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NOW CLOSED Let's talk children and alcohol - how would you deal with these scenarios? Tell all and you could win a £250 Love2Shop voucher

(109 Posts)
NewGirlHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 21-Jul-11 10:17:45

We're working with the brewing company Anheuser-Busch InBev UK to gather your top tips and advice on talking to children about alcohol. AB InBev UK is launching a new initiative called Family Talk UK which aims to encourage open conversation between parents and children about alcohol and responsible drinking. This is not about encouraging under 18s to drink alcohol or marketing drinks.

We understand that some of you will have already had discussions with your child(ren) about drinking and some of you won't - it doesn't matter if you have RL experience of this or not, AB InBev UK want to hear what you did or what you would do if faced with the scenarios below.

If your child(ren) aren't yet at the age where they're aware of alcohol, we'd still like to hear what you think you would do in the scenarios below. This is open to all Mumsnetters with at least one child. Everyone who takes part by adding their advice to this thread will be entered into a prize draw to win a £250 voucher for Love2Shop. You don't have to respond to every scenario below, you can pick the ones that interest you the most if you want - just make sure you tell us which scenario you're responding to in your posts. If possible we'd like you to add your advice/thoughts/comments to the thread before you read anyone else's posts. Some of your tips and advice may feature on the Family Talk UK facebook page.

AB InBev UK is also looking for some Mumsnetters to get more involved with the Family Talk UK initiative. They will be creating some videos to show on the Family Talk UK facebook page. If you'd like to take part in the video or register your interest, please email
takepart@family-talk.co.uk - they will let you know all the details and there's no obligation by emailing.
Thanks
MNHQ

So here are the scenarios (remember you don't have to respond to each one) - please say how you think you'd deal with them and try not to look at other responses before posting smile:

Scenario A
You have two DSs who are 8 and 15. Last Saturday your older DS came home from a party and you suspected he was drunk. You argued that night but he has since apologised and promised to be more responsible in future. However, your younger DS woke up during the argument and has been asking questions about what happened, and whether his older brother had been drinking. You and DP don't know how you should broach the subject with him or what you should say.

Scenario B
You and DP were both away with work recently and left your 17 year old DD and 13 year old DS at home on their own. When you came back you noticed that a couple of beers were missing and the level on some of your spirits was lower than you remembered. Your DD is revising for her exams at the moment and you don't think she would have taken the alcohol. You want to talk to both of them about it but you're not sure how.

Scenario C
Your 13 year old DD has started going to house parties. Usually these are just girls only sleepovers. However, this weekend she wants to go to a friend's house where you know there are older siblings who will have their friends over too. You trust her not to drink but your instinct is still to say no. How do you broach it with her?

Scenario D
Neither you nor your DP drink. However, both your 9 year old DD and 12 year old DS have started asking questions about alcohol recently and have mentioned that other people they know have tried it. They haven't asked specifically if they can try a drink but do seem to want to know more about it. You're not sure what to do.

Scenario E
You held a party at your house last weekend. Several of your friends and their DCs came over. The party carried on late and all the adults were quite drunk. Your oldest DD, who is 11, has since asked if she can try some of your wine during dinner. You have said no, but you're not sure if this was the right thing to do.

UsingMainlySpoons Thu 21-Jul-11 10:25:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bramshott Thu 21-Jul-11 10:33:23

Scenario A
Yes, I'd explain that DS1 had drunk too much and it had made him behave in that way. It's important that kids see the negative effects of alcohol as well as the positive.

Scenario B
I'd just ask them about it I think. Although I'm not sure I'd leave a 13 yr old in the care of a 17 yr old overnight.

Scenario C
I would take it as a good opportunity to explain what I expect of her around alcohol at a young age.

Scenario D
Hard to imagine, as we DO drink!

Scenario E
I would probably let an 11 yr old have a very small glass of wine with dinner if they wanted to. It's unlikely that they'd like it in any case - certainly my 8 year old thinks wine and beer taste disgusting!

I aim to be as matter of fact and non sensational talking about alchohol with my DDs as I can - that alcohol is nice, but really just for adults, and that we don't drink too much of it as that can make us behave in stupid ways.

missorinoco Thu 21-Jul-11 10:57:21

Scenario A. I would say he had drunk alcohol and was drunk, which made him behave in that way, and try to find out what the younger child thought of the behaviour. Then I would explain the older child had realsied this was irresponsible and had promised not to do this again. I would also try to add in that as he had apologised and realised his behaviour wasn't appropriate we were trusting him not to do it again. I suspect I am overambitious and this reflects my lack of knowledge of how to deal with teenagers though.

