling—especially if there's someone in the family who has a problem with alcohol.

"If you have a family member who's an alcoholic, we do question your judgment," explained University of Illinois sociology lecturer Tiffani Saunders. "Having that same family member or parent be the one who can say, 'Yes, you're allowed to drink,' that could be problematic."

Both good arguments. So what do you think—would your give your 18-year-old the green light to drink at dinner?

Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and mom of two who writes about parenting and pop culture. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more, and then follow her on Instagram and Twitter.