To think my MIL is a drama queen?(285 Posts)
In laws came round last night for Sunday dinner.
Made G+Ts when they got here, and DD1 (14) asked if she could have one. We said yes. Then DD2 (12) asked- me and DP looked at each other and thought about it for a moment and he agreed.
The drink we made her was literally a splash of gin in a large wine glass topped up with tonic water filled with ice and lemon. I would say it was approx 10% gin and the rest tonic water/ice/lemon. She didn’t act any differently after drinking 60-70% of it. We made the same for DD1 who has had it a few times when we have had friends over etc- id say 3/4 times in the past year or so.
MIL went on a rant about it and we ended up asking her to leave because she was turning it into a full blown argument.
Love - but that's anecdotal. I had drinks from 12 and have never had any issues with alcohol, I often go 12 months without a drink
I could have never touched alcohol until I was 18 and ended up alcohol dependent
It depends on personalities/individuals as well
My siblings and I were given alcohol from the age of 12 (my DM was an alcoholic so it was easy to get hold of). There are four of us, three of us have no issues with alcohol, two of us don't drink at all. The other one does have an issue.
I don't know if drinking younger is linked with problems with alcohol or not however I definitely wouldn't be giving a 12 or 14 year old alcohol, no matter how little it is.
Ok in my book as it seems it was unlikely to be a unit of gin which was well diluted with tonic.
My dc wouldn't touch a g&t, and to be fair I didn't drink g&ts until I was well passed legal drinking age as I thought they were rank. Tbf I'm surprised they'd drink even straight tonic water at that age.
However as a parent it's your choice which is relevant not a PIL.
Are you trying to be a cool parent? Just because she asked, you could have said no. Did she have just a wee, tiny puff on a fag with her G&T?
YANBU to give incredibly diluted alcoholic drinks to your 12yo & 14yo children. You know them best.
Your MIL is entitled to her opinion (as are we all). It's how she expresses that opinion that turns it into an argument.
I am all for letting adults decide when to introduce alcohol to their children, but that is more wine than hard spirits. Tbh i don't think it is appropriate to give a 12 or 14 year old spirits.
I can't think of any reason at all that 12 and 14 year olds should be provided with gin and tonic.
Personally would have said no myself but I don't judge you and I don't think it's that big of a deal
In your picture it's fuck all, I think you miscalculated and said 10% and that's made it sound worse to people maybe?
Some people are just much more uptight about these things than others.
Calling you a shit mum is completely ott.
In fact, I may have said yes myself to that amount if my 13yo dd had asked 🤷♀️
I'd be very surprised if a 12-14 yo would finish a drink like that.
I'm surprised that a child would drink gin and tonic tbh, I think it's got quite a strong flavour. I know when I was 17/18/19 me and my friends would drink fruit flavoured alcohol drinks like alcopops and lambrini. My 12 year old hasn't asked to taste an alcoholic drink yet but I wouldn't be giving him gin at his age.
Maybe just put in the tonic and lemon! Minus the gin!
YANBU, I would have done the exact same OP.
My parents have always been very relaxed about alcohol encouraging us to have a bit from around high school age. It actually made me more responsible at around 16 when people were getting out of control drunk when their parents had gone on holiday and they'd never tried alcohol before.
I don't see a problem so long as you made it a weak one. If you were doing shots with her now I'd say different but having a weak drink with family, I don't see the issue. Your mil needs to but out, it's not up to her, you're the parents.
A taste of very diluted gin and tonic is one thing but, despite your drip feed, it sounds like you gave her a lot and an evening before she goes to school.
If I had been given gin and tonic at the age of 12, it probably would have put me off alcohol altogether. Tonic tastes awful and I don’t think it is a young teenage taste - isn’t that why alcopops are/were so popular?
That's why I say my dd wouldn't have drunk a g&t at that age as the tonic is so vile.
Surely the livers of children won’t feel well with alcohol?