Scenario C: Tell her I am cautious about this and my concern is the behaviour of the older children. I would then try to elicit her opinions on them. I think overall I would let her go, but say I was trusting her not to drink, and see how it went.

ewaczarlie Thu 21-Jul-11 11:44:30

Scenario A
I would explain what happened and that we were dissappointed with older brother's behaviour as he is too young to drink. I would further talk about when its OK to start drinking and how you should drink responsibly (when - at the end of high school, how - never be in a position where you are drinking to keep up with friends, to try and look cool or drink so much that you cant walk in a straight line). I would support this with a general talk with both boys about being a leader not a follower among friends and discuss about the things that we get pressured into and how to avoid it without loosing face. Finally i would talk about our experiences with alcohol - the kids should know that we've been there too and that they can always talk to us and we will understand however they should also know what we expect from them when they are away from home.

Scenario C
I would explain to her what my concerns are, why its important that she doesnt follow what the older kids are doing and that i trust her to make the right choices (hence i'd let her go). Then i would inform her about what i expect of her and what the consequences would be if she breaches my trust and does something not allowed. I think its improtant to show that i believe she can make right decisions (while keeping an eye on what is happening). how would i 'check' if she behaved? I'd make sure that i picked her up and then i would probably get her to do something fiddly to check her coordination (like asking her to open the house with a key - hard to do if you're drunk)

pozzled Thu 21-Jul-11 12:03:41

(Disclaimer- my eldest DD is only 2 so I am nowhere near this stage yet).

With Scenario B I would talk to the 17 year-old openly. I would tell the truth- that I had noticed some beers were missing- and ask if she had had friends over. I would emphasise that she wasn't in trouble and I wasn't accusing her. If she had drunk the beers I wouldn't have any problem with that at all, I expect that by the time my DDs are 17 they'll have had beer/wine at home. I'd be a bit more concerned about the spirits as I see it as easier to have too much with spirits, so I'd want to talk to have more of an in-depth talk about safe drinking if she was trying spirits.

I wouldn't talk to the DS until after the DD. As she is the older one, she should have been responsible for the DS. If he had taken the drink I'd be having a very firm talk with him about why he shouldn't be drinking at his age, particularly unsupervised.

Scenario D- Again, open and honest conversation. I would start by asking what their thoughts were on children their age drinking, and explain the dangers. I'd explain clearly why DP and I didn't drink, but also discuss the reasons why people do choose to drink. Would probably discuss some of the things they'd have seen in soaps etc with people getting drunk. I'd make it clear that they can make the choice whether or not to drink once they were old enough, and also emphasise the difference between trying a drink e.g. a few sips to see what it tastes like, and getting drunk.

Tortington Thu 21-Jul-11 12:38:49

Scenario A
You have two DSs who are 8 and 15. Last Saturday your older DS came home from a party and you suspected he was drunk. You argued that night but he has since apologised and promised to be more responsible in future. However, your younger DS woke up during the argument and has been asking questions about what happened, and whether his older brother had been drinking. You and DP don't know how you should broach the subject with him or what you should say.

i would say " your brother got drunk last night, we are not please and he has X punishment" - btw i am incredulous at the idea that it should be treated as some nasty little secret - teenagers get drunk hmm

Scenario B
You and DP were both away with work recently and left your 17 year old DD and 13 year old DS at home on their own. When you came back you noticed that a couple of beers were missing and the level on some of your spirits was lower than you remembered. Your DD is revising for her exams at the moment and you don't think she would have taken the alcohol. You want to talk to both of them about it but you're not sure how.

FIRST OF ALL no, i wouldn't go away with work or otherwise and leave two teenagers int he house ARE YOU CRAZY?

Scenario C
Your 13 year old DD has started going to house parties. Usually these are just girls only sleepovers. However, this weekend she wants to go to a friend's house where you know there are older siblings who will have their friends over too. You trust her not to drink but your instinct is still to say no. How do you broach it with her?

i SAY NO!? if i'm not comfortable then its tough shit

Scenario D
Neither you nor your DP drink.[yeah right] However, both your 9 year old DD and 12 year old DS have started asking questions about alcohol recently and have mentioned that other people they know have tried it. They haven't asked specifically if they can try a drink but do seem to want to know more about it. You're not sure what to do.

