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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'm in agreement with your friend we have a 10, 8, and 20 month old none of them have ever seen me or dh drink alcohol, they know we have a drink (very rarely, around 5/6 times a year) when they are staying at their nanas, they have also never seen us hungover, I am really uncomfortable with people drinking infront of kids I have a few friends who drink several times a week in front of their dcs and it makes me cringe. I wouldn't leave my dcs in the care of someone drinking any alcohol.

Laquitar Sun 13-Oct-13 14:57:14

Take her to France.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 13-Oct-13 15:00:06

Better to normalise it that it be a big taboo thing.

A glass of wine with food - normal
15 pints - not normal

Bowlersarm Sun 13-Oct-13 15:03:45

ThreeCackles think that might be just you. And the ops American friend.

BigDomsWife Sun 13-Oct-13 15:18:53

ThreeCackles - calm down would you please? There is nothing wrong with having a drink whilst your children are present. Drinking alcohol is part of most peoples lives in the UK so I believe the more you make it out to be taboo, the more appealing it will be to your children.

My Parents bought me up teetotal & I had my first drink aged 25 as the mystery got me. What happened? I became a full blown alcoholic by age 30. Ive recovered now and make a point to have ONE drink when my Children are with me. No big deal, just us enjoying a family drink. Relaxed and enjoying One or Two drinks thats all. Never say never (or cringe).

bugster Sun 13-Oct-13 15:21:30

Don't worry OP, my DH and I have a glass of wine with dinner much more often than once per week, more often than not, with DCs present and eating with us. For us it is normal to drink wine with a meal - not every day but regularly. My parents did the same. We never drink to excess though. It is fine by me if our DC think that it is normal for adults to drink in this way.

I have to say though, our DC are very interested in what we drink and often want to try it themselves. Very occasionally ( like once per year) we let them have a sip and they like it. Don't know if I should be worried about that! We tell them they shouldn't drink anything as it is worse for them than us as they are still growing.

pumpkinsweetie Sun 13-Oct-13 15:22:15

Yes & No

Glass of wine, or half pint of beer/cider with a meal= perfectly fine and shows children how alchol should be drunk.

Drinking until you are sozzled= No

WorraLiberty Sun 13-Oct-13 15:25:23

ThreeCacklesLovesCandyApples if your children know you sometimes drink but never see you do it...isn't that a bit unhealthy?

It may come across to them as your dirty little secret that you're ashamed of.

Rather than something that's perfectly normal in British culture?

Libertine73 Sun 13-Oct-13 15:29:02

I agree, it will be all mysterious, something that you go off and do alone, could back fire?

not mysterious or taboo here at all we just don't think being under the influence of anything and In care of children (for us) isn't something we want to happen.

my dds are well aware drinking in moderation is completely normal.

we always worry that one may become ill and if your drunk or tipsy not in the best head space. probably because 2 of them have required urgent hospitalisation during the night one of which was a life threatening illness.

HearMyRoar Sun 13-Oct-13 15:36:54

Neither Me or dp drink alcohol at all. We both used to drink a lot but just sort of stopped for no real reason then we just don't fancy it. Anyway, I think your friend is being silly. I actually worry a bit about the fact that as we don't drink we will not be able to give dd that example of how to drink sensibly and in moderation.

MinnesotaNice Sun 13-Oct-13 15:39:43

I'm American and my DH and I have a glass of wine/beer with dinner at least once or twice a week. I don't think that drinking in moderation is seen as a terrible thing by most Americans (at least not by the ones I know).

NoComet Sun 13-Oct-13 15:41:17

Same as you here drinks with meals two or three times a week. Depends what we are eating.

Occasional very small glasses of whiskey or slow gin on cold weekends (DMILs, 'sin')

DD1 has joined in occasionally since she was 13, DS2(12) doesn't and I don't think will for a while because she only likes sweet drinks.

Conversely DD1 says she was the only one in her PHSE class who had never seen a member of her family drunk.

Actually I've never seen DH drunk either and he hasn't seen me properly pissed since my graduation ball well over 20 years ago.

