Linkage between family dinners and teenage abstinence? I can think of many
other behaviors that might be more correlated. Parental drinking habits and
attitudes. Church attendance where friends are teetotalers. Good grades and
higher intelligence. Working in the family business where you often tutored by
parents. Nothing against dinners with your children but I doubt that will keep
them from alcohol if their friends are drinking, if they are undisciplined, and
left to fend for themselves on weekend evenings.
The vitriol that the Deseret News (and Utah) has against underage drinking also
has me confused. In other countries -- including most of Europe, Asia, and Latin
America -- it is quite common for children to have at least tasted alcohol
before they turn 18. I'm not sure that, based on evidence from those
countries, drinking in moderation before a certain age can be shown to cause
lasting harm to children.I know that much of the opposition to
children drinking -- even very moderately as part of a family meal -- stems from
the majority religion in Utah. While I respect their right to worship their god
as they please and understand that part of that worship involves abstaining from
the consumption of alcohol , I remain unconvinced that underage drinking
represents a health or societal threat and not just a religious one.
Unless of course, they are serving wine.
The kids can enjoy a small snifter of wine with a big family meal and it's
ok. In spite of the recent tirades in the DN, I still don't believe the
only way to keep kids from drinking is denial, the 'don't touch that
it's dirty' approach. When I lived in japan I found beer in vending
machines by the train stations and a society void of drunken children. It all
comes down to a healthy attitude.