" You can have a drink in a pub when you are 18 love" i'm sure mc types will offer a glass of wine with dinner - but we aren't 'glass of wine with dinner' types of people and 'a pint of fosters with dinner' somehow seems inappropriate.

Scenario E
You held a party at your house last weekend. Several of your friends and their DCs came over. The party carried on late and all the adults were quite drunk. Your oldest DD, who is 11, has since asked if she can try some of your wine during dinner. You have said no, but you're not sure if this was the right thing to do.

if i say no - i say no, whats the problem here? i said NO


all smacks of wishy washy parenting - ;ooh shall we keep this from our dcs?' oooh the angst...the angst of us as good vegetable growing wine drinking liberal guardian reader types <yawn>'

people get drunk, drunks walk the street, people stagger out of pubs at lunchtime, christmas parties etc etc - drink is all around us its like your child saying Mummy, you use a sharp knife to peel a carrot, can i use a sharp knife?' you say no - no means no -

is there a problem with saying no to children now?

Solo Thu 21-Jul-11 12:41:24

Scenario C. Your 13 year old DD has started going to house parties. Usually these are just girls only sleepovers. However, this weekend she wants to go to a friend's house where you know there are older siblings who will have their friends over too. You trust her not to drink but your instinct is still to say no. How do you broach it with her?

Well, my Ds will be 13 in a few weeks and this year he has asked about going to house parties where there were going to be older teens from 13 up to around 19. One party was for an 18yo. Ds is quite mature for his age, both physically (in that he's very tall) and mentally, but definitely not emotionally!
I spoke to Ds about it as I was concerned about there being alcohol there and Ds said he wouldn't touch it. I don't think he would have, but would have worried about drink spiking and the possibility of youngsters that weren't used to drinking alcohol, doing irresponsible things with my Ds present...he didn't go to the party as I said he was too young and I think he appreciated the things I'd brought up. I always tell him that I'm the adult that is ultimately responsible for keeping him safe and I think he is able to understand that. I do think that it'll get harder to use this logic with him in the future though.

Malcontentinthemiddle Thu 21-Jul-11 12:49:05

Scenario A -
I would be honest with the 8 year old and say yes, your brother drank too much and it was silly of him and we weren't happy about it, because it's illegal at his age and it can also make you behave in ways which can put you in danger etc. We'll be keeping an eye on him and trying to make sure this doesn't become a problem.

I wouldn't lay it on too heavy though, because it's unlikely this lad isn't ever going to come home tipsy again, or that in 6 years time the little one won't be experimenting too. Pragmatism is the key here...

Scenario B - I'd sit them both down and say I'd noticed there was some drink missing and I wanted to know where it had gone! If I didn't get a straight answer, or if it turned out it was the 13 year old, I'd want a lot of assurance that this wouldn't happen again before I'd consider leaving them alone again, and I would tell them that if it happened again they would have to stay at Granny's in future if we went out.

C - I'd ask her what she was planning to do if drink appeared. If she said she definitely didn't intend on touching it, I wouldn't assume all would be well, and I would tell her I hoped she wouldn't but that if she did, she needed to be very careful. I would let her go, but I would worry, and I'd text her once or twice. I'd also agree a code with her in case things went wrong or she was uncomfortable, so she can text 'how's Auntie Margaret' or whatever and then we know to ring with Terrible News and pick her up.

D - this one is more diffficult to imagine!

E - I'd let her have a bit, she's pretty much certain not to like it! Kids don't like wine, I find - they like cider and alcopops! But on the subject of the party, I would probably make time to say 'god we all had too much to drink, sorry if we were embarrassing, I feel crappy today, that was not a clever plan!'.

PrettyCandles Thu 21-Jul-11 13:04:18

Scenario A
I would tell ds2 the truth, that ds1 behaved foolishly and dangerously by getting drunk, that he was lucky not to end up in hospital or at the police station, and that, even so, he still has to face the consequences of his behaviour: a hangover (with details!) and XYZ sanction from us.

