Booze at Kid's Birthday Parties

Mrs. - posted on 05/30/2011 ( 83 moms have responded )

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My fiance's family is big on booze at family events, especially his mother's side. On both sides of his family, he has a handful of functional alcoholics...and a few that really need treatment. One uncle has recently gotten out of rehab as well.

At my toddler's first b-day party, I didn't even think about booze being a part of it. It was on a Sunday, at noon and there was a ton of little kids there, not to mention two newborns. Still, one of my fiance's aunts got all pissed because we didn't have any booze for her to drink. She went through our cabinets until she found some vodka we had in the back.

Now my fiance's cousin is having a first birthday party for her baby. Her father is the one who just got out of rehab and she has made the move of saying this is a "dry" party. She is now getting a lot of flack for it and people are not coming because of it.

So, I'm wondering, what is your view on booze at small children's birthdays? Am I just a bit different because I've always thought it was not the place for it? Is it common where you live to booze it up at a one year old's party?

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Isobel - posted on 05/31/2011

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I had beer and wine at my daughter's first party...but it was an adult party as I didn't know any other kids at that point.

If I had friends or family that I feared would get drunk, I would've had a dry party.

Becky - posted on 05/31/2011

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So, I may have come on a little strong and judgemental last night... didn't mean to! I can see where if it is mostly an adult gathering, people might want a glass of wine or a beer or 2. And I have no problem with that. Honestly, some of the dads might have had a beer at our kids' b-day parties, I really don't remember, because it just wasn't the focus. We didn't set it out as a drink option, but Jeff might've grabbed one and offered one to my BIL or something. And that's fine. But when someone is going to the point of getting pissed that there is no alcohol and going through your cupboards looking for some, that is a problem, kid's party or not!
We don't usually supply the booze at parties we have anyway - even if they are adult parties. They are byob. It's expensive for us to supply it all, and, if we're supplying it, then we're responsible if someone drives drunk. Although none of our friends or family are that stupid anyways!

Lady Heather - posted on 05/31/2011

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I'm sure members of my functioning alcoholic family had booze at the kids' parties, but I didn't go to those ones. The cousins I'm close with and my siblings and I had mothers who wouldn't go for that. It's not common amongst my friends. Actually I don't think I've ever been to a boozy kids party. We supply alcohol at our Christmas parties that are adult-oriented, but I don't really understand why a kids party would need it. I kind of thought kids parties were for kids and the parents are there to supervise the kids. If it was a big family thing and some people wanted to bring their own bottle of wine or some beer I guess well...that's fine. I wouldn't want anyone getting wasted or anything. But hell no will I be buying it for people.

Bonnie - posted on 05/31/2011

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Definitely not the right time and place. It is a child's birthday. There really is no need for it. Although, I have no problems with a little wine.

[deleted account]

It is pretty common to have wine and sometimes beer (not liquor!) for adults at kids parties, but it is not missed if it is not served either. No one gets drunk, they just have a glass to sip on and relax. Those functions can be hectic & stressful, you know! lol

That said, I agree with Jenn--if you are around a recovering alcoholic, it is completely rude to drink in front of them, and if you intend to invite them to the party, keep it dry, no big deal. I also think it is incredibly rude to ask weather there will be alcohol and base your attendance on that one factor (unless you are a recovering addict and are going to stay away if there is alcohol).

[deleted account]

Both sides of our family are non-drinkers, so no, therehas never been booze at my son's birthday parties. However, we have been invited to backyard parties and there was an ice chest full of beer/coolers. I think it totally depends on the hosts and the regualr people who attend the parties. Some families enjoy beer/wine at every event, some do not. And yes, it's worth repeating "A social drink is fine, getting shitfaced is not."

[deleted account]

Quoting Mary "Nobody wants to see great-Aunt Sally doing a face plant in the cake."
Well speak for yourself1 I'd love to see Aunt Sally make a fool out of herself :-) Please post a video to YouTube!

Krista - posted on 05/31/2011

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For starters, anybody who would not attend a baby's birthday party because it's a dry event...well, they've got a SERIOUS problem.

As far as our son goes, he's an August baby, so for his first birthday we had a family BBQ. And a couple of people had a cold beer with their burger. It was no biggie. But yeah, if anybody had gotten drunk, I would have NOT been impressed.

And if there were any alcoholics on the invite list, I'd make it a dry event too. Why take the risk?

Rebecca - posted on 05/31/2011

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Depends on the party, my daughters first was mostly an adult affair (she had one other child around her age), so we did have alcohol like champers, beer and the such (although we did ask BYO as we couldn't afford it) but no one got intoxicated, seems a bit wrong to do that at a one year old party

Jenn - posted on 05/31/2011

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No, it is not common for me or anyone I know to have booze at kids parties. And if there was an alcoholic around, I think it's totally rude and disrespectful to be drinking around them. My Mum's new husband is a recovering alcoholic and when we get together with them we don't drink alcohol - no big deal, it's not like alcohol is a necessity.