Your MIL is absolutely right. No need to teach a 12 yo that alcohol is exciting. It wasn’t even wine with a meal, which would be bad enough as much research shows the earlier you drink, the more likely you are to be addicted.
Does anyone know if this would be considered a safeguarding issue if your DD mentioned it at school?
I agree with your MIL, completely inappropriate. The drinking at an early age thing seems to work in European countries because of their other traditions surrounding alcohol eg only drinking with food and limiting the amount they have.
I would definitely be required to pass the information on if I knew that a child of that age had been given a full gin and tonic to drink by a parent. Whether ss would think it warranted more than a phonecall I've no idea.
In answer to the question above.... I am a teacher. If a 12 year old said this, I think I’d probably refer it. That doesn’t mean SS would come swooping down on you, but the head of year or deputy head would certainly want a chat, and would tell you exactly what you’ve been told by most people. They would also make a record of it. The 14 year old I wouldn’t refer, even though I may privately disapprove, as sadly it’s quite common for even young ish teenagers to be allowed to drink alcohol.
The reason I say I would probably rather than definitely refer it is because it depends on how the child phrased it. If they said they’d had a few sips, maybe not... but if they said exactly what you’ve said in the OP yes I would refer this.
Ollivander, yes, it's anecdotal, but certain things increase likelihood of developing problems with alcohol. Early exposure is one of them.
I allowed my dc's to drink at home. They are now adults and still are responsible when it comes to drinking because they were taught about responsible drinking. When their mates were passing out/vomiting when away from parents and having that freedom, mine never did that.
And if school/SS became involved they would have been referred back to government legislation with regards to drinking. From 5 at home, and from 16 in a pub/restaurant with a meal.
Would mine have drunk spirits at that age? No, because they didn't like spirits. I would rather them have their own very diluted drink than having a sip of mine that wasn't diluted.
Allowing small amounts of alcohol, supervised amd moderated, takes away the mystery of alcohol and encourages young people to drink responsibly
How about not drinking at all.
Not sure why people are saying wine is better than gin, in a standard pub measure there is one unit in a G&T , at least two in a small glass of wine 125-150ml which is much smaller than even most small home glasses. I would've said yes to the 14 YO made it weak and one only, the 12 year old would've been a no from me
My parents were spectacularly unfussed about allowing me diluted drinks and wine as a teenager, particularly as we were in a society where children joined adult social circles as teenagers and so I was going to drinks parties with them and learning how to behave socially. I can easily take it or leave it and really don't get the binge drinking so prevalent.
I think 12 is too young but 14 is OK, as its about not making it a forbidden & therefore more appealing 'taboo' & learning to drink responsibly. At 15 I was drinking a glass of wine or a G&T at weekends at home with a meal or out with friends in rural pubs. Very lax re age rules back then in village pubs & 15 was seen as OK by the majority of friend's parents .
Government regulations don't say let your 12 yr old have their own g&t! I suppose going by the same logic social services also wouldn't be interested in a 5 yr old drinking as much gin, vodka etc as a parent saw fit due to government regulations
I don't think the discussion about whether anyone else would do it is relevant.
If you, add the parent, decided to do it and they weren't being put in any danger, then after her first comment your MIL should have minded her own business.
This whole thread is giving me Reeves & Mortimer flashbacks.
I'm quite surprised at the strong reactions on this thread! My grandma used to let me have an archers and lemonade at that age, but perhaps that was a different era and things have moved on.
I don't think it's a problem but I can see I'm going against the grain!
Jeez when I was 12 we all thought we were cool with our J20
Why the hell would you give a g&t to your kids??!!! Parent!!!
I'm really surprised by all the replies on this thread. My parents were ridiculously strict growing up - certainly the strictest out of all of my friends and I've always been allowed a small 'drink' for as long as I can remember really. They had a similar idea that once I started going out drinking, I wouldn't see it as anything exciting or 'cool because my mum had been allowing it for years.
I think 12 is too young tbh.
