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Tell us what you think about teenage drinking and family culture

(5 Posts)
RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 15-Jun-11 10:37:09


I've been asked to take part in a panel debate on teenage drinking for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The question they want us to address is: 'How much can family influence teenage drinking?'

They're after Mumsnetters' perspectives, so if you have anything you'd like me to say on your behalf, do please post it here.

If you want some background, there's a round-up of JRF research on the topic here.



MrsDanverclone Wed 15-Jun-11 13:24:51

I think family is a very strong influence, on a teenager's attitude to drinking. My parents brought me up with a very continental attitude to drinking alcohol, and as a parent, I have chosen to do the same with my own children. We don't make a big issue about alcohol, from an early age if they wanted to try something we were drinking, that was fine with us. We drink wine with meals regularly and my children have tried a wide variety of alcoholic drinks at home or family/friends social events. As a family we drink responsibly, my children have never seen their parents drunk, which unfortunately isn't the case for all children.
We live near a city centre with a well known drinking culture, nearly every weekend large parties of Hen and Stag groups, descend on the city centre. Walking through the city centre at night ( or actually even during the day sometimes) provides an opportunity to discuss the negative aspects of alcohol with my children. They have witnessed drunken behaviour and we have been able to discuss as a family, the dangers that people put themselves in when they drink too much. I have warned my daughters about the dangers of people spiking their drink, getting them drunk and assaulting them. Making them aware and responsible, such as making sure that at least one of their group of friends, ensures they all stay safe.
Putting up the price of alcohol, isn't going to change the attitude of teenagers to drinking alcohol. Our society's attitude needs to change, we need to stop glorifying irresponsible alcohol consumption and drunken behaviour in the media and throughout society. As a family, we have taken our children into pubs, when going to see a band play for example, they don't associate going to a pub with getting drunk. More pubs should allow children/teenagers in, as a place to meet and socialise and actually give them the chance to know how to behave in that situation.
My daughter has turned down the opportunity many times, of going out drinking in the street with her friends. She informed them why would she want to stand in the cold, swigging from a shared bottle of god knows what, if she wanted a drink, she could have one at home. I have friends who have had to collect their unconscious teen, from some park or street, teens who thought they were being cool and daring, but hadn't had the safe opportunity to learn responsible drinking. I have educated my children about drinking and hopefully they will continue to make an informed choice, when faced with the pressure to join in, with our heavy drinking culture that we currently have.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 15-Jun-11 20:55:12

Thank you, Mrs Danverclone.

Anyone else?

BornSicky Fri 17-Jun-11 15:41:30

I was brought up in France where we always had alcohol at the dinner table, and as far as I recall, it was generally offered to visitors - much like in Britain where we'd offer tea.

Alcohol was so normalised in the family home that I remember (when I was a teenager back in the UK) drinking was not and is not a big deal.

I think the big problem in the UK is that it is coveted as something cool, adult, and restricted. Most UK media fuels the imagery of teens as binge drinkers ruining public spaces, but it's not always the case, and if we weren't so prohibitive with alcohol, (and instead were educative and open) then we might have a more take it or leave attitude to drink.

I'm also inclined (conversely) to agree with Professor Nutt that alcohol is more dangerous than recreational drug use and we need to go further to enable people to understand that a few drinks every now and agin is fine, but excessive drinking and drinking addiction is dangerous.

Agree with Mrs Danverclone's ideas about pubs too.

faintpositive Fri 17-Jun-11 15:50:44

It was not even discussed in my house, it was just accepted when growing up that kids/teenagers do not drink alcohol. (Army childhood)

I didnt even taste alcohol till i was about 22, do not drink to this day. (im 40)

My husbands parents bought him & his friends alcohol from being about 14 to drink in the house. I was shocked by this completely. They always wanted to be his "mate" Veyr liberall, accepting without argument dh at aged 14 and 10 of his friends in his bedroom, drinking and smoking.
My DH does not drink to excess, he never got wrecked as a teenager or as a young adult.

My neices (twins) were very protected, never even went to corner shop alone till they were 13!
Got to 17 and went totally off the rails, drunk & disorderly, arrested every weekend asualted police officers, jsut out of control completely. Didnt settle down until they were 24 or 25.

Its all influenced by people surrounding you, i think.

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