Don't homeschool beer and alcohol use

Posted on 05/05/2004 in misc

I didn't realize that current parenting trends were teaching parents to allow their teenagers moderate alcohol consumption, in the theory that it alleviates the binge drinking problems so common among 17+ crowd.

The author actually uses the phrase "home schooling in beer and wine consumption." Heh. He didn't mean anything by it, I just found it an amusing use of the phrase. However, the article is actually about The Community of Concern, a group that started in one local private school and is now national in scope. They are counteracting that trend and working to keep kids completely drug, alcohol, and tobacco free.

Obviously, if kids never start drinking it is a good thing. However, I'm not sure I buy the argument that moderate teenage drinking necessarily leads to heavy alcohol use and adult alcoholism. Our friends in Europe have been allowing their kids to enjoy a glass of wine at the dinner table for years, and by all accounts they don't have the teenage alcohol abuse problems that we do. I wonder if that is at least partially because Europeans have taken the "rite of passage" aspect of alcohol out of the equation? I'm thinking out loud here, I really have no idea.

I do think parents that draw a line in the sand and dare their teenager to cross it by drinking are asking for trouble. I think we have to realize that our teenagers probably will try alcohol sooner or later, and I'd much rather deal with the issue in a way that leaves them unafraid to call me for a ride home. How exactly I do that is still an open issue. If they never touch the stuff that is great. However, parenting on that assumption might be asking for trouble.

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