Based on the principle of Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t, many parents would subscribe to the view that kids are going to drink anyway, so forbidding them from doing so is not going to really help.
Instead they choose to allow drinking, in a controlled supervised fashion believing that this will kill curiosity and also keep things within limits.
Many states also allow parents to let their own teen aged children drink in their own homes.
In a sense it is also unrealistic to expect children to abstain from drink in a social situation where there is tremendous peer pressure on.
Out of the desire to be with it or cool, or solely from the desire not to be mocked or left out, many children will drink, regardless of parental instructions.
For these several reasons, so long as parents keep certain things in mind and place certain caveats upon the permission to drink, this may not be a bad idea in a lot of cases:
Supervision: If there is going to be a party or a weekend away from home, then it ought to be supervised by a parent. The principles of moderation, responsibility and safe behavior ought to be explained to children, at least one’s own children.
If a school prom is imminent, it can reasonably be presumed that there will be at least some alcohol present. In this case, make sure that your child gets driven to and from the prom, in a rental car, so that there is no chance that he or she will be in a situation of having to drive after drinking.
Don’t ask don’t tell policy could work: In a scenario where there are a lot of teens in a social setting or situation, where there can be alcohol reasonably expected, a ‘don’t ask don’t tell policy’ may actually be the only viable one.
While you do not supply the booze, you are aware of its presence and the kids are aware of your awareness. This tacit understanding could keep a lid of things and prevent the situation escalating without cramping your teen’s style.
Take away the car keys: There can be no negotiation on this one; permitting alcohol within limits is one thing, allowing access to an automobile is entirely another. This cannot be allowed in any circumstances when there is going to be booze around.
If you find that outright prohibition is not the answer, perhaps this middle of the road approach is the right one for you?