Serving My Kids Alcohol

Increasingly MADD and the tea-totaling Nazis are after parents who allow kids to drink alcohol at home.

Research published in the Journal of Adolescent Health in 2004 found
that adolescents whose parents permitted them to attend unchaperoned
parties where drinking occurred had twice the average binge-drinking
rate. But the study also had another, more arresting conclusion:
Children whose parents introduced drinking to the children at home were
one-third as likely to binge....

In fact, the American Medical Association has actually put out press releases
lamenting the fact that most teens get their first sip of alcohol from
their parents. I'd say that's exactly who ought to be giving it to them.

While I have no intention of throwing wild parties and getting my kids' friends drunk, I do intend to introduce alcohol as well as a respect for it at the dinner table, just as my parents did.  I am a firm believer that letting you kids drink a bit in the very controlled home environment is the best possible way to take the edginess and mystery out of drinking -- after all, how cool can it be if you do it with your parents.


  1. somebody:

    Can I call you a child abuser yet, or do I have to wait until you actually let them drink?

  2. la petite chou chou:

    Rightly so. My parents didn't hide it from us and thus it was never a secretive thing that we had to sneak around for. We were allowed to choose whether we wanted wine or sparkling cider at holidays, as one example. Dare I say that the same was true of parents taught us about them when we were young so we'd respect them rather than be fascinated by them. And now none of us have any history of binge drinking or violence. Hmm...odd how that works out!!

  3. la petite chou chou:

    Somebody, that is a really naive perspective. Just because someone made up the arbitrary drinking age of 21 doesn't mean they know everything. a 12 year old in Germany can walk into a bar and order a beer.

  4. Alina:

    Don't know how true it is -- could be just folk-lore -- but I remember reading somewhere that the reason Jews have a reputation for not being drunks (I was born in the USSR, where Russian mothers told their daughters to marry Jews because they don't drink.... as much) was because kids got a sip of wine every Friday night, and so weren't particularly enchanted with it.

  5. M. Hodak:

    My dad (ironically the son of Russian Jews) always tried to get me to drink the hard stuff with him, first on holidays, then on all other occasions. When I declined, he would cajole me and question my manhood. Every now and then, I'd take a shot of some drink that he assured me was excellent, and it was all I could do from spitting it back out.

    I think it's a genetic predisposition. My dad has it, and I just don't, so I rarely drink anything but the occasional margarita.

    I gave both of my sons a taste of beer when they were much younger just so they could see how bad it tasted. Neither of them was impressed, and they never asked me for beer again. My son who just went off to college doesn't drink at all. His younger brother, however, is always asking to try out wine at our table (we usually let him). It's a mystery.

  6. Rob:

    Part of the allure of drinking as a minor is the risk. When I was in high school and college (while still under 21), my friends and I would drink the worst cheapest beer we could get our hands on, and there was a general feeling that we should take advantage of the availability to get drunk (which usually meant drinking way too much). In addition, the risk fueled our adrenaline and behavior.

    Anyway, I'm 26 now, and I might get drunk 3 times a year, but I still enjoy a few quality beers each week with the guys. I highly recommend for those of you who enjoy a good beer and live in one the areas.

    Had beer/wine/liquor been less of a taboo as a kid, I may have sooner had connoisseur approach to drinking and enjoying beer.

  7. Anonymous:

    In Texas, it is explicitly legal for a parent to serve alcohlic beverages to their minor child. Some restaurants will allow this, others will not. We occasionally served our son beer in Texas restaurants where the restaurant would allow it. He's grown up just fine, no tendency to drink to excess.


    (b) A person may purchase an alcoholic beverage for or give
    an alcoholic beverage to a minor if he is the minor's adult parent,
    guardian, or spouse, or an adult in whose custody the minor has been
    committed by a court, and he is visibly present when the minor
    possesses or consumes the alcoholic beverage.

  8. TCO:

    Screw it. Frigging uptight Protestant Puritans. If you are Catholic, just let em drink at Xmas as little kids and tell the Baptists to take the sticks out of their asses.

    And 21 for booze is a joke. People are grown up at 18. They can marry, swing for murder, etc. etc.

  9. la petite chou chou:

    Oregon's law is similar to that of Texas but does not include spouses.

    Which is another reason why I think that Somebody's response was naive. It isn't like the government is banning minors from having it at all. They just can't have it in public. Plus, what does the government know anyways...??

  10. Matt:

    It's also legal for minors to drink alcohol with their parents in Wisconsin. Seems logical to me really.

  11. Skip Oliva:

    The Federal Trade Commission re-launched its "Don't Serve Teens" propaganda campaign this week, arguing that it's wrong to serve anyone alcohol if they're under 21 under any circumstances. The FTC's defense is basically that federal authority trumps everything, especially parental choice and state law:

  12. Randomscrub:

    Teetotaling is the word.

  13. Scott:

    Don't give the kids shandy though. It's yummy and sweet smelling.

  14. Mark:

    My wife provide a beer to my 16 year old daughter at home. One beer that is it. We believe that exposing your child to alcohol in a responsible controlled environment takes away the mystic of drinking. My daughter then left the home to spend the night with her sister who was over 18. The older sisters boy friend and the two girls were pulled over and the driver was sited for DUI and my 16 year old daughter who had but one beer at home was sited for minor in possesion. We got an attorney (inexperianced, lame and incompentent) to fight it and he lost somehow. The issue at trial was can the 16 year old leave the home after the parent gave her a beer. If she leaves the home after one beer can she be cited for MIP. I don't see how it is possible the judge ruled against my 16 year old because she did not drink after leaving the home. Exactly as we had hoped would occur because she was responsible. It seems in Oregon that the law allowing a parent to provide a beer to a child doesn't really mean you can nor does it state how long the child must remain home before they are not going to get an MIP for drinking one beer at home then leaving to go to a sister or friends house. Any comments or help that you can provide will be much appriciated. Should I appeal the ruling?

  15. taylor:

    I believe government should do a survey to see how many parents influence their child to drink alcohol.

    Alcohol Treatment