Scenario B
Openly, all of us together, we would ask "Tell us about the missing drinks". I don't think I would punish in any way, because I would want to encourage honesty and openness, but I would tell them that if the wanted to try alcohol then please ask us, do not do it in secret or behind our backs. I would emphasise that, for their own safety, I need to be able to trust them in order to let them be left alone.

Scenario C
Tricky. I don't have an answer for this one.

Scenario D
I think that, if we didn't drink (we do, but very little), I would have to explain the reasons for our decision and for our commitment to that decision, and ask them to respect our choices for the time being. I would not set a deadline, and I would try to encourage them to keep talking with us. I gulf worry about them going off and experimenting.

Scenario E
I would let them try the wine with dinner. I would use the events as an opportunity to teach them about responsible drinking and self-control. Teaching by personal example even more than by talking.

startail Thu 21-Jul-11 13:11:26

The dances and pubs where I was brought up would serve us from about 14 upwards, they knew how old we were, we went to school with their DCs.
There was very little trouble a) because we couldn't afford to drink much at pub prices.
b) because the bar staff and especially the older teenagers and young adults looked out for us.
Thus in a I would be totally honest and say your big brother had to much to drink. That was irresponsible and made him behave badly.
In the others, I would be very cross if I thought a 13 and a 17 year old didn't have the sense to realise that drinking when they were on trust was very silly.
13 year olds sleep over, I'd say no to any sleepover where I thought they weren't going to be properly supervised, alcohol or no alcohol.
I don't see anything wrong in an 11 year old having a splash of wine on a special occasion.
I don't do drunk adult parties. I firmly believe there is nothing wrong with having a drink, but I don't believe getting drunk is either funny or clever.
I really regret that, in tightening the licensing laws and attitudes to teenage drinking, we seem to be encouraging more and more young people to drink large quantities of cheap off licence booze in secret and unsupervised.

Fennel Thu 21-Jul-11 13:13:45

Scenario A
I would just tell him the truth. DS1 drank too much but has promised to be more sensible in future.

Scenario B
I would say "I see some beer has gone and some of the spirits are lower, have you been drinking them?" and I would probably tell them I would like to know the answer and won't tell them off if they have.

Scenario C
Depends on the sort of teenagers who might be there, but I would probably say, I will let you go if you think you really can promise not to drink.

Scenario D
Hard to imagine not being a drinker... I might let the 12yo try, not the 9yo.

Scenario E
I would let the 11yo dd have a bit of wine at dinner. I do let my dc this age and a bit younger have the odd sip of watered down wine or cider.

welliesandpyjamas Thu 21-Jul-11 13:24:27

Scenario A - Tell ds2 the truth and include reasons why it was wrong for ds1 to drink underage and why alcohol needs to be in moderation. Also ask ds1 to explain it with you.

Scenario B - call them both in and ask who did it, watch their faces for an idea of who did it so even if there is full denial from both, you at least get a feel for the situation despite not being able to directly punish anyone. Serious talk about moderation with alcohol and about how bad it is to steal from others, especially your own family.

Scenario C - explain that we trust her but we can't trust other people we don't know, especially if they are possibly not going to be fully with it due to alcohol. At 13 she would be too young to go along and fully look after herself.

Scenario D - Tell them that when they are a little older they can try a sip for curiosity's sake but also explain why there is an age limit on alcohol consumption.

Scenario E - leave it for now but the next time there is wine at the dinner table and he asks, say it is ok for him to try a sip to see what it tastes like. But then explain the reasons why there is an age limit on alcohol consumption and talk about examples of the lack of control when people get drunk.

