Underage drinking is a controversial topic. The drinking age in the US is 21, and slightly lower across the pond at 18. Some parents feel very strongly that the minimum age requirements should be followed, while others take a looser approach. A British journalist and mom lets her 13 year old drink at home, claiming that it teaches them responsibility and gives them a better understanding of what alcohol does to their body and how they can handle it.
Shona Sibary was on Good Morning Britain to defend her decision. This mom lets her 13 year old drink alcohol in their home. She hopes by doing so, she’s helping them avoid making bad decisions when they’re older.
Shona has 4 kids, ages 7, 14, 16, and 18. She says that allowing her children to consume alcohol from a young age will better prepare them. Shona believes that they will learn how to drink responsibly, how to understand the affects of alcohol on their bodies, and how to drink in moderation. She also claims that be removing the “novelty” of underage drinking, they won’t feel pressured to drink outside of the home.
“You wouldn’t get into a car without learning how to drive,” Sibary said on Good Morning Britain. “And what I’m doing for my children is, by giving them small amounts on special occasions, they’re learning how their bodies react to alcohol with food. Therefore they’re in a far better position when they go out with their friends to know what they’re capable of drinking.”
In the UK, the legal drinking age is 18. But some laws allow for underage alcohol consumption in the home. And it’s not that uncommon for parents to allow their underage kids to drink. According to a report by the BBC, 1 in 6 parents give their teens alcohol by the age of 14.
Dr. Richard Piper, who was a guest on the same panel, warned that Shona’s reasoning doesn’t hold water.
“The earlier people start to drink the more likely they are to have drinking problems later in life”, said Dr. Piper. In fact, the American Psychological Association says that giving kids alcohol early can lead to a greater chance of alcohol dependence later in life. Incredibly, Shona’s own mother died of alcoholism just a couple of years ago.
Watch the segment for yourself, and tell us: are you comfortable with allowing your teenager to drink in your home?