Underage Drinking in Restaurants & Bars

by David J. Hanson, Ph.D.

Seven states in the U.S. permit persons under age 21 to drink alcoholic beverages in restaurants and bars with their parents.

These states recognize something important to reducing alcohol abuse: Societies and groups in which young people learn to drink with their parents tend to have lower rates of drinking-related problems.

Recent research sponsored by the federal government documents the effectiveness of drinking with parents. The nation-wide study of 6,200 teenagers across the U.S. found that those who drank alcohol with their parents were less likely than other to have either consumed alcohol or abused it.

Drinking alcohol with parents “may help teach them responsible drinking habits or extinguish some of the ‘novelty’ or ‘excitement’ of drinking” according to senior researcher Dr. Kristie Long Foley of the School of Medicine at Wake Forest University. Dr. Foley describes drinking with parents as a “protective” behavior.

The study was funded by the National Evaluation of the Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Program.


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