The age old debate, let your kids drink in moderation as they grow up or completely lock up the booze? I grew up in a combination home. When my parents drank they always offered me tastes, but the booze was in a closet that we were supposed to avoid. It worked; I rarely drank until I was old enough. After turning 21 I drank that semester a decent amount and now I am back to only drinking occasionally. I never drink and drive and I don’t think I would have unsafe sex while drinking either, so I got the important messages. I am just curious how everyone else grew up and how it affected their drinking patterns/behavior. This article is what got me back on the topic:
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN)
Experts say binge drinking continues to be a growing problem across the country. According to a recent report from the U.S. surgeon general, there are nearly 11 million underage drinkers in the United States. Nearly 7.2 million are considered binge drinkers, meaning they drank more than five drinks in one sitting. In this age of “just say no,” some people believe it is time for Americans to reconsider how they teach kids about alcohol.
“We taught them to drink in a civilized fashion, like a civilized human being,” says Stanton Peele, psychologist and author of “Addiction-Proof Your Child.” He says many of the programs set up to stop alcohol abuse contribute to the teen binge-drinking crisis. Any program that tells kids flatly not to drink creates temptation, he says. Peele says other cultures have figured it out. He points to Italy, Greece and Israel, where children are given small amounts of wine at religious celebrations or watered-down alcohol on special occasions.
But many other experts say the psychologist is off base. “That’s ridiculous,” says Calvina Fay, executive director of the Drug Free America Foundation. “By allowing teens to drink,” Fay says, “you are giving permission to your children to do harmful things.” In the spring of 2007, the U.S. surgeon general’s office issued its first “Call to Action” to stop underage drinking. “This is not something that is a rite of passage,” says acting Surgeon General Kenneth Moritsugu. “It has an impact, short term and long term.”
Fay also says Stanton Peele doesn’t take into account other consequences of teen drinking, such as unsafe sex and drunken driving. “You don’t have to be addicted to be harmed or die because of drugs and alcohol.” But the psychologist contends that kids are going to drink no matter what and that it is critical for parents to set the example. “I think the key to preventing all kinds of addiction is to make sure that your child values life, values himself and has purpose in life,” he says. “That’s the single most important thing.”