BUT although I'm some years off yet I have 3 and 5 year old DDs and I do understand the frustration when the younger one wants everything the older one has. It's tough to say no to one and yes to the other.
Hi OP. I get what you were doing, demystifying the alcohol by allowing you DC weakened drink of what you all were having (and likely you've written wrong % of gin).
It’s usually watered (tonic) down wine or a shandy, not spirits, hence the responses you’re getting - and MIL reaction.
I’m originally from a culture very uptight about alcohol. Drinking age is 21. Of course kids try to get their hands on alcohol and binge quite a lot because it’s forbidden. I raised my DC in UK, they had spritzers, Buck’s Fizz etc during family gathering, toasts etc. Gin or other spirits were not big in our house while they were growing up so never offered. I do think if it were, I’d offer a very weak one. None (3 DC) have any issues with alcohol so I am a believer in the concept.
There’s also no alcoholism in our family history. I do believe there’s often family predisposition where there’s alcoholism (addiction). However, it didn’t stop them using my booze in later years for parties and watering down my gin or vodka instead of buying their own but that’s more selfishness than alcohol misuse related I suppose.
Yabu to give spirits to children. You know you are or you wouldnt be now changing the amount
Not sure why you posted seeing as you think you weren't unreasonable but 12 was a no no in the house. 14 we started the little amounts under our control.
Your MIL obviously had concerns and raised them!
I think you are fine in doing that. As long as its a tiny bit. Its important to teach kids responsible drinking. As in a social tipple rather than them suddenly going on the binge at 18. Its not the forbidden fruit by that ages then. Just explain then reason to MIL then ignore any further fuss. I hope she didnt make a scene in front of your kids
I really don’t think that that tiny thimbleful of gin watered down by a large glass of tonic as a one-of treat renders you a shit parent.
Perspective please people.
What I do see as shit are the oblivious parents of my dd’s 14 year old friends who are getting smashed with their mates on vodka while pretending to be at innocent sleepovers because their parents are too uptight to allow or discuss any form of alcohol at home.
"Demystifying" alcohol is given a huge standing ovation. Reminding underage kids that it's not something to work hard at growing to like / need should get a mention too.
I really don’t think that that tiny thimbleful of gin watered down by a large glass of tonic
People wear going by the amount originally given in the op, which was 10%. This was revised down a lot later in the thread.
It might usually be a bit of wine but I think ag&t makes a lot of sense. I had friends who went mental with gin or vodka at 18. It’s a good idea to head that off at the pass with demystifying spirits and giving an idea what a measure is.
For the record, I drink my G&T like this. A splash of gin, dash of lime cordial and filled up with tonic. That way I can have lots of them.
I don’t think MIL was a drama queen though, OP. It’s completely possible she was genuinely shocked and worried.
Your MIL definitely wasn't being a drama queen more like a concerned GP.
You really need to rethink doing this again. Spirits are just not right for children.
I can’t believe any young teen would enjoy drinking gin and tonic
All those normalising giving spirits to kids and it not having an effect later in life are missing the point that it can sometimes create a problem. A school friend of mine was given spirits as a child, it became the norm so she'd got used to it and started helping herself when her parents weren't there, it esculated and one social event she was so drunk on archers she had an epileptic fit and we had to call an ambulance. Very scary. She was ultimately okay but social workers got involved to monitor her. We were 13/14 at the time
I doubt it was as much as 10% if it was a splash. Tiny bit in a full glass of tonic.
I wouldn't worry about it. I think children who have it like that are less likely to fall on alcohol when old enough.
I and my siblings grew up having a small amount with Sunday dinner and now none of us hardly drink.
It's not the quantity of alcohol which was probably tiny, it's the idea of handing a gin and tonic to a 12 year old as if that's something they should be drinking! If I open a bottle of wine I don't offer my 12 year old a glass, it's for adults. It's just weird, unnecessary and inappropriate.
