'Harry Potter' Daniel Radcliffe Confession Isn't Reason to Cheer

Cynthia Dermody

Daniel Radcliffe

Everyone is talking about great it is that Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe has acknowledged his drinking problem at age 21 and is giving up the bottle for good. One publication even called him "a new kind of child star" for the admission. So here's a kid (emphasis on kid) who has his head on straight and recognized a lot sooner than a lot of Hollywood stars these days that you don't need substances to have a good time and that things can spiral out of control pretty quickly if you don't put the brakes on. Yeah, that's unusual for sure and good for him.

But, sheesh, an alcoholic at 21? These stories should not be shocking anymore in the generation of Lindsay Lohan and Celebrity Rehab, need I say more? And yet, no matter how many times I hear about someone with a dependency problem at such a young age, no matter if they are famous or not, I am surprised and saddened.

Granted, the drinking age in England is 18, not 21 as it is here in the States. Radcliffe was legally drinking and partying it up, just like any other 18 year old there. Not that a drinking age limit ever stopped any American college, high school or even middle school aged kid before.

It's become perfectly expected that kids will drink, get drunk, and even develop a dependency problem long before it's technically legal to do so. It's much the same attitude that many parents today have toward sex. They are going to do it so we might as well sit back and accept it, and just try to make it as safe for them as possible. Such a cop out. Kids today just can't handle it, that is proven over and over again, and for some reason parents today have just given up even trying.

I'm not naive in thinking that raising the drinking age, or even trying to prevent my kid from drinking underage, will do anything. If they want to drink, they will drink. But there is something to be said for setting the bar -- with sex, with school, and with drinking.

How many parents do you know tell their children: "I know you're just a perfectly average child, so I'm fine with you getting straight Cs. Don't even bother trying for an A." Few, if any. We constantly tell our kids that they can achieve anything they want as long as they work hard. Even the most underprivileged and academically challenged kids are told they can earn As, and in many cased they do.

Why do we as parents not have the same expectations for other things?

What's your reaction to the news that Daniel Radcliffe has a drinking problem at 21?


Image via giraffe_756/Flickr

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