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Parent Posse: Is it OK for kids to drink alcohol with their parents?

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Wisconsinites must be at least 21 years old to drink alcohol, however, an under-aged person can legally imbibe in a bar accompanied by a parent. In fact, Wisconsin law states, "Persons under age 21 may be on licensed premises, and can be sold and allowed to drink alcohol beverages, if they are with their parents, guardians or spouses, as long as those persons are of legal drinking age; but this is at the discretion of the licensee."

Obviously, this is a controversial issue because some parents choose to introduce their children to alcohol at a young age and it might increase the chance of an intoxicated parent driving with child in tow. But like all parenting issues, is it anyone's place to judge the decision a parent makes for their child?

OnMilwaukee.com polled the Parent Posse this month about under-aged kids legally drinking in bars with their parents, and here's what they said. Weigh in with your opinion via the Talkback feature.

I can see letting a 20-year-old kid drink a glass of wine at a restaurant when he or she is out to eat, but giving a 12-year-old a beer in a bar is insane. I think the law needs to be more specific about how much an (under-aged person) is allowed to drink and under what kind of circumstances.
Cheryl Cross
Milwaukee

I think it's crazy, but we can't start saying what parents can and can't do otherwise we'll end up living in a police state. Giving alcohol to a kid is a dumb idea and a health risk, but it is still a parent's right to give it to them if they want. It is like Scientologists who do not give medicine to their sick kids. It is their right.
Kim Catcher
Shorewood

I am all for reducing government oversight and allowing parents to make decisions for their children. I just hope we can trust parents to do their jobs!
Robin Mindt
West Allis

No way. It should be illegal for people under age 21 to drink in bars. Period.
Anne Smith
Brookfield

Talkbacks

KMaren | Feb. 4, 2009 at 9:44 a.m. (report)

Absolutely parents should be able to teach their children to drink responsibly. Kids are going to sneak out and drink whenever they think they are ready. If my child would like to drink in my presence and I believe they are ready I would prefer to monitor their pace and behavior. The next day when they have had time to think about it, I would take the time to sit and talk with them about it meanwhile explaining all the pluses and minuses of alcohol.

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littlelamb | Feb. 3, 2009 at 6:27 p.m. (report)

Christian Science practitioners not Scientology practitioners...

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VAinWI | Feb. 2, 2009 at 6:35 p.m. (report)

I was allowed to have small amounts of alcohol (a little bit of "jug" wine mixed with 7-up) at family gatherings but no more; as we got older, my parents found religion and even that was disallowed, leading to me sneaking alcohol. I "snuck" alcohol around my parents until I was 35 years old. My kids (21, 18, 17) have been/are allowed to have a glass of wine or a beer under some circumstances, always under my supervision. I've seen no signs of irresponsible drinking from any of them and think, as with many other things that come up in childrearing, the more emphasis you put on things - good or bad - the more important they become. I'd much rather be involved in my children learning to drink responsibly than having them learn it from their friends. As always, my opinion. :) Virginia Cassel Milwaukee

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fatcat | Feb. 2, 2009 at 2:02 p.m. (report)

I once got out of a ticket in college because my dad was visiting, he let me have a glass of beer with our pizza, after dinner I went to a beer party (without Dad), it got busted, I said I didn't drink at the party, but my dad was in town, and I had a beer with him. The clerk of courts did not know that you could legally drink with your parent, he started yelling at me until the attorney for the municipality explained law to him.

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Jill | Feb. 2, 2009 at 12:01 p.m. (report)

I drank all the time with my grandparents underage at social events. I learned from young on to pace myself, to recognize the signs that I was drinking too much, and to enjoy how the alcohol pairs with the food. I leared as a teen that alcohol should enhance a social gathering, not be the focus of it. When parents instill these lessons, drinking underage can set the tone for responsible drinking for when that kid becomes an adult.

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