Does Letting Kids Drink at Home Raise Responsible Drinkers?

The Wall Street Journal asked in an article earlier this week whether parents should let their kids drink alcohol at home, under the idea that having an occasional beer or glass of wine at home in moderation will help them grow up to be responsible drinkers. Opponents argue that underage drinking of any kind is dangerous and illegal, and that parents allowing this sends an irresponsible message that could in fact make teens prone to abuse alcohol later on.

Although the minimum drinking age is 21 in all 50 states, 31 states allow parents to give alcohol to minors. Research on the issue is limited, however at least one survey found a difference between parents just supplying alcohol to their teenagers, versus drinking along with their kids, such as having wine with dinner.

The 2004 study found that teens who attended a party where alcohol was supplied by a parent were twice as likely to have engaged in binge drinking and twice as likely to be regular drinkers, while teens who drank along with their parents were only one-third as likely to binge and half as likely to be regular drinkers