Should Parents Let Kids Drink at Home?
Even some middle-schoolers get alcohol from parents, survey shows
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2011 9:00 AM CST
Parents and researchers are split on whether or not children should be allowed to drink at home.   (©Heiliie)

(Newser) – If children are allowed to drink alcohol at home, with their parents, will it send them down a dark path—or save them from a possible future drinking problem? The issue is a sharply divisive one, with many parents arguing that underage drinking must be avoided at all costs—even though, according to a 2009 national survey, 86% of American youths have used alcohol by the time they turn 21. A recent US government survey found that almost 6% of 12- to 14-year-olds drank alcohol in the prior month, and 16% of those got it from a parent or guardian, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“When kids under age 15 start drinking and drinking heavily, they are about six times more likely to end up with alcohol problems,” says a director of the agency that ran the survey. But a psychologist and addiction expert notes that, when it comes to that statistic, “There's a giant difference between a kid who gets totally wasted on some purloined booze in the woods with his friends, and someone who has wine at dinner with their parents or as part of a religious ceremony.” One survey appears to back his idea up: While teens who attended a party with alcohol supplied by a parent were twice as likely to binge drink or be regular drinkers, teens who drank with their parents were just one-third as likely to binge, or half as likely to drink regularly.

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Mar 9, 2011 11:03 AM CST
My parents didn't condone drinking but they didn't ban or condemn it either. If they opened a bottle of wine at dinner, I could have some. If I wanted to try one of their drinks, I could. If we had a cook out, maybe I would grab a margarita along with everyone else. They never mystified alcohol. The kids who had to hide it or were never exposed to it until college? They over do it. They over do it for about 6 months to two years it seems. I was taught that alcohol is a social ritual, or an enhancement to food. They were taught nothing and consequentially think drinking is just for getting drunk and that they should pour more 151 in there so it happens faster. Just teach your kids, people. It'll pay off. I promise.
Mar 8, 2011 2:52 PM CST
I grew up sharing little sips here and there from whatever my parents were drinking. I never liked it much, but they always let me have a taste, or a very small cup of wine or something at a part, under their direct supervision. When I went to college, I watched friends go crazy with their newfound freedom and start drinking themselves into oblivion, before and after turning 21, but I never felt the need, because alcohol wasn't a big deal to me. Even now I only drink a glass of wine or two every couple of months, and I've never been drunk.
Mar 8, 2011 1:00 PM CST
Yeah, and parents should also do drugs with their children. It's ok as long as it's at home! WTF!