Personally I think that's too young for spirts. I totally agree that introducing kids to alcohol in a controlled and supervised environment will demystify it and means they are less likely to be drinking on street corners with their mates.
We let our children drink Buck's Fizz on special occasions (Christmas and adults birthdays) and they have had sips of lager and prosecco to taste but I wouldn't be happy giving their own drinks for a while.
Yabu.Anyone should expect a responsible relative to give them a bollocking in response to giving a 12 yr old spirits, even if diluted.
I would have refused the 12 year old. Can't say I'm bothered about the 14 year old though. I was given whisky at that age and I'm teetotal now.
I agree with your MIL completely. Poor parenting on your part. Why on earth would a 12yo child need a drink like that? Seems like you both want to be the cool parents rather than responsible ones.
You have issues with alcohol if you think that G&Ts for 12 & 14 year olds are any part of a Sunday dinner.
Your MIL was right and I suspect the reason you asked her to leave was that she brought up YOUR/DH’s drinking.
I’m quite laid back but I wouldn’t have given mine gin. Sorry. If they wanted to be like the adults I’d have given them a bit glass of tonic with ice and lemon/lime slices in. No need for gin at 12 and 14.
12 year old would be too young for me and I would have been judgy.
On one hand I don't agree with giving either of your children the gin. It's just too young, IMO.
However, they are not my children. And nor are they your MILs. It depends on whether you subscribe to the point that it is none of her business. I do.
But again, if you do controversial things then you will get diverse reactions, and you have to manage that.
It's your DHs problem, tbh. Let him deal with his mother.
10% 5% ..It's irrelevant, you don't give a 12 year old gin and tonic.
Your MIL was not being a "drama queen". She was being a concerned grandparent. She may have BU for interfering, but you're being absolutely ridiculous handing a 12 year old her own glass of gin. Wouldn't be too happy about the 14 year old either.
If it was a 350ml drink, with 10% gin would be 35ml of gin! That is more than a single measure in a pub! I love gin but it shouldn't be given to a 14 year old let alone a friggin 12 year old! I can't believe the 12 year old even asked for one!Irresponsible.
The advice is a taste of alcohol is OK from about 15 when their livers etc. are getting to adult levels.
Not 12. YADBVVVVVVVU.
And yes, as PP have said, a big glass of tonic with lemon and ice is perfect for a preteen and a young teen.
I wouldn't worry about it. I think children who have it like that are less likely to fall on alcohol when old enough
Actually found the opposite to be true.
Dd has several friends who’s parents berated me when I said that I wasn’t going to teach my child to drink alcohol.
I don’t drink so wasn’t going to go out and buy alcohol just so dd could drink.
It is their dc who have ended up in hospital with alcohol poisoning.
Dd has seen the results of what drinking has done to them in a more physical sense.
In the last year-18 months the amount of weight these girls have put on and the state of their skin has put dd off from drinking for life.
Ds I don’t think will drink because
A. He isn’t interested
B. He is going to be doing a job where the most money is on weekend nights where everyone else wants to have a drink because it is the weekend and he will be sober.
I don’t want my kids to go on drugs binges when they’re older - when’s the best time to demystify cocaine and marijuana to show them how to take drugs responsibly? 15? Or maybe 12?
My parents used to allow us a small glass of sparking wine or similar for Christmas dinner from a young age, but that was it. I don't think it has had any impact on sensible attitude to alcohol. In fact, I drink too much (although I didn't as a teen, middle age did that to me).
I think giving a 12 and 14 year old a G&T on a random night in November and when friends visit, is not wise.
I can understand your MIL concern, however, recognising that it is not illegal, I think as concerned grandparent, she could have maybe brought it up with you both another time in a calm manner rather than cause a big scene in your house there and then.
I think a lot of people on here have absolutely no sense of perspective - a splash of gin in a glass full of tonic is not an issue for social services. You might not agree with her decision but it is her decision to make, not mils. OP did not do anything illegal, which I think that some if you could do with remembering.