Lucy - posted on 05/31/2011

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I agree that children need to see adults enjoying alcohol responsibly, if you hide it away it becomes a taboo and something your child will never know how to deal with properly. But on the same hand you don't wanna be at a kid's party waving your knickers around your head singing ABBA songs at the top of your voice either. There is a time and a place for everything.

Mary - posted on 05/31/2011

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Yeah- I think if I had relatives who were raiding my cabinets in search of vodka, I probably would have intentionally had a dry party, and told anyone who felt they couldn't last a few hours without that it might be best if they stayed away. Nobody wants to see great-Aunt Sally doing a face plant in the cake.

Erin - posted on 05/31/2011

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I think it depends on what sort of function we're talking about. If my family got together to celebrate a child's birthday, we would probably have a few quiet drinks. But an actual children's party with friends and games and lolly bags? No. I agree with Kylie, and think it's a bit tacky.

Jakki - posted on 05/31/2011

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PS So many people I know don't seem to go out much when they have young children - so it seems like a good idea to use a kids party as a bit of a social gathering and fun for the parents.

Jakki - posted on 05/31/2011

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I think it was my son's 5th birthday when I got out some champagne for the parents after the party games had finished (calm down, only $10 per bottle) and I noticed how the party really picked up from then on. Everybody had a great time. It just felt like the right thing to do and I'd recommend it so long as there aren't any alcoholics around. And I'm only talking about a glass or two each.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 05/31/2011

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In a situation like you expressed, I would have a "dry party" also. Those that don't like it, can hit a bar instead.

But, without all the complications you mentioned Rebecca, I am fine with beer at a kids party. Usually it is close family, so it is like any other function to us.....July 4th, Memorial Day, Labor Day, have a party in celebration. Alcohol is not a concern with our family....no alcoholics here...so it is like "who's bringing the chips" who's bringing the beer". But obviously you guys need to think about that kind of stuff. Sorry to hear about that.

Tara - posted on 05/31/2011

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@Patricia,
I agree no kid should be subjected to the antics of an alcoholic, however there is a HUGE difference in serving or offering or consuming a couple of beers at a kids party as long as it is done responsibly. Kids don't need to nor should they see the family drunk carrying on like a circus clown, but kids can also see that most people can consume a moderate amount of alcohol and remain "normal and functional". Alcoholism is an awful disease, but not the norm. And subjecting kids to normal, responsible drinking isn't the same as subjecting them to a life time of living with an alcoholic.

Tara - posted on 05/31/2011

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I don't see a problem with it in moderation. If the party is a BBQ and it's hot, I don't see why no beer, if people like beer. Or wine if the party is a dinner time party. But I don't see the need to serve or offer anything alcoholic at a kids party. If there's beer or wine in the fridge and someone wants one, I don't see the big deal, but your family member sounds like a drunk, if she is willing to search through cupboards etc. to find herself a fix of liquor at noon on a sunday, then yes she has a problem.
I think it's totally up to the parents whether to make a party dry or not.
Then again, I've never had a problem with family getting drunk at kids parties. That must suck.

[deleted account]

Most people would drink later when the kids are sleeping, were i live.If its a party during the summer and its an outdoor BBQ then some would drink, drink responsibly.I don't agree with drinking and making a fool out of yourself in front of kids.

[deleted account]

If you drink responsibly and keep it out of reach of the children why not.WE do not drink at home.Thats us, my partner does not drink anyway.

Its all about being responsible.As adults i feel many can do this without it being a big deal.If you have family who may get a little crazy lol..leave the drinking until after the party and when kids are in bed.

Lucy - posted on 05/31/2011

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I have been to a birthday party where booze was offered, I was pregnant so declined it but my friend had a drink, for her it was an opportunity to socialise and let her hair down a little bit after having her baby 3 months previously. As mums we don't get out much :P Everyone at the party behaved impecably and we all had fun, booze or no booze. When I did a little party for my 3 year old I didn't provide booze because I am not a big drinker and I just didn't think of it, if someone had asked for a little something and I had it I would have gladly obliged. My own mother is an alcoholic and so I am very aware of how it feels to see your parent get obliterated at your birthday party and how horrid it feels and I would never do that to my children, I know how to drink responsibly and so do lots of people so I don't think I would ever have to state if a party was 'dry' or not. I know that my mum could turn up drunk or sober and there is nothing I can do about that but of her behaviour gets out of hand then I can ask her to leave, I am the adult now.

