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To ask your experiences of alcohol as a child/teen

49 replies

abeanbaked · 19/03/2021 17:04

Long story short but my father is an alcoholic, my mum is not alcohol dependent but does drink and could possibly be accused of 'taking it too far' when she does. In fact, most of my immediate family take it too far. For example parties cannot end and everyone goes home happy, there's always people way too pissed, arguing etc.

I would say I have a good relationship with alcohol, I don't drink in the house often and either does DP but we do enjoy going out for a drink etc.

As a child/teen I was always told that alcohol was completely forbidden, wasn't allowed it and it was for adults only. So I was rebellious and drank in the street, got out of my face in fields, that sort of thing. My DP on the other hand, his family are all fine with alcohol (no tears or huge bust ups) and he was allowed (at 14/15) to have some beers in the house with friends, that sort of thing. He didn't go out and drink straight glens vodka in the street anyway. My MIL says now that in hindsight she shouldn't have allowed him to drink as he was too young but I think she showed him how to have a normal relationship with alcohol, the complete opposite to myself.

Thoughts? Do you allow your teens to drink?

OP posts:
TomorrowIsAnotherDae · 19/03/2021 19:56

Also remember that foster parents seemed to accept that cinzano (?) was fine for a 14yr old to drink at a family party Hmm

TomorrowIsAnotherDae · 19/03/2021 19:57

We’re talking 1970’s...

TaraR2020 · 19/03/2021 20:02

I was allowed a small glass of wine with dinner during my teens and was always permitted to try my parents drink.

There was a definite binge drinking culture during my teens in the noughties, we caught the tail end of the 90s ladette culture I think. I did my fair share of getting drunk with friends from about 17 (typically alcohols!) but none of us were particularly rebellious and even at raucous house parties, I look back now and think we were pretty tame.

As we moved away from our student days our lifestyles changed and I think we all have a healthy relationship with alcohol now.

With children I'll take a similar attitude to my parents but I do think you need to take into account their individual personalities and peer groups.

TaraR2020 · 19/03/2021 20:04

*typically alcopops!!

huggzy · 19/03/2021 20:04

I was allowed to drink as a teen. I think maybe my Mum thought that a big bottle of lambrini between a handful of teenagers was fairly harmless but she was wrong. We spent most Friday nights drunk and hanging around in town.

I have a 12 year old and can't imagine giving him alcohol in a couple of years! I can't believe my Mum allowed it.

For what it's worth I don't drink much now. Maybe 5-6 drinks on a night out every few months.

Umbivalent · 19/03/2021 20:05

Kids these days seem to be drinking less. I think the culture has changed, especially with camera phones and social media.

Bambam2019 · 19/03/2021 20:24

My parents bought me alcohol to take to house parties from the age of 16. I guess they figured they would rather know what I was drinking rather than get some illegally. We are talking maybe a 4 pack of WKD...! My friends and I also went into town with fake ID (well the ID was real, just not ours). This was 12 years ago, I am aware they are pretty strict now.
In my late teens early 20s I defo took it a bit too far most weekends, but all of my friends did. Going out on a Friday and coming home Sunday quite often. I’m in late 20s now and haven’t had a drink for ages due to lockdown, getting pregnant and having a baby. I can’t see me going out on huge benders again but will probably go out occasionally and get pretty merry.
In the future I will probably have a similar attitude towards my children drinking, as I received growing up.

abeanbaked · 19/03/2021 21:02

Interesting to hear how other peoples experiences may or may not have shaped their relationship with booze now!

I just thought my parents were massive hypocrites and said that alcohol was bad etc etc but every family party or bbq ended in an absolute rammy, most of my family are pretty nasty with drink!

OP posts:
BuggeringBugger · 19/03/2021 22:08

My mum is an alcoholic, my biological dad has addiction problems, my older sister takes drinking too far and my brother smokes way too much cannabis, so I have stayed away. I've been drunk maybe 3 times, I don't like the feeling and I haven't drank in over a year and don't care. I don't think I'm a miserable bugger but people often write me off as one of they drink a lot and I don't drink 😅

samedaydifferent · 20/03/2021 19:02

My dad is a functioning (for the most part) alcoholic. My mum is not far behind.
They would be extremely indignant if you said it straight up to them though.

