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AIBU to think 16 is too young to drink?

(80 Posts)
CHJR Sun 25-Sep-16 11:44:02

Needless to say we are talking about my PFB (there are 2 younger). He has never really had more than a taste of alcohol before to my knowledge, but last night when we were all at a family party he had at least three glasses of wine. He was with schoolmates, one of whom had one small glass and the other of whom didn't touch anything. As background, where I come from it would certainly not be legal for a 16-year-old to drink, even in family. And perhaps more important, my husband is an alcoholic, and descended from a long line of alcoholics. High-functioning, in his case, as in holds down a good job, but drunk every night within an hour of getting home from work, at least three bottles a night every single night. (Don't go on about LTB. I have considered it in past, but he is not violent or difficult on it, and otherwise great.)

So, what if anything should I advise my 16-year-old? Am I being too anxious with my PFB?

Dozer Sun 25-Sep-16 11:47:24

You're still with an alcoholic?! That's a bad plan for a start.

Have you spoken honestly with your Dc about their father's alcohol problems, and the possible implications for their use of alcohol?

16 is a normal age to experiment with booze.

Dozer Sun 25-Sep-16 11:47:52

If you're really anxious about your PfB the best thing to do would be to LTB.

HighwayDragon1 Sun 25-Sep-16 11:50:36

What do you expect when he sees his df get pissed every night? Monkey see, monkey do.

CHJR Sun 25-Sep-16 12:02:15

All right, all right, I know. I've been foreseeing for this problem for years. But you're not answering the question: is this normal at 16, or the start of a problem?

FWIW, I believe that seeing his father like this has put him off if anything; but alcoholism is also unquestionably hereditary.

Mari50 Sun 25-Sep-16 12:04:14

Everyone in my peer group started drinking alcohol at 16- not sure if it's 'normal' but it's definitely common.

Cakedoesntjudge Sun 25-Sep-16 12:04:58

I was at a pretty sensible school where no one really did drugs or fight - it was all very respectable and 16 was still the age that everyone started drinking. So ignoring the DH situation I wouldn't say it's abnormal no.

HighwayDragon1 Sun 25-Sep-16 12:07:31

From experience yes, 16 is normal to start experimenting with alcohol etc. In itself not a concern, but with the wider family picture needs a very close eye kept on it.

ChaosTrulyReigns Sun 25-Sep-16 12:08:36

I wouldn't say drinking at that age is abnormal in a party situation, but going from a taste to 3 glasses of wine drank during one evening would concern me. As would your partners consumption, sorry.

DownWithThisSortaThing Sun 25-Sep-16 12:08:57

16 is normal IME - I would often have a glass of wine with my dad at the weekend etc

But your DS dads drinking is the issue. It needs addressing
It's clearly not put your DS off at all if he had 3 glasses of wine

FlyingElbows Sun 25-Sep-16 12:11:12

It is not abnormal. My mother was a high functioning alcoholic, you're wrong if you think it doesn't affect you and your children. If your son is anything like me he'll go through the normal drinking of teens and early twenties then go t total because he'd rather die than inflict any sort of alcoholic on his own family.

CHJR Sun 25-Sep-16 12:11:23

Yes, I think it needs addressing. DS should be allowed to have a normal childhood, but he should also be alert to the potential risks. Any good suggestions about what to say to DS? And to DH about this?

FATEdestiny Sun 25-Sep-16 12:18:54

My brother is an alcoholic. Not a functioning one, a 30 units a day of cheap vodka hidden in brown paper type of alcoholic.

I very rarely drink alcohol now, as a direct result of watching DBs demise over the last 10 years. Same with DH, so alcohol doesn't have any role in our children's home life's at all.

I will never, ever encourage my children to drink alcohol. I will actively discourage alcohol until 18 and would never give my permission for underage drinking, even a taste.

I undrstand that drinking in the 16-18 age bracket is fairly normal. Many families allow it and others turn a blind eye. We are different though because we have direct experience and can learn lessons about the dangers of alcohol. I have no problem being "that mum" on this issue.

BarbaraofSeville Sun 25-Sep-16 12:24:44

Maybe, maybe not. Depends on the size of the 3 glasses - small ones over an evening with a meal, not so bad, 3 large ones totalling a bottle or more just to drink, too much.

It's probably normal in France and it is legal to drink beer or wine but not spirits at 16 in Gibraltar at 16 and both countries have a healthier attitude to alcohol than Britain on average (norm is light to moderate drinking with meals, going out to get drunk is less common and frowned upon).

