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weaning our kids onto booze...why???

(17 Posts)
pushymum22 Wed 08-Jun-11 14:39:06

I have been to two BBQs in the last month where not only have the parents been present and allowed their 12 and 13 year old kids to drink, but they've BOUGHT the stuff for them...

Why are these parents doing this and putting immense pressure on me and other parents to follow?

Is this some misguided attempt to manage teenage drinking because if so it's short amazes me that these are the same parents that 11 years ago were crazy for breast feeding and weaning their kids onto only organic food....yet are happy to create a need and potential addiction in their not yet fully developed children due to the crazy peer pressure and ridiculous approach to alcohol we have in this country....

Do their kids rule so much that they afraid of the consequences if they dont provide alcohol for them and given the drink related issues we have now, what will this look like in 15 years time when these teenagers are reaching their 30s?

mogglemoo Wed 08-Jun-11 15:45:34

I'm not that far down the line with my childrearing (DDs aged 9 & 11), but I will probably, in the future, be one of these parents.

Throughout my daughters' upbringing they have always been able to taste whatever we are drinking (just a sip, mind), whether it be wine, G&T, whisky, champagne... the list goes on. Now at Xmas they will have champagne whilst celebrating with family. My view is that it is a normal part of our socialising and they should realise that. Seems to work well on the continent where there is much less of a 'binge' drinking culture; alcohol is to be savoured and enjoyed whilst socialising with friends/family.

When I was growing up my parents had the same idea, and both me and my sister did not go off the rails. I realise things are very different to when I was growing up, but children need to learn what alcohol does to their bodies, and why.

Both my DDs have seen both myself and my husband drunk (and the fact that it's not a pretty sight!), but witnessing this has led to discussion about social drinking, binge drinking and even when they do go out when they are older about people spiking their drinks. I, personally, think knowledge is power and know a lot of parents who disagree with my view.

I remember my Dad's old saying, 'Alcohol is a social tool, there to used and not abused'- pretty wise, I think.


PS- Just for the record, DD1 doesn't really like the taste of any alcohol (except port and Bailey's0, DD2 likes these too, but also has a nose for a good malt and champagne! grin

mogglemoo Wed 08-Jun-11 15:54:06


that should read:

'Alcohol is a social tool, there to be used and not abused.'

Tyr Wed 08-Jun-11 15:55:38

I lived in Spain where it was common for parents to let kids have a little wine, suitably watered. I believe other mediterranean countries do likewise.
It is actually a responsible approach as it teaches them a that a little alcohol is a normal part of life, as opposed to a forbidden fruit. I'm sure there are exceptions but everyone I know that was brought up that way was responsible about alcohol and regarded drunkenness as repugnant.
They had no reason to over-indulge as a reaction to parental prohibition which seems to be the downfall of so many here.

LieInsAreRarerThanTigers Wed 08-Jun-11 16:01:10

A really tricky subject. There is an argument for allowing sensible drinking and not making it some big prohibited thing which makes it all the more attractive.

Agree with moggle about the way it is handled on the continent.

However I feel there is probably a percentage of people with a pre-disposition to alcohol/substance dependency, and they could get a taste for it slightly younger than they otherwise would if this sort of thing goes on. I know I will struggle with what to do with my dc (now 11 and 6) particularly as their dad is an alcoholic. I think he was allowed to try it young, but didn't like it then! Started drinking heavily in his twenties, proper alcoholic not until his forties.

Tyr Wed 08-Jun-11 16:04:46

I think that those with a predisposition to abuse are likely to fall foul of it whatever you do.

amberleaf Wed 08-Jun-11 16:13:34

My parents did this with me.

I have always through this known my limits and have never got into a drunken state in public unlike some people i knew, who totally new to the delights of alcohol went nuts with it aged 18.

My eldest is 14, i do allow him a glass of wine on special occasions.

Like it or not teens will come across illicit drinking, whether they partake is not definite but id rather my teens first experience doesnt involve puking down the slide of the witches hat in the local someone else i knew!

webwiz Wed 08-Jun-11 16:29:18

I wouldn't feel that a 12 or 13 needs to drink alcohol at a family bbq, DS is 14 and if anyone offered him a drink I would say no. I think the "exposure to alcohol" thing is a bit of a myth, both my DD's were allowed alcohol at home as they got older and we tried not to make it something exciting or illicit and DD1(19) still went bonkers at parties from about 16 whereas DD2 has always been sensible around alcohol, even on her 18th birthday last week .

Its a bit sad though if you can't have fun at 12 without alcohol being involved.

mumeeee Thu 09-Jun-11 00:00:38

OUr DD's were allowed to have a taste of what we were drinking form about 10, That would be a small sip, They didn't have alcohol at familie parties until they were about 15, I certainly wouldn't buy alcohol for 12 or 13 year olds,

BluddyMoFo Thu 09-Jun-11 00:10:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BluddyMoFo Thu 09-Jun-11 00:11:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Schtum Thu 09-Jun-11 10:27:13

From about 12 or 13 my DC have had an inch of Champagne in the bottom of a glass on Christmas Day and New Year's Eve to join in the social ritual of toasting and celebrating with family and friends. Nothing else at any other time though. Neither of them enjoyed the taste when they were this age and I would find an abandoned glass with the Champagne barely touched but they wanted to be part of the moment.