It crept up over the years, started with too much partying, it was normalised to us. My DF would pick fights when drunk in nightclubs because "someone was challenging him" I,e. Looking at him funny Hmm they would tell the tales to us as funny anecdotes the morning after. It was normalised in our house. It was once I had more contact with the outside world and DPs family I realised it wasn't a "normal part of adulthood" as I thought.

I'm still partially in denial in terms of how bad they are.
I might have a glass or two of prosecco (drink of choice) once a week on a Saturday night. Sometimes not at all. In normal times I like an occasional drink/cocktail when I get to dress up and go out. But I don't like getting plastered or to the point of not remembering what I did. I can count on one hand the amount of times I've been properly drunk over the last 3-4 years or so. I don't mind having a drink or seeing people drink and enjoy themselves but when DP has the occasional night out and comes home I react internally because believe it or not his smell at those times reminds me of the way my dad smells...

We always make sure DCs are in bed if I ever want to have a glass of something unless we are at an event /party and I never want my DCs to see me drunk until they are into their teens. It might be because I don't want excessive drinking normalised to them, Or maybe because I don't want them to see me in the states I've seen my parents in over the years. Either way I'm trying to work in my approach to it all.

I wouldn't be upset if alcohol didn't exist TBH.

mbosnz · 20/03/2021 19:07

Can I suggest that if you have alcoholism in your family, it helps if you are very open with that fact with your kids, and make it clear that it means they are likely more vulnerable to abuse alcohol. I'd also be very wary about doing the whole 'oh, the kids should grow up with learning how to use it responsibly', because quite often your own perceptions of what is 'normal' alcohol use is distorted.

Thejoyfulstar · 20/03/2021 19:24

My parents were liberal with alcohol and tried to make it really normal and not taboo. I was always allowed a little wine and they had no problem with me drinking and a teen.

I however went off the rails and binge drank for about 20 years. I had a seriously unhealthy relationship with alcohol and always took it too far when I drank. I wasnt alcoholic but it did have a control over me. I (pretty much) havent drunk alcohol in 2 years and I dont miss it . Any time I have tried to have a little, I end up sick or having some kind of reaction. The thought of it turns my stomach now.

Matilda15 · 20/03/2021 20:03

From about 12/13 I was always allowed a small (thimbleful) of wine topped up with lemonade at Sunday lunch if family were over if I wanted one. More often than not I didn’t really. Once I got to be 14/15 my Mum would let me have a couple of Bacardi breezers or Similar at bbqs in the summer and generally let me try something if I wanted.

As a teen I could always take or leave it as it wasn’t a taboo. I’ve obviously been drunk but never black out and never often. I think because it was always around but my family were never drunk maybe tipsy at worst I ended up with a healthy relationship with alcohol. I’m in my 30s now and have a few glasses of wine at the weekend or a couple of cocktails or share a bottle with friends if I go out (when that was allowed!)

Tal45 · 20/03/2021 20:15

Almost everyone I knew at school started having parties and drinking at 15/16. Alcohol was completely off limits to me at home, neither of my parents drank at all, some of my friends parents had very relaxed attitudes though and so we would all often stop over at theirs.

I think parental attitude has very little to do with what teenagers do, teenagers are far more influenced by their friends. It very much depends on the individual and the friends they with. If all your friends are drinking to excess then chances are you will too.

To be honest I drank huge amounts as a teen and had the absolute time of my life, although I'd be horrified if a child of mine behaved like that! Now I barely drink and never go to the pub.

The only way in which I think parents may influence kids drinking is if they use alcohol as a way to cope with stress and life's difficulties, children may then see it as a coping mechanism themselves as an adult.

samedaydifferent · 20/03/2021 20:15

I'm sorry what do you mean "they are more vulnerable to abuse alcohol" @mbosnz ?

I'm planning to be fairly open with them in years to come in terms of their DGPs on my side but I also don't want to be too OTT with it. They are only 5 and 3 ATM so way too young to have the conversations yet. I'm trying to figure out the best ways to approach the whole thing to be honest.

missbridgerton · 20/03/2021 20:21

My Dad has always been a heavy drinker, Mum wasn't but they were quite relaxed around alcohol. I got drunk a few times at parties in my teens but Mum never really kicked off at me for it. But her 2 brothers and her Dad were all alcoholics and by the time I was in my early 20s having lost my granddad and one uncle to drink and almost losing the other uncle, I had no interest in drink at all and still don't. We usually end up giving away the drink we buy for Christmas every year.

I've always let my DC drink if they've asked to ie wine, bucks fizz at christmas and they had drink to take to parties etc but they're not really drinkers at all as adults - thankfully.