I don’t think young people go out to binge drink alcohol because it is cool I think they binge drink alcohol because they like it and like how it makes them feel and it gives them confidence.
Teaching your dc to drink alcohol sensibly is fine as long as they don’t get the taste for it.
I can’t understand the thought processes that would lead to giving either a 14 year old or a 12 year old a gin and tonic. I understand the introducing alcohol in a controlled way theory but don’t really agree with it in that I think it’s only useful if sensible, healthy alcohol consumption is generally being exhibited by those around them. My parents did the let’s introduce sensibly thing but would be completely hammered themselves most weekends and pretty much every day over Christmas. Heavy drinking was very much normalised and that’s what I did throughout my twenties and thirties. What’s your drinking like OP?
He really doesn’t. He’s like Sapphy from ‘Absolutely Fabulous’! We’ve always encouraged him to go out and socialise but he’d rather socialise with friends at home via his computer. He did have one occasion when he was 16 when he had a few cans in his bedroom and was ill. He confessed that he had ‘messed up’ and learned a lesson. I’d rather that he learned that lesson when he was safe at home and not in the city centre with a load of people in the same condition.
We’ve had conversations about the fact I’m a bit worried that he hardly ever goes out, and when he does he doesn’t stay out that long. Turns out that he doesn’t really enjoy being around people who are just into getting pissed and finds it boring. I asked him whether it was because he had always been brought up being allowed to drink so it was no big deal and he thought it was. I know that he’s not drinking much at home because there’s hardly ever any alcohol cans or bottles in his recycling and if he comes to us for dinner he sometimes doesn’t even finish a glass of wine. We have spent a lot of time together on holiday road trips where DH and I are drinking and 9 times out of 10 he prefers a soft drink.
My family background is Italian / French / Spanish and I can honestly say that I have never seen over there the sort of public drunkenness you get over here.
There is no way it is ok to give a child gin.
They've got plenty of years ahead of them to drink, just why?
Your DMIL is totally out of order to question your choice of giving your DC a tiny splash of gin, on any other thread where a MIL criticises a parenting decision we get cries of ‘she needs to keep her beak out, she’s had her turn at raising her children’. A tiny splash of gin isn’t going to poison your child, but as is frequently said on Mumsnet, anything more than a thimbleful of Sherry at Christmas means you are a raving alcoholic.
The answers on this thread seem a bit OTT. I don't really see the huge issue with a 12 year old having a taste of gin. Actually I think alcopops and the like are worse as they make alcohol more tasty to children. Better they taste a tiny bit of the real thing. But obv I'm in the minority
I don't think ywbu @gladstonefive but it is always going to cause a spilt wherever this is brought up.
FWIW we were allowed a small glass of wine (not watered down) with our Sunday dinner when we had guests.
Big celebrations like Christmas meant we were allowed a glass of spirits in the evening, eg a Baileys (my sister's choice, not diluted) or a Pernod and lemonade (my choice).
Completely wrong in my opinion.. why did you feel the need to give your child gin?🤭
Posted too soon!
I have been violently drunk enough times to count on one hand. At my 18th celebrations, my 21st and another occasion where my drink was spiked and I didn't realise. I'd say I'm a pretty responsible drinker on the whole. I know when I've had enough, I don't drink and drive ever and these day I can take it or leave it.
But my outlook now might also be coloured by my experience of my parents drinking. While I only remember my mum having a hangover once, once I got into my teens I remember my dad getting drunk pretty much every weekend and being an awful person because of it - worse than normal.
So while the odd glass helped me learn which drinks I did or did not like, watching my dad is probably responsible for my take it or leave it attitude now.
I have young children myself. They have all had a taste of wine on occasion at a Sunday dinner. As yet they are too young to actually like it.
So while your mil might not approve @gladstonefive, I'd only comment on it if it was a regular event - eg every time we came round your dc had a drink in hand. If they ever appeared to have drunk too much (unlikely if watered down). Or if you were apparently drunk yourself in charge of the children.
