Underage Drinking Laws

This topic has come up a few times: do you allow your children to taste wine at home? Most of us do. Here’s a great resource that breaks down the laws by state if anyone’s curious.

NIH Summary of Underage Drinking Laws

I have to plan and deal with these laws all year for my Culinary Festival. Last year I had 4 violations from kids with fake ID’s. This year 1, and she (the majority are women) was arrested but we were only cited for allowing an underage patron to enter not escorted by a parent.
Kids are the enemy of all liquor establishments today. They don’t care if they get arrested, they don’t care if they expose their friends to a loss of their drivers license and privileges for posing as them and they lastly don’t care if they cost a liquor establishment thier expensive and hard to get license by their deception. For what??? To act like an adult and drink alcohol before they are 21. I drink wine around my kid, but DO NOT let him get near it. I understand the magnitude of this problem that consumes my time daily each year I am involved with a Liquor event.
My kid will not drink until he is 21, I wish all parents acted responsibly about alcohol.

Wine was/is primarily consumed in our home to pair with meals. From about the age of 10, I would allow my daughter to have a very small glass (2-3 oz)of wine with certain meals if she wanted it. We thought it important to demistify alcohol and wine in general. With that background, she rarely ever abused alcohol,even in college.

She would primarily drink whites and pinots. As a child she didn’t like the big reds. Still really doesn’t as an adult.


What you do is what my parents did to me. At a really young age let me taste the shittiest whisky in the world. The stuff that burns like the fires from hell. For the next 14 years till I entered college, I would never drink a sip of alcohol.

Is it “acting responsibly” or “following the letter of the law”? I see a HUGE difference between the two.

Responsibly. I understand that there is a difference too. I had planned to allow my son to drink wine with me, but the underage drinking problem is such an albatross in the Schools of my City, that to promote alcohol to a child here would only invite wine parties when I am not home.

Jack, As a fellow father I respect your choice, good for you.
Would you allow him to enlist in the military? Vote?

I am a bit more liberal with my parenting choices. So be it. I would never ever fault another parent for the choices they have made. Nor should anyone else fault mine. (and no, noone has).

I actually disagree with Jack on this one.

I grew up in a house where sweets were absolutely VERBOTEN! Now, I can’t get enough, because it was denied of me when I was growing up, and wanting some. I believe that when you make an item ‘untouchable’ to a child, it gains a lot of mystery, and the desire for it grows. We’ve experimented on this with our daughter, where we always give her access to sweets and candy (within some reason, of course). She is one of few kids that will turn down candy or chocolate, and when we give her cookies or ice cream, she eats only a little bit, because she knows it’s not her LAST CHANCE to have some. The magic is taken away from it, and as long as we make her think it is available to her if she wants it, she doesn’t want it just for the sake of not being able to have it.

With wine, I’ve given her some sips, she’s asked for it a couple times, but she’s now discovered that she COULD have it if she wanted it, and since she doesn’t like it (other than Riesling), she doesn’t ask for it, and doesn’t get any. I’m hoping that we can do the same with beer (even though we don’t drink it ever) and other potentially ‘mysterious’ items that she will be drawn to as a teenager. Being able to control the environment, take away the mystery, and introduce her with our supervision to me seems the smartest way to go.

I agree with you Todd.
Unless the new administration chooses to prosecute retroactively (which I am sure they might), my son has been ‘tasting’ since 5. He has a great appreciation for the stuff and a mighty fine palate to boot. He’s a bit geeky if you ask me and might have forgotten more about Linux than I might ever have wished to learn in 4 lifetimes, but hey, who’s perfect? [berserker.gif]