Similarly, my youngest really doesn't like tea but I've noticed that if a family friend or my SIL pops in and I make a pot of tea and put some nice cake or biscuits out, she'll ask for a cup too. Again, I think it's about being included in something warm and sociable and wanting to not to be excluded from a social banding ritual.

With our eldest, we let her and her friends have one (weak) cocktail and a glass of wine each with her birthday celebration dinner at home from the age of sixteen and her friends' parents have done similar things.

We've let her take two alcopops with her to a teenage party since she was sixteen too, because I'd rather her drink them and know what she's had rather than taking swigs of other peoples stuff and not know how many units she's had.

She's now 17. If she and her boyfriend have supper at home with us at a weekend, he usually has a couple of small beers and she might have one or two small glasses of wine. They're great company and we can still be found sitting at the table long, talking and talking, long after we've finished eating.

My fifteen year old still doesn't like the taste of alcohol, doesn't go to teenage parties yet and is happier with a J2O or Appeltiser.

I guess that the reason that we have "weaned" our DD17 on to alcohol (and will offer the same sort of opportunities to our younger when or if she shows any interest) is that we are sociable people who enjoy nice wine and good food with friends and think that it's on of life's pleasures, really. For us, it's a normal, acceptable and enjoyable part of life and so we are happy to include our kids. Just as we cook and eat with our kids and promote to them the sociable enjoyment of good food.

OP I would also be taken aback and feel uncomfortable to see 12 and 13 year olds are being given alcohol in the circumstances you describe although that may make me seem hypocritical since I let mine have a splash of Champagne on Christmas Day and New Year's Eve. I shall have to live with though, that because I'm happy with my decision.

lazymumofteenagesons Thu 09-Jun-11 17:47:49

Mogglemoo I really disagree with the type of thinking that you quote from your Dad (although I'm not getting at him personally!). You/he say that alcohol is a social tool. Why? If you enjoy a drink and the taste thats fine. It should not be used as self-medication to make uncomfortable socila situations feel better. That is exactly how it begins to be abused. Self medication with drink or drugs is the beginning of the slippery slope.

Countryhousewife Thu 09-Jun-11 19:48:03

Our nearly 16 year old DD asked us to provide a bottle of WKD for her to take to a recent party and as she had been honest and asked instead of raiding our liquour cabinet in secret, we agreed and bought her one bottle. We still felt uneasy about it, but it is a difficult area. There would be drinks there anyway, provided by the other kids who all sneak it in I am told. It made her not feel like the odd one out by not bringing anything and she was up bright an early the next day, so obviously didn't have much anyway. There is alcohol at all these teen parties now and I would rather she drank some WKD instead of anything stronger. However she is now asking for us to provide alcohol for her 16th party (which apparently everyone does) which we feel uneasy about. If they sneak some in there is nothing we can do, but I think providing it as a free for all sends the wrong message. I have heard of parents providing one drink for each teenager and no more and if they bring extra it is out of your hands. Our near 14 year old is saying there is alcohol at her parties too to make it a 'social' evening, but she is also now asking for some at her party, to which we will say no. The peer pressure is huge and I actually think the kids are disappointed now if there is no alcohol on offer, which is quite disturbing at this age. They are going to get their hands on it somehow, but I think saying no to taking something to a party at nearly 16 only makes them more determined.

pushymum22 Tue 14-Jun-11 14:13:38

I think maybe many of you thought in my orginal blog I meant just letting 13 year olds taste alcohol...what I've seen is mums buying multiple bottles of cider and WKD specifically for their teenagers to consume together...they were stood round in a circle supping from cider bottles together in front of parents...makes me feel queasy....I agree a sip of champagne is fine...but this was binge drinking endorsed by the parents...i just wondered if this was a UK/national thing that parents did these days....

adamschic Tue 14-Jun-11 14:19:21

I've let DD have a small drink at family do's since about 13/14. Sometimes she has a couple of sips them I found it abandoned in favour of the lemonade. She is 17 now and will still just have a small drink now and again.

jshibbyr Tue 14-Jun-11 14:29:29

i don't really get the whole letting teens getting drunk early, but then it is often depending in the circles your in, i (i'm not yet a mum so don't have first hand experience but i am guardian to a few children) was allowed to drink at 13 at new years, but then my cousins are all older than me (similar to Bluddymofo) to be honest it is to do with your personal thoughts on it, so if you dont think your 13yo should be drinking, don't let them. there is no link to drinking early and then having issues that depends on your personality, as i said i was allowed to drink, i'm now 18 and i do on occasion go crazy with the booze, but then i was worse when i was underage. i think it's better for teens to drink with you to know what it's like and to see the social side of it, but then i do think they should know the problems, and how actually being drunk isn't that great. but you don't have to drink to join in, many people go to the pub then have a coke, what's wrong with that? i think also making teenagers aware of that as well, it's your choice as a mother.

another approach is let your teen drink to the point they feel awful, they won't wanna drink again, or have a close family member embarrass them while drunk, works a treat (ok a very controversial and unorthadox, but a more extreme approach), hope you can make sense of the situation smile

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