Should you let your teen drink alcohol?

alcohol at prom


This time of year, the topic of teens and alcohol  comes up more often. There are after-prom parties and after-graduation parties and end-of-year parties and most of them involve drinking alcohol.

As a parent,  do you forbid your teen from underage drinking? Do you say it’s okay for him or her to drink as long as he or she doesn’t drive? Do you explain what drinking in moderation is all about? Do you trust your teen to know his or her limit?

There are many different points of view on the answers to those question. One mom I know bought the alcohol for her daughter’s after prom party and told me she would rather buy it, serve it and monitor it than have the kids sneak it and drink irresponsibly. Another mom forbid her daughter from drinking at prom, but her daughter did anyway and lied about it. (The mom found out through someone else at the prom)

For parents, there really is no single correct  way to deal with teens and alcohol, and there is a lot at stake.  I think the important thing is the conversation you have with your teen about the consequences of driving drunk, losing your inhibition around the opposite sex, and drinking to excess.  Now, there’s also the risk of someone posting drunken photos of your teen on social media. So, I guess that needs to be discussed, too.

There’s also the tricky question for parents of whether to drink around your teen. How do you handle it when they want a sip of what you are drinking? My 14-year-old son always asks for a sip of beer when my husband is drinking it.  So far, my husband has been giving it to him. But I’m worried that soon he’s going to ask for his own bottle.

Parents, what are your experiences with your teens and drinking? How have you been dealing with the end of the year celebrations and alcohol? Have any of you ever bought alcohol for your teens to drink at prom? If so, how did that work out?

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