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Should 7 and 9 years old be given non alcoholic beer

(32 Posts)
roseonshore Mon 06-Jul-15 15:11:50

My ex husband has been giving our sons who are 7 and 9 non alcoholic beer. He sees nothing wrong with this and does not take my opinion into account but I am very worried about the negative effects this could have on the boys? I would love some opinions on this matter

MamanOfThree Mon 06-Jul-15 15:14:13

I can't see the issue if it's non alcoholic.
I wouldn't see it an issue either if it was alcoholic beer but just a mouthful to try.
I'm surprised that your dcs didn't spat it out though.

MrsCK Mon 06-Jul-15 15:16:42

I once had a 12 year old who brought a non alcoholic shandy into school as part of a packed lunch. this non alcoholic drink had 0.5% alcohol in and as a result a child protection form had to be filled in because they were consuming alcohol regardless of strength. are you certain it's non alcoholic? have you checked ingredients?

either way...no I would not allow a child to consume a drink which is designed for adults.

MamanOfThree Mon 06-Jul-15 16:20:22

Rose what is the issue for you there?
Is it because you have an issue with the word 'beer' written on the label? Are you worried it will encourgae them to think drinking alcohol is OK?
Is it that it might have some alcohol in it?
Is it because you think that children shouold never be given anything alcoholic until they are much much older?

I think you have two issues here. One is about whether it's OK for children to have a non alcoholic drink such as that one.
One is about your ex not listening to your concerns and not being on the same page than you parenting wise.

FATEdestiny Mon 06-Jul-15 16:34:57

Speaking as the sister of an alcoholic, I would have massive issues with my children being given 'non alcoholic beer'. It is the idea of teaching children that they can pretend to be having alcohol that is the problem. Not the product itself.

Maybe some reading this are old enough to remember the little candy sticks you could get as a child that were marketed as pretend cigarettes that young children could pretend to "smoke".

The issue is the same IMO. Both are horrendous.

NB - Those candy sticks are still available now, just not marketed as pretend cigarettes, wisely.

IDontWantToBuildASnowman Mon 06-Jul-15 16:47:07

I would have a major issue with this. It still tastes like real beer, so encouraging them to develop a taste for something which in the real version is harmful (alcohol is a poison to humans, and effects young children very badly) is crazy, irresponsible, and totally unnecessary when there are so many healthy drink options available. I would also have an issue with someone giving my kids fizzy sugar loaded pop at that age too however, it's just setting up terrible habits from such a young age, which I know from personal experience are very difficult to ditch later in life.

MamanOfThree Mon 06-Jul-15 16:54:24

You see I have a very different attitude. I think it's the Perfect opportunity to teach them that alcohol is only ok in moderation.
That it taste vile (I haven't meet a child that age would drink beer and like it).

I wouldn't demonise alcohol and make it the root if all evils or make it something they can't touch. Ime it's the best way to then end up with teenagers who won't know how to handle it (and will try and have some to be like a 'grown up')

car0line123 Mon 06-Jul-15 17:54:36

OMG this is awful! Indeed, most non-alcoholic drinks have some alcohol in them. It's is giving them the worst possible message: drinking beer is ok when you are a child. What moderation when you are 7? It's absurd and dangerous.

It is our role as parent to set up boundaries. Letting them try everything for the sake of being cool is not being a parent.

It is exactly the same with Herbal cigarettes, which are tobacco and nicotine free. Not for children.

lexyloub Mon 06-Jul-15 18:12:10

When I was pregnant I drank the becks blue non alcohol beer my ds 7 at the time asked for a taste which I did allow - he didn't like it. But I can't say that I'd of let him have a bottle himself had he liked it.

SocietyClowns Mon 06-Jul-15 18:17:58

Awful. For a start hardly any non alcoholic bears have no alcohol in them. Can't be arsed to google it but the alcohol content of some of them would surprise most people. I also fail to understand how an adult would think it's okay to get children used to the taste, alcohol or not.
I would be livid.

lexyloub Mon 06-Jul-15 18:28:56

There is the other issue of letting them try alcohol when they're with you rather than out over a park feeling pressure from friends to try it. When my boys are older I'd prefer them to try alcohol with me there to monitor how much they have certainly not at the ages of 7 and 9 though I'm thinking well into their teenage years

Hulababy Mon 06-Jul-15 18:37:38

I remember having tins of Shandy Bass from the chip shop sometimes as a child. think that has 0.5% alcohol.

Now there are several non alcohol beers, and some which are very low - lower than Shandy Bass tins. You do need to check that is is alcohol free rather than low alcohol.

Becks Blue has "no more than 0.05% alcohol"
Bavaria is 0%
Erdinger is "no more than 0.5%"
Holston Pils alcohol free is 0.2%
Kaliber is 0.05%

You do need to check that is is alcohol free rather than low alcohol.

I wouldn't really recommend it for children tbh though.