TheRhubarb Thu 21-Jul-11 13:35:12

Scenario A.
Definitely would broach the subject and be completely honest that ds1 had been drinking and this had led to an argument because we trusted him not to drink. I would explain that what he did was against the law and broke our trust. I would also see this as a good time to explain about alcohol and the effects it can have on people and why were are worried about our children drinking.
Scenario B
I would speak to them both separately and explain my fears. They are more likely to be honest when questioned separately I think. No accusations, but I would expect dd to be honest as she is the oldest and if I suspected ds then I would ask her to work with us to keep ds safe. I would talk to ds about why we are so worried and what alcohol can do to you. If dd has admitted it was her then I would just talk to ds in case he saw her drinking and had been worried. But taking them both aside separately would be the way I would deal with this.
Scenario C
I would tell her that I am unhappy and worried about her being around older children who may drink. I would explain the effects of alcohol and how it can make people do silly things which would make me worried for her safety. I would also talk to her about peer pressure and how she would feel if she was the only one not drinking and being teased because of it. Then I would tell her that this time I am not happy not because I don’t trust her but because I don’t trust them and would ask her to arrange a sleepover with her friends at our house instead.
Scenario D
Encourage them to find out the facts about alcohol online. They can be set a task of one finding good things about alcohol and one finding bad things. Then we can go through the findings as a family and perhaps talk about our own experiences and our hopes for them.
Scenario E
I would talk about the party and how she felt the adults were behaving. Did she think they were acting as parents ought to act? Were some of the children scared? How did she think they all felt the morning after? I wouldn’t lie to her about the fun effects of alcohol, everyone needs to let their hair down, but I would point out the dangers and perhaps get her to see that some of them went too far. It’s a good time to talk about moderation and how easy it is to get very drunk without noticing. If she wanted to taste my wine I would let her.

I think with all of these scenarios the key is communication. I wouldn’t lie and say all alcohol is bad but I would use real examples to illustrate how alcohol can be dangerous not just because of what it does to your body but because of the way it changes your personality and takes control away from you. If you are open about these subjects and deal with them as a family then they are more likely to be sensible and confide in you should anything go wrong.
That’s the theory anyway, only time will tell if it works with mine!

TheRhubarb Thu 21-Jul-11 13:36:31

Loving custy's answer! grin

WhipMeIndiana Thu 21-Jul-11 13:44:18

A - - gather all family together for meeting around dinner table, arm self with facts and figures about alcohol, aim to educate
talk to elder boy 1-on-1 about the dangers
keep him busy on evenings - ie take them to cinema etc
B- - talk to them individually, if it's the older insist alcohol is paid for, if the younger, talk with lots on info, explain why bad for health etc
C - - No - arrange something to do as a family, she can't go. would adults be present? talk to other mums. educate child on dangers of underage drinking.
D go out for dinner, let them try wine, a tiny glass, for example, educate with websites etc on what alcohol does, why people drink it etc, keep talking.
E - wouldnt have happened at ours, do agree to let them try a very small amount with a meal adults wouldnt be 'drunk' with kids at same party.. just talk about it, refer to websites/books info etc.

Looking at these I approach the scenarios in a similar way, to educate and give my dc's the confidence to decide for themselves the safest approach in a situation with alcohol - and to encourage them to be able to say no to their peers, and also never letting them get into a situation which could be dangerous

AgonyBeetle Thu 21-Jul-11 14:17:23

Scenario A
You have two DSs who are 8 and 15. Last Saturday your older DS came home from a party and you suspected he was drunk. You argued that night but he has since apologised and promised to be more responsible in future. However, your younger DS woke up during the argument and has been asking questions about what happened, and whether his older brother had been drinking. You and DP don't know how you should broach the subject with him or what you should say.

I'd say 'your brother didn't behave sensibly at the party, and we've discussed it with him and we're dealing with it'. If I def. knew he'd been drinking I might say that to the younger child, if it was just a suspicion I probably wouldn't. I don't think children's misdeeds should really be discussed in detail in front of their siblings, younger or older.

Scenario B
You and DP were both away with work recently and left your 17 year old DD and 13 year old DS at home on their own. When you came back you noticed that a couple of beers were missing and the level on some of your spirits was lower than you remembered. Your DD is revising for her exams at the moment and you don't think she would have taken the alcohol. You want to talk to both of them about it but you're not sure how.

13yo is too young to be left home alone, even with older sister, so this wouldn't arise. But if I think something has been taken but can't prove it, I'd say, "I think this has been taken, obviously it was one of you, I can't prove it, but you need to know that it is not okay and I'm not happy about it. Under no circumstances are you to help yourself to alcohol from the cupboard. I need to be able to trust you, and if I can't trust you then I will have to police you much more closely than I currently do, which will make your life far less agreeable. Think about it."

Scenario C
Your 13 year old DD has started going to house parties. Usually these are just girls only sleepovers. However, this weekend she wants to go to a friend's house where you know there are older siblings who will have their friends over too. You trust her not to drink but your instinct is still to say no. How do you broach it with her?

Never mind the drink, mixed-sex sleepovers are a no-no for a 13yo. Especially if there will be older dc there as well. Just no. Not even up for discussion.

