Some parents like to enjoy a glass of wine or beer with their teens ... and in many states, they can.
Although people under 21 cannot buy alcohol in the United States, alcohol consumption laws vary wildly from state to state. As of January 1, 2007, 14 states and the District of Columbia ban underage consumption outright, 19 states do not specifically ban underage consumption, and an additional 27 states have family member and/or location exceptions to their underage consumption laws (for instance, teens can drink if they're with their parents). Check out your state's alcohol consumption law here.
Wisconsin perhaps has the most liberal alcohol consumption laws of all. There, minors can drink alcohol in a bar or restaurant if they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian who gives consent. While there is no state law setting a minimum age, bartenders can use their discretion in deciding whom to serve.
Bartender Mike Whaley tells The New York Times there were some cases where he had to say no to a parent. "I've had situations where a parent was going to buy drinks for a kid who looked 8 or 10 years old," he said, "and I had to say, 'That's a no-go.' "
But even if you can serve your own teens alcohol in your home state, that doesn't mean you can break out the beer or bubbly at a teen's party. "Parents can be held liable for providing alcohol to minors," Glynn Birch, national president of MADD, told momlogic. "MADD suggests checking the social host laws in your states. Social Host Liability is a law that imposes potential liability on adults as a result of their serving alcohol to minors who subsequently are involved in crashes causing death or injury to third parties." Click here to search social host laws in your area.
Many feel that teaching kids responsible drinking is better than forbidding it altogether. But others think providing teens with alcohol is tantamount to child abuse.
Do you think drinking with your teen is a good idea? Comment in the momlogic community.