Some people are horrified when I tell them that I've let my 5-1/2-year old daughter take a (tiny) sip of my wine. I don't see what the big deal is. It's not like I'm serving her her own glass. I'm just doing what my parents did with my two siblings and I. But not because I think that introducing her to alcohol now will make her less likely to abuse it when she gets older. I'm not really sure that one thing has anything to do with the other.

As obvious from the statement I made before, alcohol was not taboo in my family. I wouldn't say my parents were heavy drinkers, but I do remember them drinking on a regular basis. In other words, alcohol was not a big deal in my household

I don't know if that's the reason why, unlike some of my other friends, I didn't go binge drinking when I left home for college. Maybe, maybe not. I actually think it had more to do with the fact that I never really liked the taste of alcohol, especially of wine. Every time my parents let me have a sip growing up, I thought it was disgusting, and so I never cared for it even when I was old enough to legally drink. (Until I came to my senses later, of course, and realized how delicious wine can be!)

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I will say, though, that the main thing my parents did right in regards to alcohol wasn't introducing it to me at a young age, but rather showing me that it was something to be enjoyed instead of abused. In other words, I clearly remember my father exalting about how delicious a good glass of red wine was because of its taste not because of the buzz it might have given him. Even so, each person is completely different and I truly believe that some of us are more predisposed than others to abuse alcohol.

I say this because even though we were all raised in the same household and with the same views about alcohol, my two siblings and I responded to this substance completely different once we became adults. There are a lot more factors involved in whether or not your children will abuse alcohol when they grow up than whether or not you introduce it to them early on. 

Even so, I still believe that children learn from example and so I plan on showing mine how to drink responsibly. I'll continue to let them try a sip of my glass of wine when they ask. After all, I don't think it can hurt. 

Have you let your children take a sip of your wine? Do you think introducing children to alcohol makes them less likely to abuse it later on?

Image via willia4/flickr

About the author

Roxana A. Soto is Features Editor of MamásLatinas. She's a bilingual and bicultural journalist born in Peru and raised in Mexico, Argentina, South Africa and Miami. She's also mom to a girl in 3rd grade and a boy in Kinder. She loves books, languages, traveling and good food – especially when cooked by someone else.

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