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teaanagers and alcohol - what do you do?

(17 Posts)
skill Wed 21-Feb-07 13:46:20

Apologies if this has been discussed to death, but I have a 14yo, and live in the happily drink-sodden culture of Southern Ireland. He's had a sip of wine now and then, and has tasted champagne at a wedding, but otherwise nothing. He's asked a lot about alcohol, different sorts, and knows that spirits are strong, beer is less so and so on.

But you know, he lives in the world, and I was hoping to learn from some of your experiences.

What, if anything, did you do to educate your teenager about alcohol? At what age did you buy them a beer? Or what? What about when they're going away on a school trip?


stleger Wed 21-Feb-07 14:37:56

Are you dreading Junior Cert results night? I am.

TeeCee Wed 21-Feb-07 14:42:41

I have no idea but I think if it's not something that is forbidden you have more chance of having some sort of small amount of control over his drinking? ie at some stage when he is 16 letting him have friends over and with other parents permission you buy the beer so that it's controlled????
It's hard at 14 though. At the end of the day he's very, very likey to go out and get as drunk as a skink with his mates, he will throw up and feel dreadful at least once in his teen years. The thing is you justy need to let him know the dangers and try and encourage him to be as responsible as you can. Sorry, I really can't advise.

skill Wed 21-Feb-07 14:53:43

Oh god yeah - junior cert! In town, and everything. No, I don't want to think about that one yet, he's still only in second year.

And yes, Teecee, that makes sense. I know if it's forbidden it will just be hidden. But at the other end of the scale there are parents chummily buying their 16yos pints of beer, and since my eldest is not there yet, I can't imagine myself doing that.

And i suppose I wonder if in not being able to imagine that, am I like a first time mother saying "No soothers, no disposable nappies, I'll breastfeed til they're twelve and feed them only organich hand-knit yoghurts etc.."

I mean, what's the norm? What should I expect?

QueenEagle Wed 21-Feb-07 15:07:58

dd is 15, ds1 13, ds2 11 and they have all had wine with meals for a few years now. Or special occasion. I don't allow them it at any other time.

They know the dangers but I daresay they don't properly understand them yet. We have some boundaries in place surrounding alcohol but are not uptight about it. I will definitely be buying them their first pint on their 18th!

chenin Wed 21-Feb-07 16:56:12

Golly me... if you teens get to 18 before they have a proper drink, I think that will be unusual in this day and age!

I think they have to be allowed to experiment gradually. My DD1 is 18 and has had the odd drink from about age 15. I have allowed her to take one Bacardi Breezer to a party at that age and age 16, if it was that sort of party. I just didn't want her going beserk and getting bladdered at every opportunity if it seemed forbidden.

Yes, she has had too much to drink and yes, she has been sick and I think she has learnt from it.

My DD2 aged 15 doesn't seem too bothered. On holiday she has had a malibu and coke.... just the one. She mixes with a lot of her 18yo sis's friends and doesn't want to feel like the little sister.

I really think you have to be easy going with it otherwise it just gets so much more attractive to them

KTeePee Wed 21-Feb-07 17:08:17

Skill, I am a long way before my kids get to this stage but grew up in Ireland so know exactly what you are worried about...
I am planning to let my kids start having a beer or glass of wine at home from when they are 15/16 - would rather they got used to it in our company than drinking flagons of cider in the park!

skill Wed 21-Feb-07 17:16:11

So it's looking like 15-ish, 16 is normal enough for something not strong then?

jaysus - it's all happening too soon!!

mosschops30 Wed 21-Feb-07 17:17:10

wow skill am amazed your 14yo has got to 14 with only a sip of champagne and some wine, thats good going.

I would let him live and learn everyone needs to go to the park, drink litres of cider and then feel like death for days whilst holding on to the toilet. Its how we learn how shit drink really is

skill Thu 22-Feb-07 10:17:19

OK - thanks. I guess it's just a matter of going with it a little, from next year or so on.

the ironic thing is, I remember buying my nephew a pint of G when he was towering over me at some family occasion, and being reminded by his dad that he was only 16. I guess when the lad gets to that age, it might seem more natural

motheroftwoboys Thu 22-Feb-07 12:28:19

My DS1 is 16 and he and his mates are certainly allowed a drink when round at ours or at parties. Up to now we have had very few of them ever drinking too much. I don't have a problem with it as long as it is open. My DH is a recovering alcoholic so our family is well aware of the dangers of alcohol abuse. Also, a lot of people don't know that a 16 year old can be served wine or beer with a meal when with adults. In our experience, the teens whose parents are very strict about alcohol are the teens who buy it and drink it behind their backs.

