My feed
Premium

Please
or
to access all these features

AIBU?

Is letting your teenager try alcohol sensible or irresponsible?

94 replies

Clue1ess · 09/09/2022 21:59

I have two young teenagers and at the moment, I don’t think they are interested in alcohol yet. But, I’m undecided what my approach would be if/when they do show an interest.

I know some people let their young teenagers drink small amounts at home occasionally. Their argument being that it’s better at home than somewhere unsafe and it becomes ‘less’ of a forbidden fruit.

However, could this back fire? what age did you let your kids drink?

iabu: Yes to letting teenagers drink
ianbu: No, wait until they are an adult

OP posts:
Report

Am I being unreasonable?

239 votes. Final results.

POLL
You are being unreasonable
82%
You are NOT being unreasonable
18%
TokidokiBarbie · 09/09/2022 22:02

Well, it seems to work in France. But then they don't have the binge drinking culture we have.

Report
HaudYerWheeshtYaWeeBellend · 09/09/2022 22:03

I don’t thinks it’s either of BU or NBU, it solely depends on the teen.

DC1 (16) has drank alcohol (school
leavers, prom etc) he asked and we didn’t see any reason not too.

Report
Namechangedincaseshesonhere · 09/09/2022 22:05

I was given small amounts of weak cider and watered down wine on holiday as a young teenager. To be honest it didn’t stop me getting absolutely wreaked with my friends in the park later. I don’t think it made a difference at all.

really on the fence with this one OP!

Report
Beezknees · 09/09/2022 22:05

My teen has had a few sips if I'm drinking something.

Report
Hesleepswiththefishes · 09/09/2022 22:06

From 15 a small amount of cider/wine/pimms on special occasions/celebrations so maybe 4 times a year and probably equivalent to one unit each time

once they realise it’s not that amazing and it’s to be enjoyed on an occasion I think it’s demystified

ds was gifted random malts and schnapps on his 18th from friends and he hadn’t broken into hem..waiting for an occasion 😆

Report
Beezknees · 09/09/2022 22:07

Honestly I think it depends on the personality of the teen rather than what you let them do at home. I didn't properly drink until I was 17. At school I was nerdy and didn't go to any parties, I was too scared to drink and my friends didn't drink either.

Report
Thepeopleversuswork · 09/09/2022 22:08

I grew up in a household which was very keen on the idea of introducing teenagers to alcohol in a "managed" way. Very middle class idea.

My dad used to bang on about how people on the continent did it and they all had a healthier relationship with alcohol. We would be offered small amounts of wine with dinner and celebration lunches from the age of about 12/13.

Honestly, I think it was a bit of a fig leaf and an excuse to allow him to drink more. (My dad was a high functioning alcoholic).

In theory I think its a nice idea to be able to introduce kids to it in a family setting and demystify it. In practice its almost always just an excuse for pisshead parents to normalise it. People who grow up feeling that its normal to have a drink with most meals will grow up to drink more.

I wouldn't do it with my own daughter. I won't be a real pearl-clutcher about it and I don't hide the fact that I drink moderately. But I'm not going to actively encourage it.

Report
WibbleBibble · 09/09/2022 22:08

I believe while France doesn't have the binge drinking problem, I have read before that they have more of a problem with alcoholics and that starting them young like this is part of the problem. I will try and find where I read this - it was a few years ago though

Report
Thepeopleversuswork · 09/09/2022 22:10

WibbleBibble · 09/09/2022 22:08

I believe while France doesn't have the binge drinking problem, I have read before that they have more of a problem with alcoholics and that starting them young like this is part of the problem. I will try and find where I read this - it was a few years ago though

I'd be really interested to see that. I had the theory that the French attitude to drinking was healthier rammed down my throat when I was younger and I always thought it was rubbish.

Report
MsTSwift · 09/09/2022 22:10

People speak like it’s an inoculation - you give some at home then they won’t get drunk with mates. Proved to be utter nonsense - those who are problem drinkers far more likely to have had parents who encouraged drinking (Dh found a study). We not hard line but do not endorse or “cool mom” it by giving young teens alcohol. They make their choices with their friends of course but I’m not encouraging it.

Report
Aconitum · 09/09/2022 22:11

If your teenagers don't start their drinking on the local rec like all other teenagers before them, are they really teenagers?

Report
FTM2022SS · 09/09/2022 22:12

My parents did this and it definitely helped my relationship with alcohol, to be honest once I turned 18 and the fun of trying to get in the club underage disappeared I hardly ever got really drunk! Now I do enjoy a drink, but for an occasion, maybe 2/3 times a year! So I definitely think it helped me realise that it wasn't a 'forbidden fruit' as such.

I would say I was allowed a WKD or similar from 14, allowed to taste most drinks (most were YUCK - so never felt the need to binge them!)

Even when I did get a hangover as a teenager (16-18) I was always dropped off at work for 8.30am-6.30pm with the rule of you never ring in sick with a hangover lol!

