Recently, Vermont was in the news for their efforts to roll back the drinking age allowing young adults age 18 – 20 to purchase alcoholic beverages under certain circumstances. In reading this article I came across the non –profit group Choose Responsibility, which “was founded to stimulate informed and dispassionate public discussion about the presence of alcohol in American culture and to consider policies that will effectively empower young adults age 18 to 20 to make mature decisions about the place of alcohol in their own lives.” The site explains where the 21 year old drinking age limit came from in 1984, myths around how well the law works or doesn’t at keeping underage kids from drinking, and provides both arguments for and against “Legal Age 21”. Their proposal to “fix” the under age drinking problem is to do it through education similar to driver education moving away from the current “Just Say No” method to one that empowers young adults to make proper decisions when it comes to alcohol and deal with it as a part of American culture.
Some interesting facts from the site –
Myth – Legal Age 21 keeps people under 21 from actually consuming alcohol
Facts – From the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth: 96% of the alcohol drunk by 15-20 year-olds is consumed when the drinker is having five or more drinks at a time; between 1993 and 2001, 18-20 year-olds showed the largest increase in binge drinking episodes
I know there have been posts by wine bloggers before about how you would deal with alcohol in your own household if you had or have younger children, but I am posing that question to you now anyways. Virginia is one of the 30 states in the US that allow parents to serve alcohol to their children in their own home, so when I become a parent in the future I have a choice of what I want to do. Megan and I plan to teach our kids at a fairly young age that wine is to be enjoyed responsibly, bring friends and family together and to enhance the food that we eat. To what extent we teach them is the hard part of the decision, do we give them a 2oz. glass of wine at dinner when they are 13, I really don’t know. I think it’s important to teach children that wine isn’t a big deal while also showing them it is a big deal- wine should be consumed responsibly as a source of enjoyment and camaraderie, not guzzled secretly in a dark corner. Fortunately for us we have time to ponder this question – we have quite a few years before we have to deal with this since we don’t even have a bun in the oven.