Giving children wine(47 Posts)
Have name changed for this. Am a longstanding poster, and I need some advice because I'm not sure if I'm massively overreacting, or what to do.
My Mum is almost certainly a high function alcoholic. I don't think she would describe herself in that way, or recognise that she has a problem. She drinks, on average, two or three large rum and cokes following by 1/2-1 bottle of wine a day. She does not hide this, or her excessive cigarette consumption - in fact, she almost goads comment, and is always trying to get others to participate.
My sister is also a big drinker/ smoker/ weed smoker. They enable one another/ egg each other on. They are very close. No-one would ever dare stand up to my mum. My sister had PND, and was very vulnerable, and may not be making great decisions. There are other examples of this.
I also have very different values/approach from them both in most aspects of my life (parenting/work/relationships/politics/interests etc etc).
My sister has four kids. The youngest is nearly four. My mum, and my sister, give her youngest wine. Gulps of wine. If she falls over, or is sad, or just because. It's hard to say how much, but at a family wedding on Saturday, I'd say I saw four or five gulps. They are together a lot, and I suppose I have no reason to think it doesn't happen often (ie - weekly+). I've seen it happen often.
When doing this, my mum will get eye contact if 'spotted' and say "it's fine, he likes it" and "trust me, it's good for him" etc.
So. I'm horrified. My attempts to gently discuss it with my sister and her husband have fallen on deaf ears. I have been absolutely clear that if she gave any of my children alcohol, I would simply stop contact - because it would be about power and challenging me and my approach, as well as being wrong.
On the other hand, it is arguably none of my business. So - AIBU to think it's wrong, and if not, what the hell do I do?
Really happy to be told to wind me neck in and leave it alone if others think it's not a problem.
I'm sorry, in my attempt to conceal identifying genders, I've used two for the child in question. Her. She is a she.
I would report them to social services and the police. That is disgusting and incredibly harmful. A four year olds body is simply not equipped to process alcohol. The poor kid is being set up for a lifetime of liver disease, and an alcohol addiction before they're at secondary school.
Overreacting? You are very much underreacting, in my opinion.
You are right to be horrified. Not sure what the right thing is to do
I thought you were going to say some wine with a meal. What they are doing isnt ok and they need a wake up call.
Good luck OP.
Wine to a 4 yr old? WTAF? Why would any parent
If your sister is a drinker, weed smoker etc she probably doesn't see it's not the best parenting.
I'm sure some won't agree with me but IMO it is a problem if she is giving the child any wine but absolutely a problem if she's doing it regularly.
www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/alcohol-and-the-law/the-law-on-alcohol-and-under-18s/ Asides from anything else you've written its ILLEGAL to give an under 5 year old alcohol.
I'm shocked at this too. I thought your post was going to be about letting young children have a sip of wine when they ask what it is in order to prove to them that they won't like it! But if they are having gulps of the stuff then they are starting to get a taste for it. I just don't get why anyone would do this.
No-one would ever dare stand up to my mum.
Or what would happen?
Why would anybody give a little 4 yr old wine? I can't get my head around it.
Thing is if your sister sees alcohol & weed smoking as normal she probably doesn't see anything wrong in it
If it's happening as a regular thing then I feel it needs to be reported, you've tried talking to your sister and she doesn't understand it's not acceptable so what else can you do?
I thought you were going to say watered down wine at a meal time for a 14 year old or something.
But this scenario is worrying. I'd be approaching schools or even social services for this one. That's horrific behaviour, wine isn't a weak drink at about 12%!! Hardly a bloody shandy!
Ok. Glad I'm not going crazy. So - what do I do/ who do I tell?
I don't think that it's bad for children from 9ish to have a sip of wine with Sunday dinner on special occasions - so in that regard I'm at the extreme end of recklessness on this issue.
This is wrong. They are comforting a 4 year old with wine when she complains or hurts herself, wtf ?!? If you care for this child you need to make this your business. This is really maladaptive behaviour which is being normalised to you niece. I think you need to speak to social services, this is a car crash in the making.
I know its wrong but I was allowed to drink what I wanted at that age. I grew up in a pub and my dad was a heavy drinker. I was also given alcohol as medicine, whisky for a cold or port and brandy for a stomach upset. The result is I am tee total. Other than a sip of wine for a toast I haven't drunk alcohol since I was about six.
If it were me I'd go to SS and break contact. Sorry, but they are on a very bad road.
I feel sorry for you op being put in this situation. I witnessed things like this from family members when I was much younger and in my teens, even then i knew it was wrong.
I'm not sure what answer is but if it's illegal and verging on dangerous for the child I think you might want to report it does sound very wrong and like you are worried.
I think it's very, very bad for the development of the brain. I think you're going to have to report it to someone. Is the child at school, could you talk to them about it? could you do it anonymously - health visitor as well as SS?
From what you say there's not much chance they'll change their minds but is it worth trying to find some research / experiences on the effects of alcohol on children?
Not only the damage of what the child is consuming now, but the habit of 'insert chemical' whenever something's a bit wrong could also be very damaging. even if the 'chemical' is a food, it's a really bad habit, but alcohol!
i hope you can help protect these dc.
I believe you should make a report to social services.
It will be an incredibly difficult thing to do - but with your sister and mother's substance abuse and history... well, what you see and what they tell you happens may only be half the story.
If possible try and get video evidence to back up your claim, perhaps at a family get-together when this happens or try and record one of them admitting to doing it with your phone. You should act to protect the children. Doing so doesn't necessarily mean they'll be taken away.
Hmm Im wondering if you tell the school actually....? They have safeguarding policies and presumably see the child an awful lot. Apart from holidays, but would know the family and hopefully any additional situations.
I dont know if its wise or not. Hopefully someone else does but thats the first thought I had.
this is really horrific. Massive massive issues - very damaging for those young children.
Sorry, I don;t know what you do but I couldn't not do anything in your position. I think I would have to report to SS.
Sorry you are in this horribly position OP
Agree you should report but no idea who to or the impact of that report. It would be hard to prove wouldn't it?
I'm sorry but I would definitely report to social services. No matter how hard that might be, it's in the children's best interest.
Although I could also be a bit of a hypocrite as as a baby my dd had brandy rubbed on her gums by grandparents when i forgot the teething gel. (Only happened twice)
I know it is going to be hard, but please, please phone social services. Alcohol of any amount is very damaging for a child of that age. You wouldn't forgive yourself if that child grew up to have alcohol-related medical issues later in life.
Very wrong indeed.
They are teaching the child to reach for alcohol as a coping mechanism every time they're upset. This is hard behviour to reverse over time.
Take it from someone who knows. My mum reached for the bottle in times of stress and to alleviate physical pain. I do this too as it is the behaviour I learned from a very young age. I don't think I could ever change this now.
Not sure what I'd do in your position, OP. At the very least you need to be vocal about how wrong it is whenever you see it happening and they might start to listen. You need to stand up to your mother, whatever your age.
Best wishes in trying to address this x
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.