Parents letting their kid drink at home...smart or stupid?

Amanda - posted on 11/14/2010 ( 57 moms have responded )

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Well I'm 24, and have 4 children but they are all young! 7,4,almost 3, and almost 2, so this topic is irrelevant for me! Lol but I was just wondering what others thought of this topic! I was 16 when I tried alcohol for the first time. At my cousins house. It was a beer. And I didn't drink again until I was 19, and not pregnant! I have been pregnant a LOT lol. I've heard of friends and family letting their teenagers drink at home to keep their child from getting into accidents or going to jail. But what's the difference? Allowing your child to drink at home or out? Yes it's probably the smarter way to go, but why allow a minor to drink in the first place? I know that every kids eventually going to drink yes, but encourage it as long as its at home? I find it rather dumb! But would love to hear your input!!

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Krista - posted on 11/16/2010

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I also think it is foolish to go from an outright ban on alcohol to "Okay, you're 21, have at 'er!" overnight. Once they're teenagers, a glass of wine with a special dinner? Sure. A glass of beer on a hot day after helping do a bunch of yardwork? Why not?

[deleted account]

It is legal to serve your own child alcohol in your own home in my state, so I plan to teach my son to drink in our home rather than forcing him to go elsewhere to experiment until he gets it right.

I have a couple questions for those who are of the "once they are 21 and out on their own they can drink all they want" mentality. How, when and where are they going to learn their tolerance levels and how to drink responsibly? Do you feel they can figure it out on their own at their first college party? Or would you expect them to drink alone in their apartment until they know how alcohol affects them? I think it effects everyone differently, so it would be hard to just tell them what to expect, then make them go away from you to actually try it and find out.

Nikki - posted on 11/14/2010

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I am really torn about this issue. My parents were very against drinking so I did it behind their back, so I wonder if I had been allowed to drink at home whether I would have drank more responsibly. But at the same time I don't want my children to think that it's ok to drink. I have no idea what I will do!! Would love to hear some good arguments for and against however!

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[deleted account]

First up yes to purchase alcohol in the UK legally you have to be 18. But you can legally drink alcohol at home or a friends home from the age of 5 and you legally drink beer, wine and cider with a table meal in licensed premises at 16 and 17 as long as you have an adult over 18 with you to purchase it.

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/parents/your...

As for the OP I was always allowed alcohol at home and family homes, it was something that wasn't frowned upon and I have the most responsible attitude to drink of all my school friends, baring in mind my friends were not allowed even a sip until they hit 18 and wow they really went for it. They had the forbidden fruit to sample whereas I didn't, I knew exactly what was on offer and wasn't overly fussed by it. I at 26 have been drunk (embarrassingly so) 3 times in my entire life, when I drink I like to be merry but in control and not ridiculous.

I will allow my children (when they are over 12) to drink at home, but they will not get drunk at home, one glass here and there is more than enough. Only my children will drink in my home, none of their friends will be allowed, and my children will not be allowed to drink when their friends are round.

From my experience allowing children to drink in their home responsibly (one drink) does no harm to anyone, but is incredibly beneficial.

Jenn - posted on 11/16/2010

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Allowing a drink is one thing. Allowing them to get drunk is another. I agree with a drink at a special occasion or something like that, but not just because they want to party.

[deleted account]

I vote for stupid.

Of course, I don't drink, so there would be no way I would bring alcohol into the house for the kids. You'd better believe if I found out some other adult was serving my kids alcohol that I would be legally pursuing that as far as I could.

Carol - posted on 11/16/2010

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My husband uses smokeless tobacco and drinks. I'm not fine with either one, but i would rather him uses the smokeless tobacco over cigerretes anyday. Thoses make me sick to where i get a headache and start throwing up. Anyways, I already told my husband no as we have talked alot about our kids in there teenage years. Our kids wont drink at home untill they are over 21, unless they join the military as we both see that if oyu are in the military why cant you drink? but you can hold a rifle and kill people. Im more strick on the drinking issue as i dont want my kids to be 19-20 with a beer gut and health problems. My husband on the other hand thinks its fine as long as they drink in our home. I still say no. Once my kids are 21 and dont live with me that can go out and drink all they want, but until then the 'iron curtian' on any type of alchohal and tobacco is down and wont be lifted. Now if your not my kid i dont care. Im not your mother, if your parents think its fine for you to get smashed then go ahead drink till your heart stops or you get kidney stones and a beer gut. Since my husband does drink my son will get ahold of the beers thinking their soda. He has stoped that since he took a drink of an offered one, and yes he did get ahold o the tobacco a few times like in a movie theater thinking it was candy, and then spilling it on the floor, i found that funny as my son rubbed it into the carpet my husband didnt as he vacuumed it up. :) i told him to put his stuff up.