It's a poison. And a dangerous one.

1FootInTheRave · 20/03/2021 20:22

I regularly got ratarsed as a teen. Cider, thunderbird or 20/20 was the usual poison. Plus numerous illicit substances.

I am fairly easy with my elder 2. Allowed 1 or 2 from 14ish at Christmas or on holiday etc. Both have no issues now.

mbosnz · 20/03/2021 20:24

I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be rude! I just (and I think there is research to support this) think that if there is alcoholism in the family line, you are more likely to be predisposed to abuse alcohol - well, that's certainly what I've observed in my family, myself very much included.

I think there's been some discussion that it can be genetic, but I think it can also be that there can be some fairly abnormal ideas as to what is normal consumption - because it's normalised and normalising, for those who want to justify how they drink as normal.

A bit garbled.

We have severe alcoholism on both sides of my family, for a number of generations. With my kids, I've been very upfront about that - and with my nieces and nephews. Obviously not at 5 and 3! But when they got older, and they're smart, observant kids. Not being scary about it, just matter of fact, saying this is the family background, be aware. (Leaving a lot of detail out. . .)

samedaydifferent · 20/03/2021 20:33

Ok thanks for clarifying @mbosnz . I didn't think it would be genetic as such but I might be wrong.
I can understand how you could me more at risk of going down that line if you saw it a lot growing up (as I did with my DPs) and it was normalised and engrained but I didn't think my DCs would be at risk considering we don't really drink much if at all and are hoping to be quite open and honest about it and they are also LC with my DPs. I might be completely off thought.

Off to do more reading...

mbosnz · 20/03/2021 20:35

Nah, yours sounds a very different situation to ours.

I do struggle with alcohol, and I'm open with the girls as to this, while doing my best to limit the impact on them. And you're thinking about it - which I genuinely think is the main thing, rather than seeking to hide the steaming pile of turd in the middle of the room, lol.

museumum · 20/03/2021 20:37

I drank quite a bit as an underage teen but it had nothing to do with my parents. I was top of the class by quite a way at school so did lots of “rebellious” things in order not to be branded a swot. Not the wisest plan but I was a kid and it got me through my relatively rough school reasonably happily and still with the grades for a top uni.

hiredandsqueak · 20/03/2021 20:44

My df was a binge drinker, my dm didn't drink at all, there was no alcohol in the house. I was going to pubs and clubs from fifteen and getting drunk. Dm was dying, I think df saw it as something I needed to do to cope with what was happening tbh. She died when I was seventeen. I last got drunk on the night before my eighteenth birthday I haven't drunk any alcohol at all from soon after that tbh it reminds of that really awful time and I don't like to go back there.

IFoundMyselfInThisBar · 20/03/2021 20:56

I was a teen in the 90s and it was ‘normal’ to drink with friends over the park from about age 14/15. My parents knew and just let it happen. They didn’t really drink much themselves. I went years without drinking much when our kids were young but now have a drink a couple of times a week.

My son is 17 and we let him drink in the house from about 15. He also drinks at parties with friends (pre lockdown) but not in parks. We either pick him up or he gets an Uber home unless he’s walking home with lots of friends and he’s not too drunk. He’s very responsible and says that the friends that aren’t responsible have parents that don’t ‘allow’ them to drink. They lie about where they are and stay at someone else’s house so their parents don’t find out.

AliceMcK · 20/03/2021 21:00

For me, big drinking family, was allowed alcohol from a young age but still did the drinking in the streets/fields thing. I was out drinking and clubbing at 14. I definitely have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, although I do have a better control over it these days, mainly because I never go out, DH & I both drink at home but have rules, we don’t drink in front of the DCs as a rule and only one night a week.

DHs parents not drinkers, his dad barely touches the stuff, maybe a beer at football or glass of wine in a restaurant. DH has had his issues with it. His siblings are bigger drinkers than him, but I don’t think they have a problem with it.

I think it’s more to do with individuals than upbringing.

I have 3 DDs, I want them to have a healthy relationship with alcohol. I’d rather they drunk at home and I taught them about their limits. I know I was very very lucky growing up, I had older brothers and cousins watching my back when I did stupid things. The same with the lads I hung around with. The state my friends and I got into we could have easily been taken advantage of, we were lucky.

I’d rather they weren’t interested in it but if they are I don’t want them hiding it from me.

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