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Your Child and Alcohol

When to Start Talking

This may come as a shock, but the average age a child first tries alcohol is 11. Many kids are curious sooner. Some experts say you should start talking to them about it as early as age 9.

“It’s never too early to talk about it,” says Caitlin Abar, PhD, a SUNY Brockport psychologist who studies parenting influences on teen drinking.

Talk to him about it again before he heads off to college. These messages stick and can help keep him safe.

Keep on the Right Side of the Law

Depending on what state you live in, letting your kid drink at home may get you in legal trouble.

In all U.S. states, the minimum drinking age is 21, and it’s illegal to give alcohol to minors.

Thirty-one states have exceptions if the child’s parents are providing the alcohol.

In some states, hosting teen parties that have alcohol is a crime, leading to jail or fines. You also risk being sued for injuries or damages.

Reviewed on April 18, 2014

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