About drinking alcohol in front of children?

(81 Posts)
stoopstofolly Sun 13-Oct-13 13:59:13

My DH and I are not big drinkers IMO(compared to our pre-children 20s!). We'll share a bottle of wine on Sat might if we're not going out and sometimes my husband had a bottle of beer in the evening after work. No more than 3 per week, as that's all I buy! We don't eat together much as a family during the week as DH works long hours , but always eat together every breakfast, Sat lunch and Sunday dinner. Sun dinner is at about 5.30. We've got into the habit if having a glass of wine at Sunday dinner (children are 7 and 3 and have water!). We don't drink the whole bottle at dinner- usually just a (large) glass, and then finish it sun evening/ Monday evening once children are in bed.
They have NEVER seen us drunk or really even tipsy.
My American friend was horrified by this- she said by drinking in front of the children on Sunday we were normalising alcohol use...
Now, I know that I'm exceeding the maximum daily units twice a week, but I hadn't really thought about what message this sends to the children. Do other people drink at family mealtimes or us my friend just reflecting a more puritanical American approach...?

I think drinking a small amount of wine with a meal is a very healthy thing to see. Far better than learning to be quiet on a Saturday morning because Daddy is hungover.

lizzzyyliveson Sun 13-Oct-13 14:02:48

Americans are weird about alcohol. A friend emigrated there and her new friends thought she had a drinking problem because she drank wine at home on an evening by herself. It's apparently not the thing to do in that area.

Beastofburden Sun 13-Oct-13 14:03:06

I think your drinking is entirely moderate in European terms. I have noticed that some Americans react to alcohol as I do to smoking- any amount is too much, and never in front of kids.

I think I would argue that of course you are normalising alcohol use- that is kind of the point. You are getting your DC to see normal, responsible family drinking as part of life. That's the European model.

I wouldn't get through a whole bottle with my own DH, binge drinking (which this is, though only just) is not a great idea. But have a glass less each, and I can't see what there is to complain about, TBH.

NotCitrus Sun 13-Oct-13 14:04:40

YANBU - and your friend is reflecting a particular puritanical minority of Americans (so yes it's a cultural divide, but there's even larger cultural divides on alcohol within the USA).

Tell her damn right it's normalising alcohol as something to be drunk one glass only on occasion, by adults, with a meal, and let her either chill out or get stuffed.

Lj8893 Sun 13-Oct-13 14:05:33

I think Americans have a very different view to alcohol than Brits and Europeans. A glass of wine with your meal in front of your children is absolutely fine IMO!

kali110 Sun 13-Oct-13 14:05:35

Op dont take any notice. Your not getting pissed every night in front of them!
My parents would have few drinks in week wiyh dinner, made me realise you can have few frinks socialising without getting paralytic.

stargirl1701 Sun 13-Oct-13 14:05:41

Americans can find normal European levels of social drinking very odd. I wouldn't worry. It's just different cultural perspectives.

Custardo Sun 13-Oct-13 14:05:43

god perfe t parenting bullshit. nothing wrong with getting plastered every now and again imo

and i definatley don't think your drinking enough

AlexaChelsea Sun 13-Oct-13 14:06:14

Half a bottle of wine is not binge drinking.

Anyway, YANBU. You're friend is ridiculous.

quoteunquote Sun 13-Oct-13 14:07:22

Has your USA(?) friend ever been to france? Where parents give children watered down wine with meals, the french have far few problems with youth drinking than either the UK or the USA.

demonstrating sensible participation is perfectly sensible,

Having been a teenager in the USA and here, I would say, that part of their huge problem, is because the adults don't engage in sensible demonstrations of alcohol consumption and expect total absence , USA teens go crazy on the stuff, and take far more drugs as it easier to get hold of.

Renniehorta Sun 13-Oct-13 14:08:15

Ridiculous. Americans have some very strange ideas about alcohol. Left over probably from the years of Prohibition. The state where I went on holiday this summer only permits spirits to be sent in state monopoly outlets.

Also some states do not permit under 21s to drink alcohol. So they are bound to have different views to the average Brit.

