Why can French children drink at age 9 and yet Americans need to wait until age 21?
Many in France get their first taste of alcohol as children when they dip their cookies in wine. Are the French more or less responsible than Americans?
Not just in France. I am of Dacian ancestry and I remember drinking a little bit of wine mixed with water probably at the age of five or six ... my grandparents said it helped with appetite. I don't know but I can certainly say that I did not turn-out an alcoholic. I do drink alcohol but only on special occasions or sometimes after a long day, I'll have a beer or two, to unwind. And ca c'est tout!
I find often times, North Americans to be a little anal in some aspects, to put it nicely. I think it has to do with Puritans having had a serious grip on the country (United States) from its foundation ...
"To each their own" - that's what I say. And remember that thing called: "balance".
Nearly all of Europe does this. Each country introduces wine (by tradition and custom) at a young age and teaches responsibllility in drinking with it. Also, the table wines they use only have about a 7% alcohol content. Europeans have a mature relationship with wine and alcohol. Americans have an immature relationship with alcohol. We preserve it for "adults" 21 years of age, thus encouraging the "sneaking" and "binging" that go on before the age of 21 and then encourging irresponsibility in drinking when we are 21 and over. We are hypocritical. By law, we ban alcohol until the age of 21 then allow drinking of it to go on unchecked in our colleges and universities. It has become almost a "right of passage" into adolecence and college age children. It we handled it like Europe does, I think we, too, could encourage a mature attitude toward wines and alcohols.
The American attitude toward alcohol was shaped by a distortion of Puritan beliefs. According to my research, Puritans didn't really abstain from alcohol but rather condemned drunkenness. The Prohibition of the 1920's was influenced by evangelical Protestant views that social alcohol consumption is sinful and with the goal of protecting women and children from the abuses of alcohol. Of course, the Prohibition didn't stop alcohol abuse. In my travels I have noticed a healthier attitude in some countries. Instead of prohibiting alcohol or consuming it only on special occasions and in excess, wine is enjoyed daily with meals and in moderation. I think this encourages a more balanced and mature view of alcohol.
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