Alcohol and children

Another thread asked about religion and alcohol. Mention was made that in France people begin drinking wine as children. I recall hearing someone (could’ve been in Father Goose) saying “I was drinking wine mixed with water when I was five years old!”

In the U.S., serving alcohol to minors would be consedered “contributing to the delinqency of a minor”, wouldn’t it? Or would it? A case could be made that the mere act of drinking alcohol – especially under monitored conditions – does not contribute to delinqency. It can also be shown that wine is beneficial to one’s health.

So if a parent in the U.S. serves a moderate amount of wine (“child-size” and/or diluted) to his or her own child, with the intention of introducing or continuing a widespread custom of another modern nation, and/or recognizing the health benefits of moderate wine consumption and providing those benefits to his or her own child, would this parent be in violation of the law? Would such a parent be prosecuted? If prosecuted, is the parent likely to be acquitted because of the history of similar wine consumption that can be pointed out in France?

(I have no children. Just curious.)

Texas Alcholic Beverage Code, Sec. 106.06:

(b). A person may purchase an alcoholic beverage for or give an alcoholic beverage to a minor if he is the minor’s adult parent, guardian, or spouse, or an adult in whose custody the minor has been committed by a court, and he is visibly present when the minor possesses or consumes the alcoholic beverage.
So there ya go.

It doesn’t say how much they can give the kid. What if the parent thought a six-pack was appropriate? Or a case?

Not that I have a problem with kids drinking a little wine now and again. The mystique is what forges this country’s obsession with booze.

“Why must you show such insatiable curiousity about my forbidden closet of mystery?”

I’m guessing that the section provided above acts as a defense to the crime of contributing to a minor only, and wouldn’t be a defense to reckless endangerment of a child or various family code statutes. If you knowingly let your kid drink a liter of vodka you’ll get prosecuted for something far more serious than contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

I don’t get the idea of the mystique, frankly. Many of the New York Jews I know had sips and watered glasses of wine during holidays and family gatherings (at least, that’s what they tell me), kids in New Orleans certainly get samples during childhood, and I’ve been to polka dances in the midwest where little kids were being allowed to taste their parents and grandparents beer (and watch their parents get high as kites and dance all night.)

Indiana Code:

IC 7.1-5-7-15
Aiding unlawful possession
Sec. 15. A person twenty-one (21) years of age or older who knowingly or intentionally encourages, aids, or induces a minor to unlawfully possess an alcoholic beverage commits a Class C infraction.

I believe that it is only illegal to give alcohol to anyone under the age of 4 here in the UK, of course it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to buy it. Just a couple of data points.

Dogface: What is “unlawful possession”? (That law looks to me like something designed to prohibit adults from “helping out” a couple of teenagers who are hanging out outside of the liqour store.)

You can’t drink until you’re four over there? You bunch of lightweights! :wink:

I should clarify that the section I quoted above is subsection (b) of the “purchasing or funihing alcohol to a minor” section of the code, which makes it a class A misdemeanor to purchase, give, or make available with criminal negligence alcohol to/for a minor. Subsection (b) makes a parental/guardian/spousal exception.

Only in the eyes of the law of course; in practice it is not uncommon to see large gangs of toddlers ramraiding wine merchants or hanging around outside, asking twelve-year-olds to buy them hard liquor.

I am not a lawyer, but: Context is everything. If you give your 4-year old a sip of watered-down wine at the dinner table, the chances of your being charged with anything are so small as to be non-existent, even if it were illegal. Obviously if you’re giving your teenager 6-packs of beer to go get stupid with, that’s another thing entirely. People have been charged with violating such rules if they hold “keg parties” in their home for groups of teens, for example. Finally, if you regularly give your children alcohol to the extent that their health is damaged, presumably you could be charged with endangerment.

“Unlawful possession” in Indiana is defined very broadly. Technically, by the wording of the law, Orthodox Christian Communion involves “possession” of alcohol by the recipient.

It is usually enforced under a far more reasonable measure, but the law actually allows for greater extremes.

Slight correction - the age limit is 5. UK alcohol laws (pdf).

Is that a relatively new law? I clearly remember being in London in 1985, when I was 15, buying greyhounds (vodka and grapefruit juice) at a club, and thinking it was the neatest thing in the world that I could buy alcohol.

In Ohio you’re allowed to serve your own (minor) children alcoholic beverages, but not others. The law doesn’t mention a quantity limit. My guess is that if you got your 8 y.o. child inebriated you would be charged with something. Abuse of a minor, perhaps?

In Washington it is legal for a minor to consume alcohol in the presence of the minor’s parent, but only at their own residence, making it impossible for the kid to drink with his friends. (I guess they could meet at the fence or property line)

I think it is almost certain that theis was sold to you illegally; 16 year-olds can purchase beer or cider(which is the name for fermented apple juice in the UK), but only with a meal. 15 year-olds can enter a bar if it has the appropriate licence and if they are accompanied by an adult, but they may not (legally)purchase or consume alcohol.

Quick correction/addendum:
Actually, it is anyone 14 or over for the beer/cider thing, the range of available drinks is severely limited; they may not purchase or consume wines, spirits & liqueuers.