[deleted account]

I live in a state with drive-through daiquiri shops. The first time I was ever carded was on vacation in a different state. And I look young. There is a huge drinking culture here. That's why I feel it's important to teach how to drink responsibly. To me that includes NOT allowing a teenager to binge drink in your home, which is a very common thing to do here.

Nikkole - posted on 11/14/2010

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lol my son will be 3 soon and my husband was drinking a beer one day and my son kept bugging him and asking for a sip and wouldn't leave it alone! SO my husband said FINE take a drink well my son was happy went up took a drink and like 2 secs after he was smiling about getting a drink he started sticking his tongue out yelling and running around like a mad person saying MOMMY DRINK MOMMY DRINK!! I was laughing soo hard then when we got him another drink he said i dont like that stuff mommy :)

[deleted account]

I agree with Sharon.

And I think this one really depends on where you live and the drinking culture. Teens here CAN and DO drink. You're naive if you think differently. But that's here. My husband has cut back on his drinking (not that he was a big drinker tho) because he's really into his running and being healthy at the moment. Several of his friends have looked at him funny and commented on him not drinking, insinuating that there must be something wrong with him. My MIL and her partner have a drink every day. They brought wine to my baby shower. I was a bit annoyed because if I can't drink (as the person for whom the party is for), no one should be allowed too. But they didn't even have the concept that you couldn't have alcohol at an event/celebration.

So, working within my culture, I would consider letting my teenager drink, not to a stupor but a couple of drinks over the course of a night I think would be fine, every now and then.

Bonnie - posted on 11/14/2010

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I swear, I don't remember if I was PMSing that day or what, but I was ready to slug someone over the head lol.

Bonnie - posted on 11/14/2010

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Very true Loureen. My husband still has both sets of his grandparents living (one set where we live and the other in Italy) and I only have one grandmother left.

Charlie - posted on 11/14/2010

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Bonnie i was about to mention the Italians and their love for wine and how it acceptable to enjoy a sip of wine at a young age and do so with respect to the drink and look they are one of the longest living people on the planet !

Stifler's - posted on 11/14/2010

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I agree with Joy, there won't be any parties at our house that are piss ups because "Logan's mum is cool we can get wasted at his house". Their parents would have to agree that they can have a few drinks and no one would be getting drunk or doing stupid shit.

Sherri - posted on 11/14/2010

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I guess that is the difference I never went to parties that had alcohol and never was at someones home without parental supervision and honestly my boys won't be allowed either until I no longer have as much of a say probably close to the age 18-19 and graduated from HS and start college.

[deleted account]

I also wanted to add that I'm definitely against the idea of a parent buying alcohol specifically for their teenager. There won't be any "OH, let's party at Jacob's house! His Mom's cool...." Nope. But my kid, yeah, he'll probably have a sip or two of a beer before he's 16.

Bonnie - posted on 11/14/2010

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Honestly, chances are I am probably not going to have much of a say as far as my kids go. My husband is Italian and his side of the family loves to make wine. Whenever we get together for family lunches and dinners the wine is always the first thing on the table. When my older son was 2 years old at the time (he is 4 now), my husbands grandfather wanted to give my son wine. Needless to say, I totally freaked out and said no way in hell, I am not giving my 2 year old wine. It will work for a while, but chances are my boys will be sipping wine here and there before I know it.

Bonnie - posted on 11/14/2010

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Jennifer, i'm not saying that every child will follow in those footsteps. My parents use to smoke too and I have never touched a cigarette in my life, not even to just try it.

[deleted account]

I was allowed to have a small glass of wine (more like 2 sips) with dinner growing up and I think it took some of the mystery out of it for me. I didn't drink to excess for the first time until I was 21, on my 21st birthday to be exact. And even then, it was just enough to get tipsy and then all I wanted was Taco Bell. I don't know how I'll handle it with my son. He's only 3 right now, so I still have time to process and think about it. But honestly, a big part of me thinks that I'm more likely to allow him to taste or have a sip on special occasions once he reaches high school age (14, 15 ish). I'd rather that than to FORBID it in my home, LAY DOWN THE LAW....and then have him experiment somewhere else. I wouldn't ever allow him to get drunk while still a minor in my home, but I feel like what makes things like drinking so enticing for kids is the "forbidden fruit" aspect of it. Take that away and it's just not as appealing. IMO.



Edited to add: I would also never allow anyone else's teenager to drink any amount (even a sip) in my home. That is another mother's decision to make for her child.

[deleted account]

Bonnie...plenty of people's parents smoke and their children don't. My father-in-law smokes like a chimney and my husband doesn't.

