Most of us in the press and the blogosphere -- including me -- were pretty tough on Jack Trudeau when the story broke about his apparent hosting of a drinking party for his child's graduation. Here's a different point of view:
The best evidence shows that teaching kids to drink responsibly is better than shutting them off entirely from it,” he told me. “You want to introduce your kids to it, and get across the point that that this is to be enjoyed but not abused.”
He said that the most dangerous day of a young person's life is the 21st birthday, when legality is celebrated all too fervently. Introducing wine as a part of a meal, he said, was a significant protection against bingeing behavior.
That's something to think about -- giving a young person an occasional sip of wine with dinner is a little different from hosting a party at which he and all his friends drink to get (at least) a buzz on. And it is true that for most other potentially dangerous things -- driving a car, shooting a gun -- there seems to be consensus that the best thing to do is introduce young people to the activity gradually so as to teach them responsible and appropriate use.
Alcohol is little different, though. The line between responsible use and abuse can be a tricky one -- its position not exactly known until it is crossed. Young people are not very good with lines anyway, and whenever I hear of adults wanting to help blur them even further, I cringe.