Tbh, if mil comes for dinner again I'd be tempted to make it a tea total affair, so even she misses out on her glass of wine.
Ah OP, you're that parent ... the one who wants to appear 'cool' and their child's friend and can't be arsed to say no. Your updates trying to justify it are just daft. You don't give a 12 year old gin. Fucking ridiculous... 🙄
I don’t get this watered down thing.
If you put 1/2 gallon of water in a pint of gin you still are drinking a pint of gin
I disagree with the majority here. I was allowed a (very) weak G&T or Scotch and lemonade from that sort of age, as was my DB. Neither of us have had any issues with alcohol (unless you count DB being a bit of a lightweight and getting pissed easily). I really don't think it's a big deal.
I think MIL was BU, and rather rude, as well. Your house, your rules and imo it's not on to criticise how someone else chooses to bring up their kids, especially when you're a guest in their home.
Expat Brit here. I'm living in Europe and it's very common here to have red wine with your lunch, even 12 year olds have this. Obviously different cultures and all that and i understand why some people in the UK would be shocked, but it's not uncommon here
I agree with mil. Drink limit is there for a reason!
If only 10% of the contents of the glass were gin (40% proof), then the alcohol strength of the drink was only 4%, less than a lot of beers, and they only had a small glass, not a pint pot.
You were not being unreasonable if it was a special treat. They were not drinking an adult strength drink.
Think it's totally fine tbh. Though my children aren't that age yet so perhaps I will change my mind nearer the time. It was a tiny amount and as long as it doesn't become a habit I can't see the issue.
Better to not make a big fuss of it and then have a teenager who goes way overboard with it at parties
More surprised that she actually wanted to drink it then I am that you gave it to her.
Doesn’t sound like you’re constantly letting her go mad with them, just a very occasional thing. I was allowed alcohol from a young age, when we went to France I had some with most meals. I am now so not fussed about alcohol and never drink it for the sake of it.
Don’t make yourself feel bad over this and hide the drinks (even from MIL ) when she comes round again.
I think a very very very weak drink is a good idea and encourages responsible drinking.
Not the right place for your question, not sure what you expected on mn!
You're definitely not a 'shit mum' as some have said.. You know your kids and its your choice to parent as you like. Personally I don't think there's anything wrong with what you've given them, a small amount as a one off. I've always been given a glass of wine here and there for special events, the equivalent of one shot which you haven't even given. Just ignore all the bitchy responses you're decision is right for you and I do believe it makes alcohol less mysterious.
Also mn, do you know how many 14 year olds get pissed up in the park on bloody strongbow..? Much better having half a shot of very diluted gin in the house.? No?
Only thing I do agree with is what a bloody waste
I didn't agree with my children drinking under age, when it caused an argument with my in-laws. I told them if they insisted to give her a cigarette to go with it. they stormed out . enough said
There was a “relaxed attitude “ to drinking when I grew up. I still at 13 stole half a bottle of whisky out of the cupboard , drank it neat , propositioned the baby sitter and nearly had to have my stomach pumped. It wasn’t so much that I was the disturbed child - quite a few friends had similar scenarios. It is a sweeping statement to say “ I was allowed drinks at home and I can take it or leave it now therefore that must be true for everyone” . Taking it or leaving it in adult life is one thing. Not telling a child about the dangers of spirits is another.
I drank at home from very small (glass of 'wine' that was more lemonade than wine, shandy, babysham at Christmas, a taste of sprits if dad was drinking them) but I'm not sure I'd give a teen gin. I didn't drink spirits at home until I was sixteen or seventeen and then it was vodka.
I don't have grandchildren but if I did, I would be pretty concerned if I saw someone giving one of them spirits and I would certainly say something. It depends what she said, really.
Massively. Your MIL was right to be honest. Seems a bit odd to give children g&ts
No you're not ! We have all three children watered down wine when younger and not one of them felt the need to try drinking when they were a bit older ! Incidentally they do drink but not to excess !
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