Kids, drinking and tailgate parties

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It is a big football weekend. The Hoosiers and Ball State played in Bloomington and the Colts open a new era Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Football also means tailgating. Should your kids be at the party?

There's no lack of enthusiasm from the students before a home football game. There appears be to be no lack of liquor before the game, either.

Amy Wendt is the mother of five. She and her husband are IU graduates. Tailgating at home IU football games is a family tradition. But they, as a family, have left alcohol off the tailgating menu.

"How do I explain that to them? I just said that is what some people will do," said Wendt.

Joe Wendt is following in his parents' footsteps. He's a freshman at Indiana University and having the time of his life on campus.

"It is just so much fun here," he said.

It has been a month since school started and the lessons concerning alcohol from his parents seem to have taken hold. Binge drinking by parents at tailgate parties, he says, can be the start of a vicious cycle for kids.

"Their kids are growing up around the atmosphere so that is the atmosphere they are going to put themselves into when they are older," said Wendt. "And it is just going to keep repeating and repeating and it is just going to get worse with every generation."

Which just may be the case. Indiana Excise police ticketed 128 underage drinkers this weekend. The youngest was 15 years old. They also put 10 underage tailgaters in jail.

If you do choose to tailgate with your kids, experts say model healthy behavior.

Discourage drinking games. Play cornhole, or ring toss and without the beer. Let your children know you disapprove of underage drinking. And if you do consume alcohol in front of children, make it only part of the meal, not part of a contest with other adults.