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My friend allows his 13-year old son to drink an occasional bottle of "hard" lemonade. The friend's dad was an alcoholic, but my friend believes that he is demystifying alcohol by not making it taboo and teaching his son to drink responsibly. I am concerned that this well-meaning dad is making a mistake. I would like to pass on some literature to him to make him rethink his strategy. Can you help?

Answer:

We'll sure try! First, there is nothing "responsible" about breaking the law. In every state in the U.S., it is illegal for a 13-year old to drink alcohol. Perhaps without meaning to, the message this dad is sending is "the law doesn't apply to us." At 13, no child's mind or body is mature enough to handle the effects of a powerful drug. Research shows that the earlier kids start drinking, the more likely they will be to develop a problem with alcohol or other drugs later in life. The history of alcoholism in the family is cause for concern. Children with alcoholism in their families are at high risk for alcohol and other drug problems. And alcoholism can skip a generation, so the grandfather's alcoholism is a factor. For more information about kids and drinking, your friend can check out www.ncadd.org , www.health.org/pubs/alcruns/index.htm and www.health.org/pubs/tips/teenalc.htm Thanks for being a good friend!

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Last Updated 05.20.2002 | Email Parenting is Prevention | Privacy Policy