Scenario D
Neither you nor your DP drink. However, both your 9 year old DD and 12 year old DS have started asking questions about alcohol recently and have mentioned that other people they know have tried it. They haven't asked specifically if they can try a drink but do seem to want to know more about it. You're not sure what to do.

Fairly obviously, you tell them that alcohol is for grown-ups, like sex and driving. Can't see a problem here.

Scenario E
You held a party at your house last weekend. Several of your friends and their DCs came over. The party carried on late and all the adults were quite drunk. Your oldest DD, who is 11, has since asked if she can try some of your wine during dinner. You have said no, but you're not sure if this was the right thing to do.

We wouldn't really get drunk in front of children (or at all, really). But no, 11yo is too young to try wine at dinner. End of story.

tabulahrasa Thu 21-Jul-11 14:31:10

Scenario A
I'd tell him exactly what happened and that I was handling it...I'd be punishing the older one anyway and talking to him once he was sober, so his brother would also be aware of that.

Scenario B
I wouldn't leave my 17 yr old in charge of a 13 year old sibling, mine do have a 4 year age gap (they're 15 and 11 though) and the youngest does not respect the elder one enough to be left without trying to take advantage. But if I had to broach it, I'd just be asking - who stole my drink? and deal with it the same way as I would if they'd taken anything of mine.

Scenario C
Who's having the party? Is it mostly children her age with a few older people or is it the older people having the party with a few younger children there? Because the two are very different. I'd talk to the parents of the child having the party and go from there.

Scenario D
I don't drink much, but I'd just talk to them about it - in fact I don't even see why this is an issue, asking about alcohol doesn't mean you have to let them try it, surely?

Scenario E
I wouldn't have a party with alcohol and children, but both my DC have tried wine, they hated it.

Mowlem Thu 21-Jul-11 14:35:08

I think I would circumvent most of these issues by allowing my DDs to drink alcohol in moderation, but never allowing them to get drunk.

As a teenager, I was allowed to go to private parties and drink alcohol in moderation, but the rule was if we were ever sick in my parent's house, we were never allowed to go out to drinking parties again. I can honestly say, as a teen I was never sick through alcohol in my parents house, and to this day, I never would. But I remember drinking a very weak martini as a child in the 70s at parties or at home. I never sat on park benches drinking alcohol as I never saw the point.

I try to do the same with my children, at 7 my daughter has a weak white wine spritzer at the weekend, when we do. She will be allowed to go to parties and drink, so long as she does not get drunk. If she does, then she will not be allowed to go to these parties again.

It worked for me, and I hope it is a philosophy that will serve my children well too.

Solo Thu 21-Jul-11 16:15:29

My Ds has been allowed to have the odd sip of whatever I've been drinking too Mowlem but I rarely drink really and now at almost 13, Ds doesn't ask and Dd is 4.6 and doesn't like the taste of any of it so doesn't ask and refuses with a disgusted look anyway.
Ds did confess to having too many glasses of Champagne (without my knowledge) at my Dad's funeral celebration and said that he didn't like the way it made him feel <yesssss!!!> but he was only just 11 at the time and of course, things change as they get older.

Blu Thu 21-Jul-11 16:36:06

Scenario A

I would say that I was sorry he had been disturbed, but yes, his brother had been behaving badly, including drinking too much. That worries us because drinking too much is not healthy and could lead to you doing daft things. And it is ur job to look after our children, so we were cross. We hope that his brother understands this now and if either of them have any questions it is OK to ask.

Scenario B
Unlikely that I would leave a revising 13 yo with a 17 yo - however I would sit them down together and say 'OK, what happened here? Can we talk about it?' and if they owned up i would ask the 13 yo to make up the revision time, and bollock the 17 yo - in a reasoned / reasonable way about lack of responsibility. I would let them know that it's OK to have a beer with food if we are present, and if the older one wanted to try a small portion of spirits to ASK and not sneak about like a loser.

Scenario C
This is too terrifying to contemplate...deep breath - if the parents would be present i would let her go and tell her I trust her to not let us down by having the parents complain about her behaviour. if the parents were not present i would simply say 'no, not this year - when you are older - and that's that'.