Sharon - posted on 11/14/2010

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The "I want more, if I can drink here then I can drink there" is still part of the glutton mindset of where you grew up.

All I can say is that the places I've lived - they don't think that way. Its more like "why drink this swill here, when mum & dad are serving the good stuff at home?" There is no "cool" because we're drinking here in an alley. One thing doesn't lead to another because the girls KNOW more than two glasses will make them "ZONKO" and someone may take advantage of them.

[deleted account]

If my parents had allowed me to get drunk then fair enough that's not the way to go, but a small glass of wine on special occasions shows that it is fine in moderation. I was still taught the effects of alcohol too. I have an uncle who was an alcoholic and has had a liver transplant so I saw how alcohol can ruin people's lives.

Bonnie - posted on 11/14/2010

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Nikkole, more often than not children and teens do things they are not suppose to. I am proud to say I have never touched a cigarette, never did drugs. I never had a glass or bottle of alcohol until I was legal. But that's me.

Bonnie - posted on 11/14/2010

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Same thing with drugs, if children see their parents do it they see it as be an okay thing to do.

Bonnie - posted on 11/14/2010

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Jennifer, although I agree that is very true, I still think parents introducing alcohol to their children makes it look better in their eyes.

Nikkole - posted on 11/14/2010

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Yea i dont think it matters if you let them drink or not if there at a party there more than likely gonna drink! im sure a lot of us did things we weren't supposed to

[deleted account]

Bonnie I think regardless of whether they are allowed to drink at home or not, if they go to a party they are more likely to be coaxed into drinking due to peer pressure.

Bonnie - posted on 11/14/2010

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I don't like it. Kids do not need to be drinking alcohol at any age. Friends of ours gives his daughter beer here and there. I think it is ignorant. If they want a sip to taste it, fine, but even that I don't see a point in because they are just going to likely want more.
In a way I feel that by kids drinking, even if it's only at home, they could be going to a friend's party at 16 and thinking, "ah it's ok for me to be drinking at home, so why not here?" Then one thing leads to another.

Sherri - posted on 11/14/2010

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I vote STUPID



As a teen I was allowed I think 1 or 2 wine coolers ever. Honestly none of my friends knew how to get around the legal drinking age and honestly never did even though our parents all had stocked bars at home.



It is against the law to serve any minor under the age of 21 alcohol here in NH in your home or out in public and I plan on abiding to that law with all my kids and all of their friends as well.

[deleted account]

I vote smart IF it is LEGAL where you live. In my state, it is legal for parents or legal guardians over 21 to provide alcohol for their children in their home. It is ILLEGAL to provide alcohol for anyone else's child, so letting junior's friend have a few at your house would be stupid. Also, letting your kid drink himself into a stupor would be stupid--the point is to let them drink and learn to drink responsibly.

I feel like kids need to be taught how to drink responsibly. I do not think that knowledge comes naturally, and many, many kids die each year from binge drinking. Especially kids who were not allowed to drink until they got into college.

Nikkole - posted on 11/14/2010

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I personally think its better for a kid to drink at the parents house with a parent home than to go to a party and get wasted and try to drive home or do god knows what! My husbands mom bought wine coolers for him and his friends and made them spend the night and they didnt get drunk just drank a little and now my husband is 25 and has gotten drunk MAYBE 4 times and i my self didnt drink till i turned 21 but that was MY choice and ive been drunk 3 times and i drink on occasions when we have a BBQ or go out without the kids! But i will probably introduce my son to alcohol earlier because it will make him not want it as much i think and to not get drunk and to BE Smart about it!

Tah - posted on 11/14/2010

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stupid and if i find out you have bought alcohol at your house for my child and allowed them to drink do you think me knocking on your door is going to be me thanking you....HA!!!!....

Stifler's - posted on 11/14/2010

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It's the "binge drinking is our culture.. yeah sweet aye mate... ya pussy why aren't you drinkin tonight? yeah get on it" attitude that annoys me, among both sexes these days. Maybe they don't want to drink, get over it and stop pressuring them!

[deleted account]

Oh I know aye Jennifer! It wouldn't work here. It used to be 20 here in New Zealand but moved to 18 (just before I turned 20!), but we had been drinking for years before that happened. In bars and all. They keep threatening to move it back up to 20 but I don't think that will change anything. It's the attitude we have here that's the problem, not the age limit.

[deleted account]

Opps Jennifer- I agreed with your first post, not too sure about the second...just to clarify. You guys are so quick at posting!

[deleted account]

@Jennifer - I totally agree with you.

