It sends the wrong signals
The law does not prohibit you offering your own children a small quantity of alcohol, provided it’s done in a controlled manner. It’s not illegal, in other words, to offer your teenager a splash of wine at the dinner table. But even if the law says it’s OK, it sends your teenager the wrong signals. If you explain that alcohol can cause physical harm and that it’s actually dangerous, isn’t it going to look a bit odd if you offer them a glass now and then? It can actually give the impression that you, as a parent, don’t care.
My parents let me have a taste when they're drinking wine. They don't really mind that much. They just laugh and think it's fun.
Majken, aged 15, Örebro
It doesn’t make teenagers drink less
Teenagers are seldom interested in a relaxed, moderate approach to alcohol. Teenagers who drink don’t do so to relax or because it tastes good. Young people primarily drink to get drunk. There is no research showing that a teenager who drinks half a glass of wine at home drinks less when they’re out later that evening with their friends. There is, however, research showing that teenagers who are offered alcohol at home drink more in general. If you’re allowed to drink at home, it’s like a permission slip to drink when you’re out too.
When my parents drink, I usually take a quick swig when they're not looking. Because that way, you know what it tastes like and can sort of get used to it.
Sanna, aged 15, Gothenburg
Your attitude matters
Your attitude is very important in determining whether your teenager drinks. One in every five ninth graders whose parents think it’s OK for teenagers to drink alcohol binge drink alcohol every month. If you ask ninth graders whose parents say “no”, fewer than 6 per cent get drunk that often.
Present a united family front
Try and make sure that all of the adult members of the family have the same attitude towards offering teenagers alcohol at home. Come to an agreement with the other parent or the new partner as to where the boundary lies.