Hulababy Mon 06-Jul-15 18:44:56

The law re alcohol and a child buying it/buying it for a child - it comes under the licensing laws and I know Thorntons have come under fire regarding their rum and raisin ice cream. Their rum and raisin ice cream is 0.7% alcohol and children are not allowed to purchase it -

"Thorntons claims it is merely following the law which bars children from buying food or drink with an alcoholic content of 0.5 per cent. "

Stealthpolarbear Mon 06-Jul-15 18:48:46

And yet on most threads about children and alcohol people say they'd give them watered down wine by the age of 9 or 10 as it gets them used to drinking confused
Fwiw u wouldn't. I wasn't even keen on letting g my dcs have j2o as they were originally branded as an alternative to alco pops. Then I got a grip grin

squizita Mon 06-Jul-15 19:29:40

Most are labelled 0.05 as they're actually lower but they can't detect it accurately. Orange juice has the same content! grin

I might be concerned about making beer seem a great and harmless thing to drink lots of though.

roseonshore Mon 06-Jul-15 19:35:23

I just don't think it necessary for such young kids to be introduced to beer of any kind, beer whether it is alcoholic or non alcoholic is an adult drink. We are responsible for our own physical and mental health and can make informed adult decisions about what we do, a 7 and 9 year old cannot. Yes mamanofthree I do have issues about the drink and the message its giving my kids and yes I also have issues with my ex not listening to my opinion, I cannot force him not to give it to them but he knows I find it very worrying! I also worry because he is a heavy drinker and there is alcoholism in his family so the kids don't really need more encouragement! I might be a little more relaxed if they were much older, say 14 or 15 but not at this age.

Stealthpolarbear Mon 06-Jul-15 20:13:02

So how do people on this thread feel about giving watered down wine to 11 or 12 year olds

MrsBojingles Tue 07-Jul-15 09:22:49

I wouldn't personally, it's a drink designed for adults, and it's better not to encourage them drinking it from such a young age. I might allow them a sip just to taste, but not a whole bottle.

IDontWantToBuildASnowman Tue 07-Jul-15 13:39:06

I think the fact some people don't see this as a problem is indicative of how socially acceptable drinking now is to be honest. Turn the clock back and people used to allow young children to smoke and thought nothing of it - can you imagine that happening these days! No, mainly because smoking is now seen as a very harmful and disgusting habit, not encouraged and slightly ostracised by society.

With regards alcohol I wouldn't distinguish between 0% or any other % of alcohol personally, its the message that is wrong IMO. Alcohol is always a poor choice (before I get flamed, I do drink myself), but OP you are right that as adults we are informed enough and responsible enough to make that choice for ourselves, and suffer the consequences ourselves (some of which can be very severe for the many who end up on a slippery slope to alcoholism), but children are not informed or responsible.

I really feel for you OP as you are being put in an impossible situation that you just can't win.

IDontWantToBuildASnowman Tue 07-Jul-15 13:40:28

www.drinkaware.co.uk/understand-your-drinking/is-your-drinking-a-problem/does-my-drinking-affect-my-child

bruffin Tue 07-Jul-15 13:49:47

I wouldn't have a problem with it and my both my teens have always drunk moderately at parties, they like being sober enough to remember what went on, and end up looking after their friends.
we don't drink ourselves very much, me 1 or 2 a month and dh a beer a couple of times a week.

MamanOfThree Tue 07-Jul-15 15:04:44

I think what we do as parents in front of our dcs is much much more important. Have you ever been drunk in front of them? Are you talking about last night party and how you ended up throwing up? Can they see you drink large amount of alcohol everyday?

That is going to make a huge difference, much more than a couple of mouthful of beer, alcoholic or no alcoholic.
There is no point telling your dcs that alcohol is to be avooided if they can see you drinking anyway (and yes I do include the bottles you have drunk in the evening when the dcs were in bed that are left then in the recycling box).

Fwiw I hardly drink (I mean about half a glass of wine perhaps 5 times in the year) but if the dcs want to try the wine, the beer when we are drinking it, then so be it. Because it's never part of their 'normal' and at the same time, we can teach them about moderation, what it means to be drunk, what are the effects etc... much before they hit the teenage years and they want to 'try it out' when they are having that ONE mouthful of alcohol.
It's not about making it 'normal' quite the contrary.

Trooperslane Tue 07-Jul-15 15:14:27

There's alcohol occurring naturally in orange juice. So chill out about that.

I work in the industry and understand it from a molecular level. But it's not about the liquid, it's about the occasion and telling kids who are very young that stuff that tastes like beer is ok for them.

It's not. Never.

IDontWantToBuildASnowman Tue 07-Jul-15 15:22:54

I agree MamanOfThree, you sound like you have a very balanced and healthy relationship with alcohol, and no doubt are setting a great example for your own children. The father of the child the OP is talking about does not sound like he nor his family does however. From experience people who drink too much are usually all to quick to encourage others to be complicit in their drinking, as it helps justify their own actions and makes them feel their drinking is normal and acceptable, or at the very least everyone else will be sufficiently inebriated to not notice how off it they are. So the boys in question here are unlikely to be getting a healthy exposure to drinking as your children clearly do. I come from a family who have a very ingrained attitude towards excessive drinking (I doubt most would even admit they drink too much), and I would categorise my own father as a functioning alcoholic, and I know it has affected me and my own drinking habits, and did so from a very young age. This is why I feel so strongly that there is no place for ANY exposure or normalising of drinking in young children. I am not talking about banning alcohol or demonising it, just that I would not allow exposure to it until the very least teen years which these children are far from.

Heartofgold25 Tue 07-Jul-15 18:44:51

Definitely no, it still has alcohol no matter how small ~ bad example to the child, there is no need to introduce alcohol to any child.
My sil introduced the idea of wine at dinner for her 14 yr in a French way ~ two years later said dd now has a real problem with binge drinking and drinking way too much. My sil blames herself, it may have happened anyway but she will always think it was their fault.

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