NoComet Sun 13-Oct-13 15:41:42

Sloe gin

mrsjay Sun 13-Oct-13 15:43:49

you get brittish people who are horrified atd rinking in front of children they go all pearly clutchy and talk about if a child is ill and needs to be rushed to hospital who will drive blah blah, OP you dont sound like you are on the road to being alkies enjoy your wine I have always drunk with children around <shrug> my dd is an adult and didnt go wild with alcohol when she was younger

ErinExquisite001 Sun 13-Oct-13 15:45:38

I see absolutely no problem with having a large glass of wine with a big meal once a week in front of your children.
IMO you are actually showing them how to sensibly and moderately consume alcohol as an adult.
Don't let others unwanted opinions make you doubt your perfectly reasonable behaviours around your own children.

lainiekazan Sun 13-Oct-13 15:47:10

We were in the US a few years ago and stopped off at Target for a few supplies (dh's beer!).

Ds was helping to put the stuff on the conveyor belt when the cashier suddenly shrieked, "The minor touched the alcohol!!" and called her supervisor. We were standing there a bit stunned and rather sheepish that we had been branded unfit parents!

I worked in US for some years and frankly third are God-fearing milk-drinkers, third are health freaks and only drink low-sodium mineral water, and other third are alcoholics. (Raving mad generalisation!!)

IHaveA Sun 13-Oct-13 15:50:35

Umm, I lived in the US for a number of years with my DH and kids. I didn't find their attitudes to drinking any different than in the UK apart from teen binge drinking is more 'open' and 'acceptable' in the UK and we found the Americans much more likely to drink and drive.

It's a big place and I expect it depends where you live. We were in California and I can't think of anyone who would not have drunk in front of their kids.

We got in the habit of asking who was the designated driver when our guests arrived at our home as we had had a number of guest argue about who was driving at the END of the evening when they were already pissed. confused

pointyfangs Sun 13-Oct-13 15:52:22

Drinking sensibly in front of your children = OK
Getting drunk in front of your children and then minimising how bad that is = not OK.

I do think there is a real problem in the way it is socially acceptable to be drunk in public in the UK, and that is what I do not want my children to learn from us.

claraschu Sun 13-Oct-13 15:53:17

I am American, and have never seen any evidence of weird attitudes towards alcohol among my friends. The people I know seem fairly similar in their drinking habits to people over here (just the small sample of people I know, not statistically significant obviously).

PaperSeagull Sun 13-Oct-13 15:56:24

I'm American. I have never even thought twice about children seeing adults drinking alcohol. A glass of wine with dinner? Completely normal.

MinnesotaNice Sun 13-Oct-13 15:57:33

Honestly in the US, there really is a huge divergence in peoples' reaction to alcohol.

For example, when we go to an event with my DH's family I usually bring my own since I know that there most likely won't be any alcoholic drinks offered or available.

My family on the other hand is completely blitzed at any opportunity. In fact, at the last funeral I attended, after the service there was an open bar at the restaurant and we finished the night at a casino.

Weeantwee Sun 13-Oct-13 15:58:21

We don't have any children yet and are not big drinkers. We have bottles of gin and malt whisky in the house but probably have just one or two drinks a month.

I was 5 when I realised my dad had a problem with alcohol. I'm 27 now and incredibly wary of anyone who is drunk. I don't think having a glass of wine with a meal in front of children is an issue though. Sounds very civilised.

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 13-Oct-13 15:59:13

Yanbu. Sitting around all day swilling beer/vodka/wine/floor cleaner til you passed out would not be good.

However a glass of wine with Sunday dinner is nothing to even consider. Kids shouldn't see parents plastered. France/Germany/Italy, lots of countries have their family meals with a glass of wine. It's nothing to be ashamed of and shows normal, moderate responsible alcohol consumption.

My parents used to have a glass of wine with Sunday dinner.

Or have the occasional lager and lime of an evening after dinner. I never thought anything of it.

DioneTheDiabolist Sun 13-Oct-13 16:03:33

My DS and I have attended weddings and been on holiday with other family members. I enjoy the opportunity that these occasions give to model "sensible" drinking. I want to show him that one drink is enough and it's not about getting drunk.

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