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To be amazed that it's legal for children to drink at home from 5 years old

(46 Posts)
Janefromdowntheroad Wed 01-Jun-16 15:16:16

It seems like one of those bizarre laws that should've been changed years ago.

Given there's no limit on how much alcohol they can have at home you could conceivably give your DC as much alcohol as you like at 5 as long as they are at home. I can't think of one other thing that you could let your 5 year old kid do at home which has an 18 legal age limit.

AIBU to think this law should be changed?

Pinkheart5915 Wed 01-Jun-16 15:17:48

Does it need changing? Surely there is no responsible parent that would give a 5 year old alcohol confused

starry0ne Wed 01-Jun-16 15:19:20

Of course you can't give them unlimited alcohol.

My DS is 9 and doesn't drink at home however when I was young we used to have snowballs at Christmas. The odd glass of wine at special meals.

You don't need a law for common sense in parenting.

SuffolkNWhat Wed 01-Jun-16 15:21:02

It's to cover certain medicines which contain alcohol.

StillStayingClassySanDiego Wed 01-Jun-16 15:21:08

What right minded adult would give alcohol to a young child anyway?

acasualobserver Wed 01-Jun-16 15:21:43

My two (9 & 11) love a pint and whisky chaser. Can't see the harm myself. I should add that I always make sure they do their homework first!

Nanunanu Wed 01-Jun-16 15:24:32

I might. We'll not alcohol as such but an extremely diluted shandy or spritzer on Christmas day.

Or mouth wash

I would not be getting them drunk, but I would share with them.

Or a sip of my beer

Its how I was brought up and how I intend to bring up my children. It might not be at 5 but it might be at 7.
I've drunk 25 units in total in past 2 years spread over the two years. It is unlikely to be a big issue

If you changed the law what would be your cut off? 18 at home as well as in pubs. Or 16 like it is in restaurants with food? Or would it be 12? What is your cut off?

squoosh Wed 01-Jun-16 15:25:33

Mine is preparing himself a gin and dubonnet right about now.

WeirdAndPissedOff Wed 01-Jun-16 15:26:49

While there's no law regarding maximum amounts, after a certain point child safety/parental neglect etc laws would apply.
I can't see any reason a 5/6 etc year old should be allowed any alcohol, but lots of slightly older children may have a small mild alcoholic drink at Christmas.

HoneyDragon Wed 01-Jun-16 15:26:55

If you gave you child excess alcohol you would be prosecuted for child abuse.

A police officer or social worker wouldn't go "whoops no, that's totally legal as you were". We do have child protection laws and child welfare.

sirfredfredgeorge Wed 01-Jun-16 15:27:27

What do you mean, you can't think of others, just about all the others where an age is specified, it doesn't apply outside of the public sphere.

Driving - 17 with provisional licence - at home any age you want.
Cinema - 18 with appropriate stuff - at home any age you want.
Gambling - 18 in a betting shop - at home any age you want.
Smoking - 18 to buy - at home any age you want.

Generally the state doesn't get involved with the private lives of people with restrictive laws, actual abuse of the above is covered by more general laws. Specific laws are generally not helpful.

LurkingHusband Wed 01-Jun-16 15:27:44

YA totally NBU.

we don't have nearly enough laws which give the state an excuse to stick their noses into every aspect of our lives.

(I may not be entirely sincere there ...)

EveryoneElsie Wed 01-Jun-16 15:27:51

YABU. If you let your 5 year old get drunk then I'm pretty sure SS would get involved.
But they dont need to prosecute anyone for using meds or food flavourings that contain alcohol.
We had drink available, usually watered down wine, or shandy, and usually with a meal , party or barbeque. If you think that made us bad parents that your opinion.
What we did do was explain how getting drunk actually works - that by the time you are on your 3rd drink the first is just kicking in, so its very easy to drink more than you intended to.

HoneyDragon Wed 01-Jun-16 15:27:56

Not to mention trifle or Xmas cake/pudding.

DerelictMyBalls Wed 01-Jun-16 15:28:17

I was given a glass of sherry before bed most nights, to 'help me sleep', from a very young age. My parents even put sherry in my bottle as a baby. And when my dad was passed out drunk, DBro and I used to sneak around and finish his half-drunk cans of Special Brew and get shit-faced..

