I hope I'm not opening a can of worms here, but one of the things that always baffles me when I'm in the U.S. is that alcohol is such a big taboo. I was just reminded of this this past weekend when I went to a winetasting where the parents brought their young (5 year-old) daughter and having an U.S American comment negatively about it. The child was also perfectly well behaved and a joy for all of us there throughout the evening.
I was introduced to wine and beer at a very young age - not drinking it, but being around it, my parents would drink some wine or beer with us kids around and taking us to wine tastings (where, yes, we were allowed to have a tiny sip, which we did not like).
Same as vacationing in France, a little bit of wine in a glass of water was considered completely fine for kids (from I think 5 or 6 years on?) or having some of the foam on top of dads beer. Again, not the preferred drink of any kid, but it certainly took the magic away.
A glass of champagne at New Years Eve was fine (in my family) after turning 14 and having had confirmation. And then, well, being in Germany, wine and beer were legal anyway at 16 years of age. (Please note that it's also legal for a child to have certain amounts of alcohol under 16 years of age, as long as the parents are present and okay with it.)
So, having had a childhood like that, and growing up to be responsible and educated about how much and when I choose to drink, I'm kind of leaning towards not making alcohol a taboo in my household.
I guess I just wonder why the views on kids "growing up with alcohol" diverge so much, and how you see it on the other side of the pond.