15-Year-Old Holds Dad's Beer for a Second & All Hell Breaks Loose

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beerHow's this for a sign that the world has gone crazy? A dad asked his son to hold his beer during a preseason Arizona Cardinals game, and the act got both father and son kicked out of the stadium! Ya know, because it's letting a minor "possess" alcohol and all.

Uh. Huh.

John Coulter told USA Today he wanted to take a photograph shortly after kickoff, so he handed his brewski to his 15-year-old son. Who wouldn't? Stadium brews are priced like liquid gold. I wouldn't want to stand the chance that it would get tipped over either.

But Coulter says the innocent "hold my beer" moment landed him in trouble with undercover officers from the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control, who told the father it was illegal and kicked him out of the stadium. One official later stated the dad got lucky because he could have been charged -- and the misdemeanor could carry as much two years in jail, a $2,500 fine, and three years probation.


America! Can we drop this puritanical approach to alcohol? Please?

He didn't GIVE the kid a beer. He let him hold it. There is a big difference.

Parents have gone 'round and 'round for decades over whether it's OK to let younger kids taste alcohol. I'm firmly in the "it takes the taboo out of alcohol camp," but to each his own.

If you don't think kids should even have a taste, that's your prerogative.

But I think we can all agree that there's a big difference between having alcohol around kids, even letting a child hold an alcoholic beverage, and actually SERVING them alcohol.

I grew up in the country where fetching your Dad a beer from the fridge is just what kids do. We touched the beer. It did not give us cooties.

Nor did it make us more likely to drink. As my 8-year-old daughter (who, gasp, has held my beer) noted the other day when the subject of alcohol came up, I "don't drink it very much."

Call it anecdotal evidence; I am just one person of many.

But beer (and wine and liquor) is around kids all the time, sometimes even in their hands. You see kids moving their parents' beer from the grocery cart onto the conveyor belt. You see kids helping Mom carry her bag of booze out of the liquor store. You see kids shoving the bottle of wine out of the way in the fridge to get at the juice boxes.

None of this is "serving" a kid booze. But they're about as involved with it as John Coulter's 15-year-old was by "holding" Dad's beer.

Honestly, there is really no way to completely excise all evidence that alcohol exists from kids' lives. And yet there's nothing to indicate that simply being in proximity to the hard stuff destines our kids to become alcoholics -- in fact the CDC data indicates only 5 percent of Americans fall into the "heavier" drinking category. Five percent does not an epidemic make, folks.

Five percent is not a reason to freak out.

Let's remember: alcohol IS legal. It may not be legal for kids to drink it (although it is actually OK in many states for parents to serve their own children in the privacy of their own homes), but as long as it IS legal for adults to possess it, we have to acknowledge that their kids will be around it ... maybe even touch the cup.

Do you let your kids hold your beer? Was this dad out of line?


Image via Lee Coursey/Flickr

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Shandi80 Shandi80

I don't know if I believe that CDC study, honestly. A lot of people seem to have a problem with alcohol. It is, after all, an addictive poison. How many people does it kill each year? Plus, it's liquid calories. As for this guy and his kid....who's to say the kid didn't try to take a sip while the dad wasn't looking?

nonmember avatar KA

You have got to be kidding me?!?!?! I'm getting disgusted by people by the second these days.

nonmember avatar Erin

Ok.....wtf? This may be the most ridiculous story Ive read in a long time. Where has the common sense gone in this land of the "free"?

lovem... lovemy2sons25

In some states you can take your teenager to a bar and let them drink with you(well it used to be) I went to a bar with my mom as a teenager and had a few drinks, what's the big deal? I'm 26 now I'm not alcoholic, in fact I very rarely drink. Teenagers are gonna find a way to drink wether people like it or not there are times I went to parties as a teen and drank it happens. I think its better and safer to be doing it with your parents(unless they are raging alcoholics) then doing it at a party with your friends with no adult supervision at all!!

Irela... Ireland69

RIDICULOUS!!! when my mom, dad and myself would go out to eat my dad would let me order a pina colada.  when I went swimming in my backyard, my dad would buy me wine coolers(4 bottles) to share with my niece we were both the same age we were 15 years old.  I didn' turn into an alcoholic other countries let their kids drink a beer or wine during their supper at the age of 9 and they are not alcoholics.  Our kids can go fight in the war at 18 but they can't drink until 21??? Of course I'm not going to sit with my two boys and get drunk they are still young but i do give them a sip to taste my drink.  It won't kill them. 

JessL... JessLogansMommy

Oh boy, I must be doomed!  The other day i let my 6 year old get his grandfather a beer out of the fridge!  Maybe I should get rid of the beer in the fridge, it might be a bad influence on the milk! 

LeeshaE LeeshaE

I let my son 9 hold my beer or help carry it in with the groceries. Got yelled at last year by the concessions lady at the local ball park for asking my son to hold my unopened can of beer so I could carry all the spillable snacks I just bought.


I think this is stupid,but maybe it's the fact that it was an open "container",but really sometimes you need two hands,what are you suppose to do?

tcfla tcfla

There are bigger problems in the world that officials should be worrying about.  Waste of tax dollars is what I see.  I'm betting at the same stadium their was drunks fighting and underage drinkers passed out in the bathroom.  They should have worried about that, not a dad asking his son to "hold" his beer.  gah..

Kathy Roberge Lamb

A version of this happened to our family last year on our vacation.  We are from Canada and to us (me) booze in the grocery store is a novelty!  While checking out our groceries, my daughter (11) picked up the case of beer (Canadian beer) to place it in the cart and the check out lady had a fit!!!  Poor thing dropped it like a hot potato!!  Thankfully my quick witted husband told our daughter that she would "just have to wait until we got back to the trailer to have a beer".  Sheesh!   I can understand the rules but really?  It was a SEALED case.....was she going to drink by osmosis?

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