Scenario D
I do drink - so the answer I give as a nin-drinker would not be the same as a real non-drinker...so i have triued to think it out as if it were cigarettes - i am a non-smoker. I would be v factual, explain the reasons why I choose not to drink and how I came to that conclusion. Say everyone makes their own choices - you may not like the taste, but once you are old enough and it is legal, try it out at home, and then decide in your own mind how you will take care of your health and safety - what do YOU think are sensible drinking rules for yourself? Perhpas enjoy a glass but not get yourself insensible?

Scenario E
I would say 'alcohol is for grown ups because it isn't good for people who are still growing. When you are 12 or 13 of course you can try a little wine - but let's leave it for now, OK?'

overmydeadbody Thu 21-Jul-11 16:42:50

Scenario A: Younger DS is 8, so old enough for an open and frank conversation about alcohol and the tructh to any questions. I would tell his that yes, older DS had been drinking, but unfortunately drank a bit too much and that is an accident that almost everyone makes at some stage when they start drinking. I would talk to both DSs about knowing how to pase themselves and drink sensibly, and talk about waiting until they are adults to drink and beinbg sensible.

Scenario b: As if I would leave two children that age alone for a weekend. But, for the sake of this: I would get them both together and have an open conversation about it, and because I had already brought my children up in an atmosphere where they felt they could be open and honest with me I would get an honest answer from them about the missing alcohol.

Scenario c: Well, to be honest, if I didn't want her going somewhere I would say no. My word is finaly. Simple. But, if I didn't want to say no then I would talk to her about my expectations of her behaviour, let her know I trusted her and hoped she would be sensible, and remind her of all the horrible consequences of getting drunk or even trying alcohol at such a young age, that there would be plenty of time for that when she was older. I would also speak to the parents hosting the sleepover and trust them to make sure there was no underage drinking.

Scenario D: Well, both my DP and I do drink, but if we didn't I would still speak openly and honestly about alcohol, equip them with information, answetr their questions, and let them try it if they want. I would let them know they could make their own decisions as adults and not feel they couldn't drink just because I didn't.

Scenario E: I would never be in this position, firstly because none of my friends would get very drunk at my parties and secondly because by the age of 11 I would think that my DCs would have tried a sip of my wine already. I let my DS try sips of drink, he is 8 and thinks they're disgusting and rarely trie anything, usually just sniffs it and turns his nose up.

TwinMummy30 Thu 21-Jul-11 16:56:07

In my case I can only speak of scenario D as we both don't drink and there is no alcohol in our house. I've had a very bad experience about my childhood and both parents are alcoholics so that's my main reason why I don't drink. When my kids are ready I'll tell them about that and gently suggest that I wouldn't be happy if they tried alcohol. Not everyone becomes an alcoholic after one glass but I wouldn't like if they had it in a first place. So for me is a no no no....

whoneedssleepanyway Thu 21-Jul-11 17:06:45

Scenario A
I would tell the truth that he had been drinking and he had drunk a bit more than he could handle and that when people aren’t used to drinking they can sometimes have to much and it can make them behave differently and this is why the age for drinking alcohol is set at 18. I would reassure him that DS was sorry about this and feels embarrassed and is going to be more careful in the future.

Scenario B
I would talk to them both separately, I would try not to be confrontational but would just ask whether they know anything about the beers and spiritis that seem to have been drunk. I am hoping that I will have a relatinoship with my daughters where they feel then can tell me things and don't need to go behind my back.

Scenario C
I would discuss it with her and explain I feel a bit uncomfortable about there being older boys there, I would want to check that the parents were going to be there too. I would suggest a compromise that she didn’t stay they night and that I picked her up from the party later on in the evening.

Scenario D
I would have an open conversation with them about it, ask them what they want to know about it and answer their questions. I would explain that alcohol can take away your inhibitions and impair your judgement (this is why for example you can’t drive a car if you drink) and which means you can do things that you might not normally do and that is why the legal age for drinking is 18 and that most people do try drinking younger than that but when you aren't used to it you can sometimes get into a bit of a mess. I would want to stress to them that if this did ever happen to them or their friends they could always call us at any time, I wouldn't be endorsing this but would want them to know that we would always be there if they got into any trouble.

Scenario E
I would let a DD have a sip of wine, I can’t see that there is any harm in that and I think making it something forbidden would be worse. I would draw the line at a sip though I wouldn't be letting her have a glass of her own or anything at that age.

FourThousandHoles Thu 21-Jul-11 17:07:16

I agree with all of Custardo's answers

Will you count that as my entry?

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