Life Parenting
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Everything the French do gastronomically seems so… chic, does it not? They eat baguette and cheese yet still stay skinny. They cook with butter, yet they’re healthy. Heck, they even make things like frog legs, escargot and steak tartare sound delicious and sophisticated.

And the big one? They’re known to start wine consumption at an early age.

It seems that’s one model a well-known British personality has followed over the course of her life. The Duchess of Cornwall, a.k.a. Camilla, recently admitted that her love for vino was fostered at a young age.

“People always ask me how I became involved in it all, well first of all I love wine, but secondly, my father was in the wine business, so I was brought up as a child drinking wine and water rather like the French,” Camilla recently told a crowd at a reception for UK’s Vineyard Association.

The royal is 69-years-old now, so it’s no surprise that she was raised in a household that probably equated wine and water as equal beverages. It is, after all, a very continental European way of thinking.

And really, is it that bad?

When it comes to alcohol consumption, most North American parents are told to keep kids away. With the drinking age set at 18 or 19 years old depending on the province in question, alcohol plus children is clearly a big no-no.

In reality though, what happens in a household is usually left up to the discretion of parents. And in terms of educating children — with most kids learning about alcohol on their own, often in less than desirable circumstances — the argument is: why shouldn’t they learn it at home, in a responsible setting?

According to some reports, the learn-at-home model may encourage adult habits that include less likelihood of binge-drinking. Especially if children grow up in a household where they see parents drink responsibly (a glass of wine with dinner, for example), rather than doing the opposites: binging or abstaining.

Then there are the counter-reports, which claim that teenage drinking in France is on the rise. Whether that’s from external factors (pop culture, other countries’ influences seeping in) or because of the “let them have wine” way of thinking isn’t exactly clear.

In the end, who are we to judge? Camilla, along with so many other European men and women who grew up with alcohol at the table, seem to have turned out all right.

And when it comes to parenting there’s no checkbox that fits all. At the end of the day parents have to make responsible choices for their children. Because as they say in France, c’est la vie.