Should You Let Your Teens Drink at Home?
My mother called me up about a year ago and told me that she had gone to get some liquor at the back of the liquor cabinet for a recipe and it was really watery. I laughed and laughed, did I, or one of my siblings water down that bottle so very long ago? Probably.
Now, I realize that is probably not the best anecdote to start a discussion about responsible teen drinking at home, but despite veering into the production of the occasional jungle juice, I was a responsible drinker as a teen (and still am). And I have my parents to thank for building a trusting relationship around alcohol by showing us what responsible drinking looked and tasted like.
We continue that trend in our own home.
We teach our kids that we appreciate good wine and love a cold beer on a hot day. We don't talk about craving alcohol or how a drink wipes away the stress of the day. And we have allowed our kids to have a sip of wine or beer when they asked. And yes, they are way under age. Usually no liquor enters their mouth, as the strong smell is off-putting enough. But other than my Clinton-esque defense, I think allowing your kids to drink at home - in a reasonable, wine with dinner kind-of-way (not invite a bunch of teens over with a kegger kind-of-way) - makes sense.
As a foodie, I want my kids to know that wine and beer can complement a meal and should be savoured, not guzzled. I want them to know that making these beverages is a labour of love for the creators.
But more importantly as a parent, I want our relationship to be one that is open and trusting. I want them to know that I trust them. And I want to know I can trust them because I gave them the tools to make good decisions. And good decisions are based on knowledge that is rooted in the real world. And that real world contains alcohol and so does my house. I definitely do not want beer to be considered some kind of forbidden temptation lurking in people's basements.
But I am not naive enough to think that allowing my teens to have a (small) glass of wine at dinner will mean they won't "experiment" with drinking. The stats speak for themselves: one in four students binge drink. I don't think I'm inoculating my kids against public drunkenness and stupid high school tricks, I just think I'm arming them with the ability to see the bigger picture.
Even the experts agree with me:
Will you/do you allow your teen to drink at home?
Want more chaos? Last year, I wrote about our Earth Hour plans, after being the neighbourhood pariahs the year before.