Chattyhan Thu 22-Feb-07 12:38:47

I grew up in a pub and so had very early contact with alcohol. As i understand it a child of 5 and over can drink wine or beer with a meal in a restaurant as long as it is purchased by someone over 18 and 16 year olds can purchase their own wine or beer with a meal. I was allowed a small glass of wine with sunday lunch from about 10 which made me feel very grown up but i didn't really like it!

From 14 i was helping myself to alcohol at the pub behind my parents back and got into some real states fortunately always surrounded by friends and adults who took care of me.

I think my parents were quite oblivious to my drinking but i learnt a hard lesson very quickly and at 16 was respecting alcohol drinking with meals and not to get drunk.

At 18 my friends at uni said i was boring as i never got drunk and would often prefer a soft drink.

I think to learn the lessons of alcohol early meant when i could legally abuse it i didn't want to!

Sorry for the long post!

RustyBear Thu 22-Feb-07 12:41:27

At DD's party last weekend (her 17th, so most of her friends were 16 or 17) they had Foster's, light beer, wine & Smirnoff ice. The only one who got totally bladdered & threw up was the one from a strict family who wasn't normally allowed to drink. The rest were very responsible, not too noisy & kept my really strict rule about not smoking in the house)

Freckle Thu 22-Feb-07 13:22:49

DS1 is just 13 and we have started allowing him a little amount of wine when we have some. Sometimes I'll dilute it, other times he'll have it straight. He doesn't actually seem that keen to drink it. He seems more interested in being given it as a sign of maturity.

I realised I needed to talk to him one day when, the morning after he'd been allowed a small glass of dessert wine which he hadn't drunk, I came downstairs to find him with a bowl of cereal and his glass of wine!

Milliways Thu 22-Feb-07 21:21:43

My DD is 16 & refuses all our offers to let her try anything alcoholic! "You trying to get me drunk?" is her reply!.

She was upset when friends bought alcopops to her sleepover.

She does know that we are more than prepared to let her try anything (?) at home so she can experience effects etc. We go to France every year & stock up on wine, but she has only ever wanted to have a little very dilute sangria.

Part of me thinks the Orthodontist is responsible. He put the fear of permanent manky teeth in her if she drank anything sticky/fizzy/coloured when wired up. She now lives on water without braces

DH & Me though, live on wine!

mumeeee Sat 24-Feb-07 00:38:45

Chattyhan a child of 5 is not allowed to have wine or beer bought for them to drink with a meal. The rule is that a 16 year old can have a glass of wine or beer with a meal at a resturant but they have to be with an adult and are not allowed to buy it themselves.
I have 3 girls aged 15,17 and 19 and they have all been allowed a tast of wine and beer since the age of about 10. The 15 and 17 year old do not like alcohol as a general rule although the 17 year old did have a bucks fixx at the family Christmas party. She actually still prefers to drink coke.
The 19 year old will go out with her friends for a drink but she is not a big drinker and knows how to be sensible about her drinking.

Tortington Sat 24-Feb-07 00:45:38

much depends on culture/friends and environment.

i controlled a situation that could have got out of control with a blanket @no@ policy.

on an estate. son was 15 years old. already got stoned. was out with friends - i had to consider this. where was he? who was he with? what was he doing? how can i ensure his safety?

we came to a comprimise. no drugs and i would buy him some drink. take him to the place he was going to drink it and pick him up - once every few weeks - not every week.

this lasted a short amount of time relativley - thank god he met a girl who doesn't like drink, doesn;t do drugs. likes going to gigs and they have that thing to beat everything - sex- so i think i got off lightly.

i think i have worse things to come with my daughter. she is 13 and is generally nice and sensible. not a whiff of anything illigal or immoral. and i am generally v. proud of her. however as they get older you lose more control - if she starts getting shitfaced at 18 theres only so much i can do! bizarrely.

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