Mummydummy Sun 25-Sep-16 12:25:18

Perfectly normal for your 16 yr old.

I'm surprised you have no problem with DH - he cant be contributing much to family life and is currently running towards an early grave and probably a period of serious illness before it. Sorry to say that.

RandyMagnum Sun 25-Sep-16 12:25:24

I will actively discourage alcohol until 18 and would never give my permission for underage drinking, even a taste.

The people who I encountered that had an upbringing like that, were the ones myself and my mates were scooping out of the gutter on some of their first nights out because they weren't educated or trusted on how to drink because it was such a tabboo subject with their parents.

FATEdestiny Sun 25-Sep-16 12:27:11

Any good suggestions about what to say to DS?

What is difficult in your house is that you are permissive of DHs drinking.

It would be hypocritical and unworkable to advise DS away from drinking while it is so heavily part of family life at home.

And to DH about this?

Ask him to not drink for one month. See if he can or does.

Assuming he cant do it, use this as a start point for making him accept he is an alcoholic and that drink is in control of him, not the other way around.

FATEdestiny Sun 25-Sep-16 12:35:18

they weren't educated or trusted on how to drink because it was such a tabboo subject with their parents

Yeah. Love to live in the world where alcohol could be a taboo subject

Alcohol and it's effects have been talked about (and sometimes winessed) from an age where they wrre too young to have needed to know. Sadly. Very sadly.

While your post may be true if the teenager's in your world of no alcoholics RandyMagnum, it us a world apart from mine. You have got no clue. No idea at all. With all the respect.

And for what it's worth, my brother and I were raised in that middle class family where we were given wine at the dinner table and our parents "we're cool" with allowing the children to try alcohol, so that we were not "the ones scooped out of the gutter on some of their first nights"

It worked we weren't that sort of drinkers.

Just ones who never realised the real dangers of alcohol because it was so normal. No different to pop


SaucyJack Sun 25-Sep-16 12:38:17

Is he year 11 or 12? Going by my own experiences of 6th form, 3 glasses at a family party would have been an exceedingly mild Saturday night. I'd not like it if he was still at "school" school tho.

TBH..... I agree with others tho. I really really REALLY don't think your son's drinking habits are what you should be worrying about right now. 3 bottles of wine a night- every night- is a staggering amount to drink. That's over 200 units a week. That's a serious problem.

Thefitfatty Sun 25-Sep-16 12:41:33

I was drinking at 16. So was everyone else I knew. Some became alcoholics, some would be considered problem drinkers, some don't drink much, some don't drink at all.

I would sit and talk with him about the dangers of alcohol and about drinking responsibly. Make it clear that alcoholism runs in the family.

titchy Sun 25-Sep-16 12:42:01

I believe that seeing his father like this has put him off if anything;

Well clearly it hasn't had it?

16 is a very normal age to try alcohol, so in the context of an otherwise healthyish relationship with alcohol being modelled by a family I wouldn't worry.

However he does not live in that context, and I'm afraid you too are modelling that alcoholism is ok. You are enabling your dh, and your children will see that alcoholism is normal - they can in fact get hammered every night and still have a career, home, spouse, family so being an alcoholic is ok.

NerrSnerr Sun 25-Sep-16 12:45:14

It's your husband's drinking I would be worrying about. Are you honestly saying he is able to positively contribute to family life if he's drunk within an hour of getting home every night? I would say 3 glasses of wine was normal for a 16 year old but I would worry his idea of normal might be messed up if his dad is getting wasted 7 days a week.

LetsJunglyJumpToIt Sun 25-Sep-16 12:46:14

16 is a normal age to be interested in alcohol, I know I was. But he hardly has a healthy role model to go by has he? How will you feel if or when your son becomes an alcoholic too? After all, it's his normal.

StealthPolarBear Sun 25-Sep-16 12:48:39

Well done fate. I have younger children and suspect we'll not be as strict as you but we'll definitely be on the strict side. There is no evidence that drinking at a younger age with parents (even a naice glass of wine with Sunday dinner) helps create a sensible relationship with alcohol.

Sprink Sun 25-Sep-16 12:55:32

The "three bottles a night"--is that wine?

I don't think you're being too PFB. It is absolutely normal to experiment with alcohol at this age, but if your son is seeing three bottles per night consumed by one individual, he has a skewed idea of what constitutes a safe amount for consumption.

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