PasswordProtected Sun 13-Oct-13 14:08:25

Normalising alcohol use?hmm
Well if you were throwing back vodka or alcopops out of the bottle, possibly, but what is wrong with having a glass of wine with a meal?
It is normal in large parts of Europe. Far better to put consumption into context, surely?

dietcokeandwine Sun 13-Oct-13 14:09:57

I think what you describe is absolutely fine. I would happily do similar. I also have friends from the US who would happily do similar! As someone else has said, there are huge cultural differences, and differences of opinion on alcohol, within the US itself. You've obviously encountered someone from one of the more extremist puritanical parts.

I would keep doing as you are tbh.

Canthisonebeused Sun 13-Oct-13 14:11:16

It's ok to normalise alcohol use. It is a normal aspect of many healthy adult lives. What you are doing is fine.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Sun 13-Oct-13 14:11:31

How about telling your American friend that 14 year olds can drink with a restaurant meal in the UK?

That'll make her shock

Libertine73 Sun 13-Oct-13 14:12:00

Oh Lord, don't send her round here! YANBU

hettienne Sun 13-Oct-13 14:12:35

Having a glass of wine with dinner is normal so I am fine with it being normalised for children.

stoopstofolly Sun 13-Oct-13 14:13:41

Phew! Feeling better. It really hadn't occurred to me that it might be a problem- I remember being upstairs for some parties that my (then early twenties) parents threw in the 1970s and probably witnessed a lot more unsafe drinking- emerging unscathed! smile. She was just SO SURE of herself I had a wobble. Damn it - I'm European.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sun 13-Oct-13 14:14:17

What you are doing is perfectly fine and normal. Even if your children see you a bit tipsy sometimes it's really not going to do them one bit of harm. Drinking alcohol, as an adult, is normal - why would you want to hide it from your children?

We were always allowed to taste it if we wanted to (with warnings we probably woudn't like it!), had the odd shandy in the summer and as we got older were allowed a bit if we wanted it. I have a very 'take it or leave it' attitude to alcohol, never needed to hide it or binge as an (older) teenager - it was never the 'forbidden fruit'.

Some people have an odd attitude towards children seeing adults drinking alcohol - I suggest you <shrug> and let them get on with it whilst you enjoy your wine

MissMarplesBloomers Sun 13-Oct-13 14:15:18

Of course you are normalising MINIMAL alcohol consumption and when they are older maybe they will have a well watered down glass with their meal too.

That way it becomes a sociable , well monitored thing & not the forbidden fruit that leads to over consumption.

I have always had this attitude to drinking with mty DD's and we have talked about the perils of overdoing it & yes they have giggled at me getting tipsy on occasion and alcoholism etc.

One DD never touches a drop as she doesn't like the taste the other is always up for trying a sip of mine & is learning about different types of wine & what she likes, in a safe controlled manner.

There are worse things that the Americans could worry about like their attitude to guns!

insancerre Sun 13-Oct-13 14:15:45

Good God, Americans are so weird
Normalising alcohol?
Alcohol is normal in our house
Their attidtude to alcohol amazes me given their laissez-faire approach to gun ownership
I know which I would find more dangerous between a gun and a bottle of wine

wearingpurple Sun 13-Oct-13 14:15:50

Well, the ready and legal availability in all supermarkets, plus the existence of dedicated establishments for drinking the stuff, in in large number, across most of the western world, suggest to me that drinking alcohol is indeed 'normal'. So I'm not sure how you can 'normalise' it.

I have American friends who drink wine at home as well, so I wouldn't say she was exactly typical.

Bloody hell. Drinking wine is the only way I can parent wink

TheNunsOfGavarone Sun 13-Oct-13 14:46:50

Presumably what your friend said has made you worried that your (quite modest sounding) intake may cause your children to grow up with unhealthy attitudes towards alcohol and at risk of becoming alcoholic.

I don't think you are doing your children any disservice whatsoever by drinking in their company from time to time in the way you describe. I suspect how they respond to alcohol as adults is as likely to depend on their make up as individuals as on the example you are setting them now.

My parents drank daily, although not to excess. I occasionally saw Dad a bit drunk or hungover but never Mum. I am alcoholic but my sister, who grew up in exactly the same environment, is not.

Your friend might be interested to know that AA's big book has plenty of stories about people who grew up in the Prohibition era or in teetotal households only to become lushes.

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