Here’s the Thing About Kids and Drinking.

It’s not a new problem, teens and drinking. I would imagine it’s been going on since the beginning of time….. The minute someone found out that you could get a buzz from fermented fruit, Ug and Glok, the teenage cave dwellers, were hiding around behind the bush, sneaking the elders’ fermented googleberries 🙂

Our parents did it, our grand parents and probably our great grand parents too. It’s almost like a rite of passage. A welcome to adult life…. between 16-18. If your grand parents are still alive ask them about drinking, I’m sure they have stories. If they’re American, they probably have prohibition stories! They would be fascinating.

These days, parents spend thousands of dollars sending their kids off to drinking school, I mean college. The trouble with all of that is it’s now illegal!

Whether you agree or not, the drinking age in America was increased to 21 many years ago. So every college student under 21 who partakes in alcohol consumption is breaking the law.

So What……

Kids are going to get into alcohol, that’s a given. How are you going to teach them about it?
Are you going to abstain in front of you children? Are you a non drinker? Do you drink in front of your children but never let them near it?
Or do you openly discuss it, the benefits, the dangers, the abuse that occurs? How it changes people, how it can ruin lives? When to say no and how to be a responsible drinker?

College kids die from binge drinking, all the time.  The colleges know it goes on, they turn a blind eye to it, kids will be kids, right? Girls get raped because they get too drunk to know what they’re doing or they just pass out.

Why does this all happen? Is it because they can’t handle it at 18 and 21 is a more responsible age to start drinking? Well let’s look at some statistics.

In countries whose legal limit is 18, the majority of the world, how many alcohol related deaths of 18 yos do they have? In cars or out of cars?

Are the stats any different here in America? Does it increase in American 21 yos who are legal but go just as crazy as a foreign 18 yo?

The highest percentage of deaths in cars from drinking in America is 21-24 yo males.

Do 18 yos die less because alcohol is illegal for them? They can still get it easily enough.

31% of drink driving deaths are from the 16-19 yo age group. That’s huge considering it’s illegal to that age group.

Do you let them have sips? Or a small glass with dinner?

Have you or would you let your teen have a taste of beer or wine at home with dinner in a social setting? Would you show them how to drink responsibly in a safe place? Do you think that takes the mystery away so it’s no longer forbidden fruit?

Studies say no…but is that really what happens?

If a young person has a glass of wine to accompany a meal, isn’t that teaching them how to enjoy it and do it responsibly. I don’t advocate taking underage teens to a bar and getting them smashed. I don’t want anyone to get smashed. It’s awful, you become a loser and lose your judgement and the hangovers are killers.

So what do you do about it?

What I do think is that it is extremely important to talk to your children openly and honestly, teach them and guide them through the pitfalls and enjoyment of alcohol in a positive way, it at least takes the mystery away.

Educating them may help prevent them from going to college to get totally smashed every night, that’s not what you took the second mortgage out for is it?  Hopefully they’ll have learned how to do it safely and responsibly.

I believe the most important lesson is to never drink drive and never get into a vehicle with someone who has been drinking. That’s for any age.

Alcohol has many health risks when abused, but there are also benefits in moderate consumption. New studies come out on the benefits all the time. The nightly news is full of them.


Regardless of what age you believe is the right age, whether you expose your children to alcohol or completely shield them, alcohol causes humans to do stupid things.

At any age, too much booze messes with you. It crosses all social barriers. It’s doesn’t discriminate when choosing it’s victims. Booze makes us make bad choices.

If alcohol were invented today, it would be totally outlawed. ILLEGAL. Yet we live in a society driven by it and it will never be outlawed, prohibition proved that doesn’t work.

It’s a part of our society and something we need to educate children about. Knowledge is ALWAYS power and if your teen is armed with knowledge, they can hopefully make better, safer choices about alcohol.

Referenced Materials:

world drinking ages
deaths caused by alcohol
underage drinking stats
responsibility project
long term effects


Comments 5

  1. I was brought up on sips of wine and champagne on special occassions and I carry on the tradition with my clan. My kids understand that it should be sociable and i talk to them about over indulging.

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  2. I learned a lot about alcohol during my teen years. My dad was in the Army and we were stationed in Tokyo at the US Embassy during this time. A big part of his job were functions with diplomats from other embassies. They let me drink at the parties. They also knew I went out to the bars. It was acceptable there and they knew I was safe (no driving at all). There was no way I wanted my parents to ever see me drunk (and I learned early that I hate that feeling) so I learned to pace myself. It was very hard moving back to the states at 18 and not being able to even go in to a bar. I do believe that alcohol has some horrible side effects (not just physical, but everything that comes with the way it alters your state of mind and the way it can affect others around you) so I think it is important to teach this to teens. They need to learn how to be responsible with it. Same concept as sex with teens. You can’t just tell them “don’t do it”.

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      I remember being allowed sips of dad’s beer from about 10-12. By 15 i could have the occasional small glass at a special party or celebration. At 17 I could buy beer over the bar with my parents present, only because I looked old enough… I did some totally unacceptable drinking later on but I still had a respect for it.

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