Should We Let Our Teens Toast the Holidays?


drunk teensWhile you're guzzling spiked eggnog or sipping Champagne this holiday season, what is your teenager going to be drinking? It's a question that you may want to ask yourself before the bubbly starts pouring.

I grew up never being allowed a drop of alcohol under my parents' roof until I reached the age of 21 (i.e., or until I went off to college and my parents no longer had control). But with my younger sister, my mom was a little more flexible, and has long been allowed the occasional bubbles on special occasions, such as weddings and Christmas.

Other than the obvious "younger sibling has it easy" issue, there hasn't been any real reason for concern. I highly doubt that the few sips that she did have when she was 15 at our aunt's wedding lurched her into a downward spiral of alcoholism.

I understand why parents would have a strict no alcohol policy in their home -- for fear that they'll be uncorking that metaphorical bottle forever. And yes, that would be a horrible responsibility hanging over your head, but the truth is, they're teenagers -- if they really want to drink, they will do so, with or without your permission.

You have to take a good look at your teen and gauge which is the best method for your family. If you prefer the "When in Rome" type of lifestyle, then have a glass of wine at dinner. If not, don't. As bent out of shape as some parents get about the whole "drinking under parent supervision thing," it's really not that big of a deal.

There was no difference between my sister and I, drinking-wise, as we both turned into adults, yet one of us was introduced to alcohol at a much younger age than the other. It was never a "forbidden fruit" to me -- up until college, I never even had a desire to drink, and when I did start, I didn't go crazy. And my sister, who was given the taste years ago with a glass of Champagne at a family Christmas dinner, has yet to turn into a raging alcoholic. It's credited to my mother who educated both of us on the effects of alcohol; she just used two different teaching methods. At the end of the day, education and trust are what's key. I will say that my sister and mother seemingly have a closer bond than my mother and I did when I was her age. Now whether that bond was created over drunkenly discussing life, who knows (kidding!). But in all seriousness, I think a lot of it has to do with the trust factor. My sister didn't feel the need to "sneak" around; therefore she's more open to talk to my mom about things -- whether it be boys, drinking, drugs, etc. -- whereas, I never really talked to my mother about that stuff until recently.  

For me personally, when I have teenagers in my household, I see nothing wrong with letting them have a glass on special occasions. I'm not going to allow my home to be turned into one giant keg party, but I see no harm in responsible drinking.

I will argue that some parents think it's okay to extend that same practice to their children's friends, eternally turning them into the "cool parents," which is not okay under any circumstances. Yes it's under your roof, and yes you may be supervising, but whether they drink underage or not is, by no means, your decision to make -- it's the parents' of the child. So as tempting as it may be to be the "cool mom," someone has to be the adult in the situation and lock that wine up.

What are your thoughts on allowing teens to drink at home? Will your teen have a glass of alcohol during the holidays?


Image via Incase./Flickr

drugs & alcohol, teens


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AMsMo... AMsMommy212

It's actually NOT Illegal, in several (perhaps many?) States, for an adult guardian to provide alcoho to their minor child


(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

misty... mistynights234

 I have no problem with giving my kiddo a sip or two of whatever Im drinking.  I also have a 25 year old daughter that was given a taste or two and a glass of champagn to toast at celebrations.  I was raised with this type of parenting and did not turn into a raging drunk.  Im a firm believer that teaching responsiblity and moderation is the best thing to do.  Our 18 year olds are allowed to have guns and taught to kill the enemy but arent allowed to learn how to drink responsiblity before 21 LOL........makes no sense to me. 

3gift... 3gifts.from.god

My kids can drink alcohol when I am no longer paying their bills.

choli... cholita1978

I grew up in a household, where every sunday the family got together for lunch, and my grandma will serve a glass of wine with the meal, so I had my first taste of alcohol when I was 12, did I turn into an alcoholic? no!!! never had a DUI and definetely if I know I'm going to drink, I make sure I have a designated driver.   I do enjoy my glass of wine once a week after Dd is in bed, and when I turned 21, I went to a concert instead of getting wasted, I already knew what alcohol tasted like, so it was not a big deal.  Now to offer it to my child's friends, that is a big NO, I definetely wouldn't do that, I love my freedom, don't wanna go to jail.  Will I offer it to my kid when she is older (I honestly don't know, we'll see)

nonmember avatar Arianna

Please Note it is not illegal for parents to give their children alcohol in these states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Here is a link about teens and alcohol showing the legality:

talon... talonblackhart

I never had alcohol at home as a teen cuz neither my mom or dad drank, for various reasons. I never had alcohol away from home as a teen cuz I was scared of getting caught. My first drink did come before I was 21, but only by less than a year. I had a couple wine coolers at my boyfriend's house for new years the winter before I turned 21, but I was also planning on sleeping on his mom's couch, so driving wasn't an issue. Since turning 21, I have continued to have the occasional drink, and my DH also drinks occasionally, so my DD will be seeing alcohol as she grows up. Whether or not we let her have alcohol when she hits mid to late teen years will be a discussion for the future, since she's only 20 mos right now. Chances are, though, that we will if she wants to try it on special occasions (New years, Christmas, maybe summer holidays.

Ibelo... Ibelongtojesus

It is wrong to allow children to drink.  My ss real mom lets them all the time not just on specail occasions. But because he lives with her and there is no way we can prove she is doidng it there is nothing we can do.  We do let our kids drink sparkling cider wiht us and It sets a good example tha toyu do not ahve to drink to have fun.


No, I won't allow underaged drinking in my home. My kid or anyone else's.

Peajewel Peajewel

My mom never had it in the house so it was not something I ever even had a chance to have until I was an adult and on my own (or at a friend's house with parents that allowed it).  I think it is okay for special occasions but I knew a few kids on school who's parents were such party type people that they would have drinks laying all over the house.  The kids would just walk in and pick them up and drink them and the parents didn't even notice.  Those kids did grow up to be drinkers and have issues. 

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