Do you remember the first time you had a drink with your parents? Maybe they took you to Applebee’s on your 21st birthday for a Margarita and a rendition of Generic Birthday Song. Maybe they let 12-year-old you try some wine at Thanksgiving. Maybe they showed up at your frat house after sophomore year and played beer pong with you.
Depending on how you grow up, that first drink with your parents might be completely normal or it might be exceedingly awkward, especially if you’ve been imbibing for a while without them. For people who fall into the latter group and who care about their parents’ feelings, we wanted to get tips on what to do during that initial drinking session from the people who matter most: parents. Here are five rules for drinking with your parents for the first time, provided by real, honest to goodness parents, interpreted and paraphrased for clarity.
1. Make sure the parents are drinking at least as much as you are. If they’re OK having four or five drinks, you’re OK having four or five drinks. Just keep a running count of what they’re doing and match it.
2. No matter how much they’re drinking, do not get drunk. Or at least have a good hiding place if you do. You don’t want to have to fake being sober because you’re almost certainly not as good at it as you think you are.
3. To that end, pick a low alcohol beverage for this first encounter, like a session IPA or a white wine. Or, if you’re going the cocktail route, try something spritzy. Don’t try to see how far down a bottle of mezcal you can get.
4. Do it in a way that can be worked into the regular time you spend together. That is to say, share a bottle of wine over dinner. Don’t set up a late-night game of Kings—unless that’s how your family normally interacts with each other. We’re not judging.
5. Don’t be weird about it. As long as you’re following rules No. 1 and 2, this is a way less awkward milestone in your growing up than “the talk.” It’s a good chance to show them what a responsible adult you can be.
Bonus Advice for Parents: One father of three who didn’t quite understand the prompt had this to say to the parents among us: “Give them a beer when they’re young. They’ll hate the taste and won’t want any more.” This is why they say every family is unique.