My oldest son is turning sixteen soon and I had a question about my logic regarding alcohol consumption at a young age.
To offer some context, my parents were very liberal with me growing up. They offered me alcoholic beverages on occasion starting when I was sixteen (maybe once a month at a party or large family dinner), and I would sometimes accept and sometimes decline - I had a sense of responsibility and decision-making. Throughout college I felt like these experiences helped me, over my peers, learn to not abuse alcohol. My parents were complicit with me drinking throughout college under the logic of "we trust you to not mess up."
At the same time, I also think I was more responsible than most kids my age back then. So far my son hasn't shown any signs of irresponsibility, but I understand that he's not exactly the same as I was as a kid.
My concerns are that offering him alcohol might teach him that my personal views are above the law (we live in the US, where the drinking age is 21). In addition, even if I trust him to be responsible, there is always the chance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time (especially in college). Clearly none of these things happened to me, but my concerns are worrying and I find myself with conflicting opinions: I feel like I should offer my son the same experiences my parents offered me (doubly so because I think they were beneficial), but for some reason actually being a parent is different from theorizing about it.
I talked this over with my wife and she, not having drank until she turned 21, seems really apathetic about the situation. I think she thinks that either way our son will be responsible, and left the decision up to me since I have concerns.
So, should I occasionally give my son alcohol?