Mine are 4 and 6. Both have tried a sip of DHs beer (I hate beer) and our wine, and decided they aren't interested right now. When they are older and interested, I would much rather they have a nice glass of wine with dinner with us, then have to "sneak off" and start with shots at some party.
Originally Posted by LynnS6
I think that small amounts of wine with dinner at age 17 or 18 is fine. I might even go down to 16. French kids grow up drinking wine. German kids are able to drink beer at 16 (or is it 14, I forget). But, they're not allowed to drive until they're 18. So, they've got a couple of years to figure out that getting falling down drunk isn't all that much fun, and there's less temptation to drink and drive. I won't serve my kids a lot of alcohol, but 1/2 a glass of wine with Christmas dinner? Yes. I don't want my kids to have their first experience with alcohol at some party where they have less control over the situation and more pressure to drink too much.
Yes, drinking first, driving later. You want to get p*ssed, ok. But you want to drive while p*ssed and kill me and my children? No way. What kind of place allows someone to get 20 DUIs and still have their license, and their car?
Additionally, in many of these countries that allow drinking from an earlier age (say 14 for beer, 16 or 17 for liquor, but min 18 for driving - and that is AFTER paying 4,000 USD for the training and the drivers license), the penalty for driving drunk is severe. Like a little drunk and you loose you license for a year. You then drive without a license? Your car is taken. That makes the culture say it is cool to call a cab, or take a bus, or even call your parents to come pick you up, rather than driving drunk, as the penalty is too high.
Originally Posted by velochic
Dh and I drink wine weekly. We actually have a small collection in the cellar (less than 3 dozen, probably) and enjoy pairing wines with the meals I make on the weekends. Dd is used to seeing us have a drink responsibly and as an accent to a meal. She doesn't see us sitting around just drinking by itself and we've never been drunk. At this point, she doesn't like the smell of it, though, so she may never try it and that's fine too.
ETA: It seems to make sense, to me, to have the drinking age lower than the driving age. Learning to responsibly have a drink with a meal before having access to a deadly weapon (which is what a car can be) seems more logical than the other way around. I wonder why there is such a discrepancy in the US.
This is us as well. We had company yesterday for leg of lamb, saffron rice, marinated asparagus and frozen chocolate marscapone. You bet we had red wine, and a dessert wine as well. If my kids want to taste it, fine. They have in the past, and are not interested. I am sure it will come up again though, and I am not going to make it a forbidden fruit, so they feel the need to sneak off, drink and lie to us about it, feel guilty for doing so, and possibly get so drunk from lack of experience, and end up not in control of themselves or their surroundings. There is a difference between a glass of wine and 5 burbons. I was never offered alcohol as a child, and I had my first experience at a spend the night party, playing liquor card games, when I was 13 and almost everyone else there was 16-18. I survived just fine, but I certainly do not think this was the best experience.
Originally Posted by kathymuggle
I let my 15 yr old have one (as in a glass) of whatever I am having if he wants it. If it is a cooler he usually does - if it is wine he passes. This happens perhaps once a month. No one in our family likes beer. He only started this in the last 6 months.
I model moderation, and I think allowing him to drink in real moderation (in a social context and with food) is fine.
In general I think the "you cannot have a drop til you are 18 or 21 and then do what you want" is not responsible. You know - your first exposure to a drink shouldn't be at a frat party. I think trying it out before hand in the midst of people (your family - assuming they practice moderation) who can offer verbal and non-verbal feedback on consumption is the way to go.