Patricia - posted on 05/31/2011

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i don't think any child function such as b'day christening and xmas anything for kids should have booze i spent 13 years with an alcoholic not fun kids should not bu subjected to this

Mary - posted on 05/31/2011

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Well, we had beer and wine at both my child's first and second birthday parties. They were small affairs, attended by just family, a few close friends, and their kids. Now, these were both afternoon affairs (scheduled around her naptimes) where we had beer and wine. I think about half the adults had maybe two drinks each throughout the course of the afternoon. No one was even remotely intoxicated, and quite frankly, I would have been pissed if anyone had been. (Well, that, and it would've required a run to the liquor store, since we didn't have that much on hand to begin with!). There was never any consideration of serving any type of hard liquor - it was a child's birthday party, so it was only about 3 hours long - people came, ate, we had the big cake spectacle where we all watched her make a huge mess, we had a piñata for the older kids, opened presents, and everyone left.

Sneaky - posted on 05/31/2011

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my oldest had a family bbq for her first birthday and we provided the beer. my youngest just had a combined birthday with her older sisters for her first and lots of pre-school and play group mums were there = no booze!!

Charlie - posted on 05/31/2011

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My first is born on his father’s birthday and on his first birthday his daddy turned thirty so we did have drinks there for the adults, everyone drank responsibly and no one got drunk.

My youngest son is coming up to the one year mark and I will be having a celebratory drink on the occasion, I think Alyssa summed it up for me.

"There's a big difference between getting shit faced and having a social drink at a gathering. I have "A" drink at my children’s parties and so do others. But I would guarantee if people got smashed at a kids party of mine they wouldn't be welcome back. "


I think in the case there is a recovering alcoholic in the mix then people should respect that they need a dry environment in order to stay on track.

Alyssa - posted on 05/31/2011

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My first child's 1st birthday party was like a massive celebration for me as well as my son because I felt like I had "passed" the tough year of baby's sleepless nights, vomit, feeding etc etc ....I definately needed a drink by that stage :))

Jodi - posted on 05/31/2011

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Oh, and I never gave OUT free booze at their 1st birthdays, justhad no problem with people bringing it along if they wished. They were outdoor BBQs, so it was the done thing to BYO.

Jodi - posted on 05/31/2011

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Meh. I don't care either way. I don't have an issue if someone decides to make it a dry party, I don't have an issue if they don't. I don't think it is right to give anyone flack for either option.

For us, that 1st birthday party was more an adult gathering to celebrate, so there was booze, but getting drunk and having a drink or two are two totally different things.

I wouldn't say booze is common at children's birthdays per se, but it depends on various things. 1st birthdays really aren't planned specifically with the child's enjoyment in mind, but rather, as a celebration that includes everyone, so I categorise that one differently. That's just me.

Alyssa - posted on 05/31/2011

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There's a big difference between getting shit faced and having a social drink at a gathering. I have "A" drink at my childrens parties and so do others. But I would guarantee if people got smashed at a kids party of mine they wouldn't be welcome back.

Mrs. - posted on 05/30/2011

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I agree Liz, many people in my fiance's family are indeed alcoholics and often jerks...I just wanted to know if this is an uncommon thing.

To me, nothing was sadder than watching my fiance's aunt, scratching through our cupboards for vodka while her niece is out opening her first birthday presents. Sad, sad woman.

Kylie - posted on 05/30/2011

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I think if your having a child's birthday celebration dinner with family or close friends then a bottle of wine or some beers with dinner is fine. But i think if its a kids party with a lot of children then no it is not the place for booze.
My husband took my daughter to a six year old's party and it started at 10 am and the parents and their friends were boozing it up big time. I think it classless. A kids birthday party should be about the kids.
I've been to many kids parties and no it is not common for the parents to be drinking.

Becky - posted on 05/30/2011

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No, I don't think a child's birthday party is the place for booze either. My husband's family like their booze too, and it makes me uncomfortable when we get together with his family because they are drinking to the point of getting drunk (dh doesn't) with all the kids there. That just makes me very uncomfortable and it's not something I think my young children need to see. I mean, sure they see dad having a beer with supper or a couple beers when friends are over, but they never see him getting drunk. I think they think I judge them because the last time they had a big get together, I kind of alluded to the fact that I don't like excessive drinking around kids. I also won't drink when I'm with them because I think 1 parent needs to be sober. But they live in Ontario so we don't see them often, so it's all good. But this isn't about me... sorry! :) Anyways, I guess I get that some people think a child's first birthday is more about the adults than the child because the child won't remember it anyways, so if it's an adult party, why not have booze? But I still think that parties where a lot of children are present are not the place for a lot of booze.
And no, I don't think I have ever been to a first birthday party, or any kid's birthday party, where there has been booze. I can see if you were doing a more adult bbq or dinner after the kid's party, maybe serving booze, but at the child's party, no.

[deleted account]

You're an alcoholic and a jerk if you give parents "flack" because they choose not to give out free booze while celebrating their child's birthday.

By all means, stay at home.

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