Consuming wine, beer, and other alcoholic drinks is a part of many cultures, and in some parts of the world, kids who are in their late teens are allowed to drink alcohol. The legal drinking age in Spain is 18, which is why you’ll often see families with older teens drinking beer at beer halls in Barcelona or Madrid. In Belgium and Austria, 16 year olds are allowed to drink and purchase beer and wine. Meanwhile in Germany, 14 year olds are allowed to drink beer and wine in public places such as restaurants and bars, as long as they’re in the presence of a legal guardian while they’re drinking. If you’re in Barcelona with your 18-year-old child, then make it your first priority to educate them about responsible drinking. By keeping communication channels open and modeling good behavior, your teenager will learn about alcohol responsibility which will benefit them throughout their life.
A study has shown that European youths have more issues related to underage intoxication than their American peers, and these issues include injuries, driving accidents, behavior problems, and school problems, among others. Though there are many initiatives to help and support children to improve their self-worth, academics, and social behavior, it’s always better to prevent problems from occurring in the first place. Since most of these issues occur because of excessive alcohol intake, they can be prevented by explaining what moderate consumption is to your teenage child. Moderate drinking means no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks per day for men. If you're ordering drinks in Barcelona, one standard beer order should have no more than 12 ounces of beer containing 5 percent alcohol, while one glass of wine should have just 5 ounces of wine containing 12 percent alcohol.
Practicing what you preach is also a good way to teach your teenage child to be a responsible drinker. Make sure to follow moderate consumption guidelines, and don’t set different drinking rules for yourself just because you’re an adult. If you’re drinking at a restaurant or a beer hall in Barcelona, never approve the behavior of some adults who drink too much—your child may think that just because you’re laughing at their antics or words means that you're okay with excessive drinking.
Also, you should never provide alcohol to anyone who’s underage. This means not giving your 18-year-old’s younger sibling a sip of your beer or wine just so they can feel included. Finally, never drink and drive, even if you think you feel perfectly fine after two beers. This sends a clear message to your teenager that it’s never okay to drink while under the influence of alcohol.
Teenagers who are exposed to moderate and appropriate use of alcohol at family dinners or night outs during holidays are more likely to learn about responsible drinking at a young age. Always actively monitor your teenager’s alcohol consumption, and never forget to model healthy behavior while you’re drinking so you can lay a solid foundation for your child’s decision making in the future.