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Should We Let Our Teens Toast the Holidays?

by Brittny Drye on December 21, 2010 at 9:45 PM

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

Filed Under: drugs & alcohol, teens

Comments

36
  • usmom3
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    usmom3

    December 21, 2010 at 10:51 PM

    No he has health problems that drinking alcohol would complicate for him.


  • sarah...
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    sarahtessa

    December 21, 2010 at 11:45 PM

    I grew up having sips of dad's beer, sips of mom's wine cooler, and champagne on new year's. It wasn't a big deal, because we were all home and safe. It also meant that I grew up learning moderation around alcohol, so my first time drinking didn't end up with me passed out on a dorm bathroom floor. I would certainly give a teen champagne or eggnog with a wee bit of rum IF and only IF we were home and going nowhere. And, SD is only 9, but I'm getting her and my sis (8) some sparking apple juice to ring in the new year with. (My SM knows and is fine with it). The girls are super excited. Someday I don't see anything wrong with them having a champagne toast with us. I'm thinking 14 or 15, though, not anytime soon!


  • qrex912
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    qrex912

    December 21, 2010 at 11:50 PM

    I will, barring any health issues or medication, of any kind that could make for a harmful combination. I believe fostering responsibility and open communication in a teen are important.


  • RanaA...
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    RanaAurora

    December 22, 2010 at 1:54 AM

    I grew up having an oune or two of champage on Yule and New Years. I don't see the harm.


  • momto...
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    momtothemax2910

    December 22, 2010 at 8:52 AM
    I was taught responsibility and moderation by my parents and will absolutely do the same with my children.
  • ladyj...
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    ladyjodamic79

    December 22, 2010 at 9:15 AM

    I say no..The drinking age is set in place for a reason.Even though some adults at the age of 21 are still to young minded to drink,they still know the health risks and any other dangers that can come from drinking..Teens cant make up their minds on who is dating who or what jeans to buy,or what make up to wear..So as a parent of a soon to be 13 year old i feel letting her drink is something that is a responsibility she is not ready to deal with the consequences of,and it wouldn't be fair of me as a parent to let her and to even think she can handle those responsibilities..Let her worry about other things like a normal 13 year old and not things that could stop her from even making it to the legal age to drink..


  • Saras...
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    Sarasahmof3

    December 22, 2010 at 10:06 AM

    I was allowed to sip my mother's wine with dinner. And to have a small glass(less than a shot glass) of whatever was being used to celebrate. I was also taught at a very young age the results of drinking and driving(my dad's first wife and my best friend's mom were both killed by drunk drivers). But we lived in Germany where it was OK. With my own kids I will let them taste(you should really see their faces) my beer or wine. One taste and they are done. I am not a big drinker, I may have a drink once or twice a month. My drink of choice at home is coffee or hot chocolate. I was taught responsibility and moderation by my parents and will absolutely do the same with my children.


  • jmtmn
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    jmtmn

    December 22, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    I was allowed a little bit of Bailey's in my hot chocolate or a small glass of wine on holidays starting around age 15. I think I turned out ok. haha I would prob allow it for my kids if they were responsible and not driving that night.


  • Bodda...
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    Boddah266

    December 22, 2010 at 3:30 PM

    I was allowed to have Sambuca and Anisette at some family occasions (e.g. Yule) and I grew up just fine. I did not go insane and in fact, did not even drink alcohol until the age of 24! I am 30 now and I do not drink at all. Though I am not opposed to it - I do not have the desire to so.

    My children have no desire to so much as taste any kind of alcohol as I have taught them that it is not a desirable thing to consume.

    Though everyone has a difference of opinion and I taught my children differently than when I was growing up, taking those few sips certainly did not act as a prerequisite to alcoholism later in life.


  • vallhk
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    vallhk

    December 22, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    I will more than likely allow her to drink at home,  we were allowed to when we were younger.  The only rule was that we could not leave the house once any alcohol passed our lips.  Same thing will go for our kids.  And hopefully we will be able to teach them to use it responsibly. 


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