I think making anything taboo is dangerous. How exciting something is once we know we aren;t allowed it!
All the men in my extended family are alcoholics, as are my dh's family. We drink in moderation. Wine with dinner, or a cold beer at the BBQ. My kids know that you can enjoy an alcoholic drink for the taste, or you can get a buzz or you can make a fool of yourself. They've tasted my wine, beer, etc. They find it tastes gross...as did most of us when we were young.
My eldest was home last summer and decided to go out 'partying' with MY old group of party friends. I stil hang with a few of them, but my party days are behind me (I've known these people since HS). I warned her that these people were heavy drinkers and that she'd have to be careful.
Ahh, she laughed and laughed. Whatdid I take her for? A kid? SHe lives out of state and drinks at parties etc. She told me I had no idea how much she could drink.
The next day my friend returned with my daughter. She was laying down in the car, sick. We were camping, so the friend took her to her house and kept her all day. DD told me afterwards that she had never seen people drink like that, and that she'd never been so sick. (these old friends also mentioned that she spent most of the party lying on the floor, moaning.
Now she wants to know how I ever managed to hang out with these people! (Hmm, no one forced the booze down my throat! I just didn't drink like them. )
What that had to do with anything, I'm not sure!
Anyway, I allow my kids to see and try alcohol. It's not some mystery liquid that can make them popular or pretty. We talk often about date rape, girls getting to drunk to know if they mean yes or no, dates getting too drunk to care.
But the drinking age is 21. I'm clear about the fact that undergae drinking, outside with friends , etc, is a big no-no. Being 18, and having a few while you watch the game, or whatever, at thome, is ok. Being 16 and doing the same thing, isn't such a great idea. 16 yo are immortal! They never believe they'll be caught or hurt anyone. And they aren't always clear about how importatn it is to be cool. And they want to drink with friends, not alone with mum and dad. It's a fine line.
And now for a reality check-in....How am I doind with the finished product? 1 in each camp. My dd is an occassional drinker. My son is drinking wayyyy too much.
You do your best. It goes the way it goes!