Report
Pumpkinsanddaisies · 09/09/2022 22:13

Tricky one. I was brought up in a brewery town where drinking was the norm and part of every day life. Not saying that is a good thing but it definitely set the tone for my own relationship with alcohol. Which isn't ideal.

I live rurally with my teenagers now and whilst one isn't really interested and doesn't like the taste and seems really not fussed about trying it, the younger one says things like I can't wait to be older to drink and it always asking for a sip of wine or whatever I'm drinking. I allow it but I know that she is very stubborn and determined so if I didn't she would probably sneak around so I hope that takes away the forbidden fruit element.

I personally do think that hangovers teach the best lessons lol.

Report
Riverlee · 09/09/2022 22:13

We did this from with eldest dc. Youngest dc not interested in alcohol at all.

Report
ChiefWiggumsBoy · 09/09/2022 22:14

My kids have always had tiny sips of whatever we were drinking if they asked. My boys are 10 and 13. I guess time will tell if it’s a problem or not.

Report
Hesleepswiththefishes · 09/09/2022 22:16

But true it may be based on personality

I drank a few ciders at uni but didn’t really drink anything until my last child was about 8

i have rarely been pissed, I don’t eat until I’m sick and I don’t drink until I’m sick..I drink alcohol for the flavour

Report
MsTSwift · 09/09/2022 22:17

You give your 10 year old alcohol?! Why?

Report
ChiefWiggumsBoy · 09/09/2022 22:19

Because I don’t think it’s a big deal for them to have a sip to taste it.

Report
Rosebel · 09/09/2022 22:22

My 16 year old drinks occasionally. Sometimes she asks to have a drink but it's quite rare.
14 year old refuses to touch it at all.
We have never said it's forbidden or that it's "cool". Seems to be working so far.

Report
Jo0070 · 09/09/2022 22:22

From my experience, it'll be their peers that influence them - not you. I didn't let either of my teens drink and they abuse alcohol. They're 18 and 20 now. Not all teens do, so I'm not sure what the magic is.

Report
Mariposista · 09/09/2022 22:26

I have been exposed to wine from age 4! My grandad would make me ribena and tell me it was wine, and I probably tried it for real at about 6/7. Thought it was disgusting then. I had a tiny wine glass which got bigger each birthday. As an older teen and now adult, I was/am pretty indifferent to alcohol.
My cousins are another matter. My aunt was hysterical - wouldn’t let them so much as sniff it, and when we all had a glass of champagne/prosecco on my grans birthday each year she would water theirs down with lemonade. Now they are in their twenties and they are really heavy drinkers and have been in trouble over going too far on a night out more than once.
I know which approach I will adopt with my kids.

Report
BrokenMatress · 09/09/2022 22:26

Namechangedincaseshesonhere · 09/09/2022 22:05

I was given small amounts of weak cider and watered down wine on holiday as a young teenager. To be honest it didn’t stop me getting absolutely wreaked with my friends in the park later. I don’t think it made a difference at all.

really on the fence with this one OP!

Worst thing that you can do is water down as they get an unreal view about how much they can drink

Report

Don’t want to miss threads like this?

Weekly

Sign up to our weekly round up and get all the best threads sent straight to your inbox!

Log in to update your newsletter preferences.

You've subscribed!

ChiefWiggumsBoy · 09/09/2022 22:26

It’s difficult to gauge. I can only go by my own personal experiences, which was that I binge-drank from the age of 16 to about 20 at any available opportunity. My parents turned a blind eye. I try and be completely honest and open about everything with my boys (within appropriate boundaries) and I want them to feel they can be the same with me. I couldn’t with my parents and as I say, they just turned a blind eye to bad behaviour.

Report
Daydreamer12345 · 09/09/2022 22:26

I knew before I’d even clicked into the thread, posts would be comparing to France.

when posts do this it’s always with comments like, ‘works in France’ but does it?! Where is the evidence to suggest this? No one ever provides any information about France’s alcoholism rates/teenage drinking habits etc

Report
Thejoyfulstar · 09/09/2022 22:27

No.
My parents tried the whole 'give her small amounts like the French do' and I became an absolute p*head. I never knew when to stop, would drink alone, sometimes would drink in the mornings after a night out, drank in fields, parks, alleyways and often to the point of blacking out. My hangovers were atrocious and I made some terrible decisions while under the influence. Neither of my parents were big drinkers but I had an awful relationship with alcohol.

I don't drink now at all sand see alcohol as a toxin or poison, something that offer absolutely no value to anyone's life apart from a brief sense of relaxation that lasts a very short period of time and can never be sustained. I'm not going to change my opinion on this and want my kids to know how I feel about it.

Some parents give their teenagers sweet tasting cocktails as a kind of 'intro' to drinking and that's awful too.

Too many excuses are made for alcohol and its terrible effects on individuals and society. My parents giving me tastes of alcohol didn't have the desired outcome of making sure it wasn't a taboo. It gave me the green light that I couldn't put a stop to in my life for a long time.

Report
Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.