Guess who ended up with a drink problem? Been clean and sober for almost 5 years now though! grin

Onlyicanclean10 Wed 01-Jun-16 15:28:23

See by 5 they won't get the cafe culture we all need in Britain. I started mine at 2..

maggiethemagpie Wed 01-Jun-16 15:32:54

Ha, I remember going to a jewish nursery at the age of two and all the children being given a thimbleful of red wine along with a chunk of bread on a Friday.. can't imagine that ever happening now!

LikeDylanInTheMovies Wed 01-Jun-16 15:35:13

And how would these change in the law be policed? Cops kicking down the door to check your 15 year old isn't having a can of Bass shandy?

Janefromdowntheroad Wed 01-Jun-16 15:37:40

Ah see I do let the children have a drink. My six year old mixes a mean gin and tonic. They have watered down wine with a Sunday roast and at Christmas.

But just 'it's legal to drink at home from 5' seems pretty ambiguous!

corythatwas Wed 01-Jun-16 15:46:06

If you give your 5 yo unlimited amounts of alcohol of course you will be prosecuted in exactly the same way as if you risked their life or wellbeing in any other way. What this legislation does is ensure that nobody can be done for letting their 13yo attend Holy Communion or their 8yo have a taste of the Christmas pudding. Or, as somebody upthread says, medication containing alcohol.

I did not let my primary school children, preteens or young teenagers drink, but of course they had tasted alcohol: in trifle, in Christmas pudding (and brandy butter), in boeuf bourgignon, in beef stew. Tiny, tiny amounts, which could not do them any conceivable harm, but which would suddenly be illegal if your legislation came into force.

akkakk Wed 01-Jun-16 15:47:14

But just 'it's legal to drink at home from 5' seems pretty ambiguous!


why 5 but not 4?
surely if 4 / 11 months / 20 days they should be allowed!


corythatwas Wed 01-Jun-16 15:48:30

Not ambiguous, makes it clear that in this particular area, as in most others, parents are responsible for their children's welfare (and will be prosecuted under normal laws if failing to ensure it). How would you word a law that covered grandma's trifle and the medicine prescribed by your GP, but presumably not your watered down wine?

littlemonkey5 Wed 01-Jun-16 15:50:45

It isn't the alcohol that is the worry, it's the parents.

My uncle snuck a bottle of champagne under his coat into the hospital when I was born. I got a tiny finger drop. I had a glass of wine with a formal meal at home. I am not an alcoholic, I have been drunk about 3 times in my entire life and that was after I was 18. Actually in the last 10 years I've had about 3 glasses of wine.......

My Gran used to give my Dad cider at Christmas when he was young. Kept telling Dad off for being 'silly'. Years later, he told his Mum that they spent most of their Christmas' pissed - she thought it was apple juice lolololol....bless her star My Dad was teetotal other than the occasional formal dinner drink.

It's like all things that are 'bad' for us, in small amounts, not really a problem (little chocolate is good, lots can cause obesity for example)....... It's how you are taught to view things rather than the thing itself.......

x2boys Wed 01-Jun-16 15:58:17

Ds is nine and i dont think he has ever tasted alcohol he makes his first communion in a couple of weeks though so will have a bit of the communion wine my dad got drunk at seven his parents owned a pub and he went round finishing the empties it washia first communion day to and my grandmother had to walk him around to sober him up 🍹🍸🍺cheers.

BertieBotts Wed 01-Jun-16 16:33:00

It's not really legal to drink at home. As others have said, if you got your children drunk or used alcohol to make them sleep or something it would be considered abusive or at the least neglectful.

It's just to give a little bit of leeway really - I hadn't thought about foods and medicines containing alcohol but that aspect makes sense. I would have thought it's more about letting parents make their own choices about when their DC should first be introduced to little tastes of alcohol. Five is a good lower age I think - it excludes very small children but if the age was 12 or something then it might be seen as a bit of an occasion by some families "Ooh X is old enough to have her first drink!" which wouldn't really be helpful. Whereas I doubt anybody is thinking that way about a five year old.

Weirdly maggie DS came home from Kindergarten last year saying they'd been to Mass and tasted wine! We are in Germany though and they are more relaxed about alcohol here. I'm also not sure it was really wine, it might have been grape juice.

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