Let's Drink a Toast...With Your Kids? Feedback Friday

A new federal study by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) revealed that 709,000 U.S. kids aged 12 to 14 are drinking beer, liquor and other alcoholic beverages. Surprisingly, over 200,000 of this kids were given it by their parents.

Now, I haven't had to deal with this issue yet, but have friends who were raised to enjoy a glass of wine with Sunday dinner at the family table as teens and this seems very common in European households. I remember going to parties that served alcohol in high school and surrendering my keys at the door to the parents who were "chaperoning".

Peter Delaney, director of SAMHSA's Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, is concerned and has been quoted as saying "If you drink alcohol before the age of 15 you are about five times more likely to experience a serious problem with alcohol or other drug use at or after the age of 21. That's why so many prevention programs are trying to delay kids from using alcohol, because the older you are, the more judgment you have, and the less likely you are to develop problems later in life."

Is it better that they do it with you and not on the street?

Do you forbid any kind of drinking in your home?

Do you allow a glass of wine on special occasions?

It's Feedback Friday:

So, what is your policy on alcohol in your home when it comes to children under the age of 21?

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  1. It isn't allowed - plain and simple. It's illegal and I'd be breaking the law and most importantly, showing my children that it's okay to break the law.

    I found out that a "friend" gave my daughter a beer several years ago at the beach. (Daughter told me) "Friend" is a parent older than I am. My daughter is on serious daily medication. Yep. I was livid. Friend is no longer a friend.

    Nuff said. :)

  2. Forgot to add that we do drink in front of our kids. I would, of course, have no problem now with my 21 year old drinking around me and we've taught them that if they're going to drink to do it responsibly. That's the best you can do as a parent, IMO.

  3. Hey Jenn,

    I absolutely agree with Lori in the above comment. I know you will get comments about how common this is in other countries and to that I say...So What! That's in other countries...and part of their culture. It's not part of most US families current cultural history.

    Much of the underage beer and wine drinking documented in European countries was because the water was not palatable. Homemade beer and wine was the safer alternative.

    Our children will be asked to make that choice upon turning 21...why rush it.

    To those who say"they will get it from their friends anyway" I say "probably so"

    But at least they will know that I stuck to my principles and did what I thought was in their best interest, because I loved them and not because I wanted to be a 'cool' mom.

    OK....also because their Dad is in law enforcement and would kick their butts from here to Kalamazoo.

    Good topic

    Janet xox


  4. I have very small children so this issue is a long way off for me yet BUT I would forbid it.

    I would not go out and buy the alchol for them and if they got it from friends then so be it BUT they would know they are disobeying me by drinking it and breaking the law.

    Their Dad's a cop...lol...they may rethink some of their actions.

    Great points. Drinking age here is 19.

  5. Ooo--loaded question. My parents made it pretty clear to us that underage drinking was not to be tolerated. BUT, when I was 15 we visited some very old family friends in Germany. They were a sweet elderly couple, and they were so excited to have visitors that they broke out a bottle of wine. They poured a glass for each of us, and us kids weren't sure what to do. My parents told us to drink just a little so we wouldn't offend our hosts. I remember thinking how nasty it tasted, and then the room got awful hot! ;) LOL...it didn't start me on the road to alcohol abuse or anything. It was more about respecting the German couple as we were in their culture and home. :)

  6. Alcohol consumption should be delayed/avoided even for adults.
    I told my kids that their bodies were still growing and developing and that alcohol would/could interfere with that process.
    Undertstanding the damage that alcohol causes even to adults is quite enlightening for us all.
    Once they reach the 'age of consent' it is certainly up to them to indulge or not. Three of my 5 kids, as adults, do not drink.
    The other two do, one excessively!

  7. My sons are half-French. As children, they were allowed very watered down wine on special occasion dinners. When they were teens, a glass of wine (again, special occasions) with dinner was allowed. We did not allow any other alcohol until they were 21. Neither has a drinking problem and are both in their late 30s. Both are in excellent health and never had issues with crazy drinking in college.

  8. Nope, I won't be giving or providing alcohol to my kids. I do have a sister who is not 21, who is allowed (much to her detriment, but to sadly avoid conflict) to drink wine at family events (it's one of those, "when I was your age, mom and dad would NEVER have let me........."). She can not handle alcohol, does not know when to stop and believe me, my kids can see the change in her behavior which has led to many conversations about drinking and it's effects.

  9. i would say- no way, not allowed... but i don't really have to say it. my kiddos (14 &17) would be utterly horrified if we offered them a drink. i am very thankful!

  10. I agree this is a loaded question.

    My opinion is that if you can join the Military, go to war and die for your country at 18 you should be able to have a beer.

    I have 20 and 23 yr old. My oldest did drink before 21, my youngest has tried it and doesn't care for it. I have instilled in both my kids if your going to do it call me and I'll come get you, no questions asked.

  11. Parents need to set examples for their children. It is illegal in the USA to give alcoholic beverages of any type to underage kids. Adults who allow them to drink alcohol of any kind or buy them alcohol or give it to them can be arrested and put in jail. Do not provide beer, wine or other alcoholic drinks to underage people!

  12. I'm sorry that I'm a little late to the dance here. But I'm always glad to share an opinion - even if it's late. LOL.

    This is an interesting topic. And I've seen it argued every which way very dilligently.

    In my case, when I was under 21, it was forbid. I mean...I couldn't even have a sip of a beer if my dad happened to have one. My parents probably assumed that I drank in college, but encouraged me to be responsible.

    When I turned 21, I was allowed to drink in the house if I so chose to do so.

    That's probably the approach I'll take...although I have some time to think about it...my daughter is six.


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