Alcohol Education by Parents: Should States Prohibit It?

Many U.S. states prohibit alcohol education by parents. Historically, this is a radical change


I.   Tradition

II.  Radical Laws

III. Effective Alcohol Education

IV.  Resources

I.  Tradition

Both common law and societal tradition give parents very wide latitude in raising their children. Parents can raise their children in whatever religion they wish. Or they can raise them as atheists or agnostics. Parents can teach them whatever social and political views they wish. And they can determine their education (public, private, parochial or home-school).

Historically, parents have also been able to raise children in their own ethnic tradition. Italians have been able teach their children to enjoy Italian cuisine and savor it with a little wine. Jewish parents have been able to teach Jewish cultural and religious tradition. They could serve them alcohol as part of this tradition. And Catholic parents have been able to let their children celebrate communion with alcohol served by a priest.

II. Radical Laws

Some want to protect children from alcohol education by parents. So some states have passed radical laws. They prohibit parents from serving their children alcohol beverages for any reason. For example, in North Carolina, parents can be fined $250 and assigned 25 hours of community service. In Maryland, parents can receive a $1,000 fine for a first offense.

In many states, penalties also apply to priests who serve communion wine to anyone under the age of 21. Or to doctors who prescribe meds containing alcohol for an “underage” person.

Temperance activists think they’re protecting our children from their parents, priests and doctors. But the policies that neo-temperance activists promote are actually counterproductive.

III. Effective Alcohol Education by Parents

In some groups, including Jews, Italians, Greeks, Portuguese, Spaniards, and many others, most people drink but there are few problems. There are three keys to their success.

    1. Alcohol Education by parentsPeople view alcohol as rather neutral. It’s neither poison nor needed for happiness. How alcohol is used is what’s important.
    2. People who can legally drink have two choices. One is to drink in moderation. The other is to abstain. But it’s never ok for anyone of any age ever to abuse alcohol.
    3. Parents teach young people about alcohol from an early age in the home by good example. They think it’s good for young people to learn about alcohol in the parents’ house. Instead of in the fraternity house.

The actions of many alcohol activists and law makers are doing much harm. As such, they are part of the problem rather than the solution.

IV. Resources: Alcohol Education by Parents

Web Pages

Drinking with Parents Reduces Alcohol Abuse among Teenagers.

Drinking with Parents is “Protective” of Alcohol Abuse. (Different study.)

Parents Giving Alcoholic Drinks May Reduce Drinking-Related Problems.

Children, Alcohol and Parenting: What Should Parents Do?

Parental Supply of Alcohol and Alcohol Consumption in Adolescence.


Cheung, Y. et al. Harm Reduction. Toronto: U Toronto, Press, 2016. 

Peele, S. Addiction Proof Your Child. Potter, 2009.


This website is for information only. Thus, it gives no advice about alcohol education by parents.