There are a lot of myths about underage drinking that just aren’t true. 

For example: A lot of parents believe that letting their young kids have a sip of beer or wine will make drinking less mysterious and less tempting, and will decrease the chances their kids will grow up to abuse alcohol. But in fact, the exact opposite is true. 

Psychologist Dr. Aric Sigman says that the earlier a child tastes alcohol, the greater their chances are of having a drinking problem as an adult. That’s because early exposure to alcohol primes the brain to enjoy the sensation, and start to crave more. Studies also show that drinking alcohol at a young age can stunt a child’s brain development, and raise their risk of developing certain types of cancer.

So, when is it appropriate for young people to drink alcohol? Dr. Sigman says that, in an ideal world, the minimum drinking age would be 25. Because that’s when the human brain is fully developed, and people are mature enough to make responsible decisions. But since that’s not realistic, he advises that young people wait as long as possible before they try alcohol.