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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s the season to raise a glass. And if you’re tempted to give your teen the first taste of alcohol, experts say stop!

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A recent survey found that more than 10,000 people from ages 12 to 17 will taste alcohol for the first time on any given day in the month of December.

That concerns alcohol and drug rehab counselor Heather Nolan.

“Twenty-one is a drinking age for a reason,” she says. “You have a developing body and a developing brain and you’re essentially adding poison.”

Nolan says some children are predisposed to alcoholism. “If it’s in your family, I think it’s one in 4 higher chance than not,” she says.

IT manager and Frisco native, Manny who does not want to use his last name says he was one of them.

He says he was already feeling the effects of alcohol at age 12.

“I had sips of alcohol a lot younger than 12-13.”

He grew up in Latin America where there is no legal age for drinking alcohol.

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Nolan says it’s not just the kids but also the adults around who can influence alcoholic behavior.

“Parents can model good behaviors” she says. “Alcohol should never be the focus of the party.”

Manny agrees. Looking back he realizes that drinking alcohol seemed acceptable to him because he saw a lot of adults around him abusing it.

“I did for many years what I saw other people do – people who I looked up to,” he says.

Nolan says parents should lead by example and, have an open conversation with children about their own alcohol habits.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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