@Sara - I'm torn on that one. I know my MIL used to buy beer for my BILs when they were teenagers. I think her reasoning was, they'd do it anyways and at least if she bought them beer it was better than them getting and drinking vodka. I kinda see where she was coming from with that. And at least if they're doing it at home you can watch them and be there to help if anything happened. On the other hand, it is illegal and you run into difficulties when it involves other people's children. I dunno. I'll have to think about this. And luckily my daughter is only 1 so I have a long long long time to mull it over. :)

If I was forced to make a decision now though I think I would go with letting them. I'd rather I knew what my daughter was up too. I hid my drinking from my parents (though I didn't start drinking til I was 16) and thinking back I was bloody lucky on a number of occasions to not get alcohol poisoning. My husband used to drunk hiding in bushes at the park and then threw shopping trolleys in the harbour! I'd rather things were in the open.

Stifler's - posted on 11/14/2010

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Teaching responsible drinking at home may prevent them getting wasted and being a dickhead/getting sick when they have the freedom to go out.

[deleted account]

I wouldn't agree with parents buying alcohol for their children and friends - at the end of the day it's up to the parents of the other children what they decide. And letting children who are underage to get drunk is totally wrong.

Rosie - posted on 11/14/2010

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i agree with sara h. a glass of wine here and there is great, but to have a full on party where they can get trashed, no, not going to happen. that's not responsibility. i MIGHT consider having a party (where everyones parents are informed of course) where there would be maybe a 2-3 drink limit. not sure about that yet, maybe for graduation or something.

[deleted account]

I get what you ladies are saying and I agree with teaching how to drink responsibly and in moderation.

But here is a quote from the OP:

"I've heard of friends and family letting their teenagers drink at home to keep their child from getting into accidents or going to jail."

And that's common here too. Parents will BUY beer and hard liquor for their kids and their kids' friends. The thought is that kids will binge and party anyway, might as well be under adult supervision. That is teaching irresponsible behavior IMO. Sure the kid isn't going to drive home drunk because he's already home. But what has that child learned? And what type of behavior will that child partake in once he's (she's) moved out of the house and can legally get his own alcohol?

Again to clarify, I see nothing wrong with allowing mature teens to enjoy a glass of wine. But that is not what the OP is talking about (at least that's not how I interpretted it).

[deleted account]

Anika I'm actually from the UK where the legal drinking age is 18. I definately think that if more children were brought up the way I was the rates of binge and underage drinking which causes anti-social behaviour would lower significantly.

[deleted account]

In New Zealand its legal for a 16 year old to drink with their parent's supervision (I'm not sure if there's a limit to how much they drink though. Probably).

Personally, I think it's a good thing for a child to drink at home with their parents IF they are learning good drinking habits from their parents.

Look at the French. Drinking wine from a young age is normal for them. They learn to enjoy a drink and what food it goes with etc etc. I lived in Paris for 6 months and NEVER once saw a drunk person (other than homeless people) out on the street, even on a Friday or Saturday night. They drank responsibly.

Go to the UK, Australia or New Zealand though and we don't let our teenagers drink (legally) til 18 and we have a TERRIBLE drinking culture. Doesn't matter what mum and dad say about drinking responsibly because they'll overshadow it by getting absolutely blitzed. Go into any NZ town/city on a Friday/Saturday night (hell, any night really) and you'll see people out in the street absolutely tanked.

So I think we should be letting our youngest teenagers (say 13-14) have a glass every now and then with a meal to teach them 'everything in moderation' and we need to stop the binge drinking.

Sharon - posted on 11/14/2010

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I vote smart.

I didn't grow up quite like Jennifer M. but I did grow up with cultures that were like minded and my parents respected that if I dined with those friends, I would be served wines and allowed to sample other liqours served.

[deleted account]

Okay so coming back to explain my vote, I was assuming the OP was talking about beer and hard liquor and letting a teenager drink irresponsibly, but in their own home. The thought behind that is that they'll do it anyway and if they're home they'll be safe (as it won't drive drunk). I don't condone that. But I have NO problem allowing a teenager to drink a small glass of wine on occasion to learn how to drink responsibly.

Laura - posted on 11/14/2010

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This was just brought up in my area on the news. In South Dakota it is legal for a child to drink with their parents. My views are that if a child has proven themselves responsible there is no reason they shouldn't be able to have a glass of wine, or a beer at a holiday or special event like a wedding. Granted I wouldn't be letting my 10 yr old do it but maybe 16 or older depending on the maturity of the kid. I think it's important to let them know that drinking with me is legal drinking with your friends is not. And that you don't need to get drunk when you drink. It's another one of those things that I think should be left up to the parents.

Nikki - posted on 11/14/2010

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Also the research which suggest early drinking in teenagers causes damage to brain development really concerns me, so I sort of swing towards not letting them drink, but how do you stop them drinking behind your back without being an overly controlling parent?

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