I encourage our daughter to drink…
When I was growing up, Alcohol was lot as freely available as it is now. An off licence was the one and only place that take away alcohol was purchased, other than if a pub had a seedy off sales window. I am not saying that this deterred me from wishing away my life to be 18, so I could go to the pub without the nervousness in my belly of being found out for underage drinking. I spent a lot of time trying to get into pubs to sample the illusive alcohol.
So here is the difference. My drinks made me gag a little and usually involved adding a splash of Blackcurrant or lime to get rid of the horrible taste of Lager. Now, however, you have freely available alcohol drinks that taste of fruity, fizzy, sherbet and yummy. If these nice drinks were available when I was young, I have no doubt that it would have influenced me to drink more, because it tasted nice.
20 odd years on and I now live in France and have a 15 year old daughter. I encourage her to drink wine and beer with meals or if we go out, we are happy for our daughter to drink as long as it is within our company. We will not allow fruity flavoured alcho-pops, in fact, it is virtually impossible to buy alcho pops in France, in fact even Lager only comes in packs of 4 and not crates of 24. The emphasis is on quality and not quantity.
Our daughter , I hope, is aware that alcohol is not something seedy and that she can enjoy a glass of wine with us, she does not need to wish her life away to become 18 so that she can be served Alcohol, she can be served now. One thing she is aware is that her friends back in the UK have problems with alcohol and get drunk as often as they can, I hope our outlook has given her a good start towards non abuse.
Although alcohol is a part of daily life in France, getting drunk is not. Generally alcohol is a drink to be enjoyed.
Attached is a pic of my daughter Katie and her friend having a bier blonde at a local bar.