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Annoyed that ex-h is giving 5yo alcohol and won't talk to me about it

(86 Posts)
Meeko505 Mon 06-Jul-20 09:45:37

My ex-h is half French and drinks wine with dinner often, but a few months ago I found out that he's been giving my 5yo son wine with dinner sometimes, watered down. I tried to ask how much and how often, but he wouldn't respond and said it was none of my business.

(Background; he was a controlling and emotionally abusive partner and since divorcing a year ago has tried to control me in terms of who I can see with the kids around and what the kids wear and I've not done what he wants, so basically whenever I have an issue with his parenting he just turns it back to that and says 'well, you didn't cooperate with me so'. I am in touch with a few people about his behaviour and a few issues we've had and will mention this to them, but I'm pretty sure there are no official channels that will help with this one.)

Anyway, yesterday my 5yo said he doesn't like wine so now Dad gives him beer in a cup instead .Again, I've sent messages for details on the amount and regularity but he hasn't responded.

My guess would be it's a small amount but quite often - not just special occasions at all.

I'm worried that a) the logic that 'he doesn't like wine I'll give him something else instead' and b) it's regular enough that, particularly with beer, he's going to be primed to go right into drinking more when he's 12/13.

I understand the argument that a little early exposure makes it less enticing, but tbh this is very regular and my 5yo is still clearly smitten with the idea that he gets a grown up drink and clearly thinks it's very cool, I don't know. It's also hard when I just don't know how much and clearly have no control over how it's scaled up in the coming years.


OP’s posts: |
Greydrapex Mon 06-Jul-20 10:01:49

Gobsmacked! Is that not illegal?

GreyishDays Mon 06-Jul-20 10:02:54

I think it’s legal from age five, sadly.

slipperywhensparticus Mon 06-Jul-20 10:04:09

I thought it was age 7?

Meeko505 Mon 06-Jul-20 10:04:28

I think it's 5 - which is why he waited until age 5 exactly.

OP’s posts: |
DianaT1969 Mon 06-Jul-20 10:08:11

How often does your ex have your child? Can you reduce contact? Dreadful for the child's liver, if nothing else. Quite horrified by this.

grandmasterstitch Mon 06-Jul-20 10:09:23

I think this is standard practice in France. Or it used to be. However I wouldn't be happy for my 5 year old to be drinking any amount of alcohol

GuiltyBark Mon 06-Jul-20 10:10:33

I'd get social services involved! He didn't like wine so he gave him beer? He doesn't like beer is it gin next? Why so keen to force alcohol on a child? Not just controlling that's abusive.

Loveinatimeofcovid Mon 06-Jul-20 10:10:49

Even if it is legal surely it’s still a form of abuse?

Meeko505 Mon 06-Jul-20 10:12:52

He has them (a 3 yo also) 3 days a week.

He responded to my questions and said 'not much, not often' but when I asked for clarification he deflected with complaints about the kids seeing my partner and saying please (long story, he doesn't like it) and then refused to answer further.

I will mention it to the relevant people next time they phone but because it's legal I'm really not sure what can be done if he won't listen to me.

OP’s posts: |
notapizzaeater Mon 06-Jul-20 10:13:06

That's probably how he was brought up. In France they give children watered down alcohol with meals.

Not something I'd do but normal fir french kids 😢

AllTheWhoresOfMalta Mon 06-Jul-20 10:13:49

Yeah, balls to that- get social services involved.

Meeko505 Mon 06-Jul-20 10:15:43

Tbh he grew up in England and just spent holidays in France. He might have been given a bit of wine but he is much more culturally English and, I think, kind of romanticises French culture as it's something he probably always wanted more of as a kid.

OP’s posts: |
Stannisbaratheonsboxofmatches Mon 06-Jul-20 10:16:06

I would speak to social services or, if you have no luck, maybe a solicitor so that you could take it to court?

Batfinklestein Mon 06-Jul-20 10:22:52

Sorry to go off track, but I'm a bit baffled. He doesn't like your kids saying "please"?!

namechanging2020 Mon 06-Jul-20 10:23:49

It is legal in own homes from 5. I am not saying makes him parent of the year but I don't think there is much you can do about it. I would be angry if my ex was doing this so I do get what you are saying.

Meeko505 Mon 06-Jul-20 10:25:04


Sorry to go off track, but I'm a bit baffled. He doesn't like your kids saying "please"?!

He said he doesn't like 'performative politeness' and they should learn how to say please because they want to rather than being asked/told to say please. I don't really get it either.

OP’s posts: |
Spandang Mon 06-Jul-20 10:27:04

Thing is though he’s bringing up a child in a French culture, when the culture around him is different.

If he thinks it’s cool (And normal) to drink grown up drinks, what happens when he tells his friends, teachers, friends tell their parents.

If I overheard a conversation between two children saying they drank beer at every meal I’d be flagging it to our safeguarding officer.

fuckinghellapeacock Mon 06-Jul-20 10:28:37

He sounds like a fucking idiot. What does your 5 YO think of the wine? I would teach him to refuse.

Twillow Mon 06-Jul-20 10:33:16

From the behaviour around drinking in Europe, it's actually less likely that your child will plunge into binge drinking due to being accustomed to small amounts with a meal than our awful UK drinking.
Not saying I agree 100%, but if its technically legal I would try not to let on how upsetting you find it. There are bound to be differences in the way you parent, save your ammo for the big guns maybe.

Mrskeats Mon 06-Jul-20 10:33:28

Report this to SS and school safeguarding.

Meeko505 Mon 06-Jul-20 10:34:00

So, he never has squash in for them and I tried suggesting that I could take squash over and when Dad offers beer he can say 'I'd rather have squash' and ask for that instead, but he says he likes beer and so I don't think I'll be able to get him to refuse it.

I don't know how often it is. It's probably not every night but it could be once a week. And maybe only 1cm? It's really hard to say because other than 'not much not often' he hasn't clarified.

OP’s posts: |
PopsicleHustler Mon 06-Jul-20 10:37:11

I would be ringing the bloody social and the police. I also would be stopping contact.

Apolloanddaphne Mon 06-Jul-20 10:42:54

I do not condone this at all but I can tell you that it if it is legal then the police will do nothing. SS may chat to your ex and suggest it is not best practice in the UK but if all else is okay they would take it no further.

LittleGwyneth Mon 06-Jul-20 10:45:17

Pretty sure that French people don't give their kids booze on the reg - more occasionally / on special occasions / when the kids ask. I don't think your average French toddler is sipping a nice merlot with his nuggets every night.

OP even worse than the booze is that he doesn't seem to think he owes you an answer to his questions. Not sure what to suggest, but I'm sorry you're going through this - must be incredibly frustrating and really hard.

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