drinking as a family.

Amy - posted on 01/06/2011 ( 39 moms have responded )

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I had mentioned to someone that we had wine with dinner as a family growing up. I think I was about ten years old when I had my first watered down wine. We always had it on Saturdays with our meals and had our one glass. As soon as I said that the gal I was talking to went off in a rage about how it will lead to alcoholism, shows that parents approve of drinking, etc. Now, for others, I don't know. I am almost 30 and have been tipsy once or twice, but never drunk. So, I guess maybe I'm a rare one who didn't think it was a go ahead to get smashed all the time. We usually don't use wine for anything but marinating at this point in my house. But I was thinking about this the other day since I was watching cooking shows that always say what wine to drink with meal. Do you think it teaches them to be responsible around alcohol, or leads the way to heavy drinking?

Now, keep in mind, this is not the family getting together and drinking beer or alcohol until smashed, it is simply a wine with dinner.

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Johnny - posted on 01/06/2011

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This was the norm in my family. Starting when I was around 14 I was allowed to have a small amount of wine for special dinners and champagne for celebrations. When I was around 16, I was allowed to have a glass of wine with dinner if we were out for my birthday, graduation or something. I was never a big drinker. For my 16th birthday a friend gave me a case of beer. My mother found the entire thing under my bed unopened a year & a half later when she was cleaning out my room after I'd left for college. She just checked the best before date and brought it over on her next visit. I got drunk once in college and that was it.

Conversely, it was never allowed in my husband's family. His mother is virulently opposed to drinking alcohol and will make snarky little comments when anyone does as much as just having a glass of wine. Him and his brother both binge drank all the way through high school and college. His sister ended up in the hospital with alcohol poisoning on her 17th birthday. To this day, I find that my husband and his brother both sometimes do not know where to find the limit at a party. And they are in their 40's. His sister rarely drinks, because she is a diabetic, but still enjoys a very rare glass of wine on a special occasion.

So I tend to think, just from personal observation, not actual evidence, that an open easygoing approach to alcohol can foster an understanding of how to enjoy it properly. It is perhaps one of those things where actions speak louder than words. If young people can see adults, particularly their parents and relatives, enjoying alcohol in a mature, responsible fashion, then they are more likely to emulate that. If their parents are always getting drunk or are teetotalers for "moral/political" reasons, they may have a more skewed view of drinking that could lead to problems. Obviously there are many good reasons why people don't drink, such as health problems or simply not enjoying the taste or sensation. But when it's about "right and wrong" it can be a confusing and bewildering message for youth.

Laura - posted on 01/06/2011

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Excellent point, Amy. No, I do not think that drinking alcohol at a family meal will doom a child to become an alcoholic. The reaction youe described seems to be an over-reaction to your situation, plain and simple. What you described with your family seems like an excellent example of moderate, responsible alcohol consumption and use--something that one would hope your kids DO learn from! The fear and reaction of your friend reflects the concern over alcohol abuse and mis-use which is an entirely different set of behaviors. Abusive or addictive behaviors ARE a reason for concern, of course! But your one glass of wine with a meal is not; if anything it can teach about the importance of modest alcohol consumption as part of a healthy diet when your kids are legally old enough. Before anyone "yells" at me for that I would like to point out that studies and doctors DO consider modest consumption of wine, especially, beneficial in a diet.

Your friend's comments point out some generalizations and misinformation about alcohol consumption. As I mentioned before, the behaviors associated with alcohol ABUSE by adults can influence children just as the behaviors of appropriate alcohol use can. Alcoholism is believed to be genetic in part, which raises the risk of a child becoming an alcoholic. And the comment about parental approval seems like a personal judgment on her part. I certainly approve of legal, moderate consumption! I'm teaching my 12 year old that she has to wait until she is 21 to drink and that alcoholic beverages can taste very good, compliment the food you eat, and CAN be abused if not consumed in a responsible manner! It's that "responsible" part that I focus on. So you are not alone and "Cheers"!

Johnny - posted on 01/09/2011

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I agree with what Toni is suggesting Teresa. I watch my MIL making niggling and nasty little remarks to anyone around here whose lips touch a drop, and it isn't surprising to me in the least that her kids all binge drank. For example, her daughter had her first glass of wine in almost a year on Christmas Eve dinner at my house, and she told her it would make her fat again and if she drank more than a sip, she'd start acting like an idiot. Not exactly focusing on the positive, like the fact that my SIl has lost over a 100 lbs in the past year and has got her diabetes completely under control, partly by cutting out wine.

I think if you can explain your feelings clearly, the consequences that you have seen from drinking, and the fact that some people can indeed handle it responsibly, they may get the message you hope for. Rather than making offhand negative remarks about drinkers or alcohol, address it clearly and openly. My husband told me that his mother never actually told him why she hated alcohol. He only found out years later from one of her friends that her father was a drunk. If she'd explained that to them instead of just attacking people randomly for having a beer and insulting her kids, she may have got a different outcome.

Christina - posted on 01/08/2011

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Teresa, you can still teach your children to be responsible. You can tell them that if they choose to ever drink, they need to be responsible and call you. My oldest is only ten and has never had a sip of alcohol in his life. However, he already knows if he ever chooses to drink when he gets older, he will ONLY get in trouble for not calling us to pick him up. He knows that we would be having a discussion on why he felt the need/desire to drink himself stupid, but he won't be in trouble and he won't get yelled at. I'd rather pick my child up, no questions asked, from a situation he needs to rid himself of while out with friends than have him stay in it because he is too afraid of getting in trouble.

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Nobody has said you are wrong by not giving your children a taste of alcohol, the rest of us have simply taken note of the fact that in our personal experiences those of us who have been allowed a taste here and there have a far healthier attitude to alcohol than our family and friends who were not allowed to taste it - that in no way suggests that your children will become alcoholics if they are not given tastes and that in no way says that you have to give them a taste.

A couple of years ago (I was 24 and quite visibly pregnant) my friend was told she couldn't buy the alcohol she was buying because *I* didn't have id on me, even though I was a separate customer buying separate shopping - we could have just been randoms chatting in the queue. After a lot of debate endng with the words whatever we'll just go elsewhere the cashiers supervisor came over and laughed at his ridiculousness and told him of course he would serve her, she is evidently overage (with id to prove it) and I was a separate customer who was not going to be drinking it - I was pregnant. Everybody meets idiots who simply don't understand the regualtions for alcohol purchase (its just unfortunate when they are the ones serving us) I wouldn't take every bad experience as standard.

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Leeann - posted on 10/31/2011

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I had my formidable yrs in germany, where drinking isnt as taboo as it is here. IDK my parents taught me there is nothing wrong w/ a drink no matter what you are drinking as long as you are doing it responsibly. My hubbs father and grandfather were alcoholics and his father died because of it. so he was dead set, then he went crazy had a bad bout of excessive drinking. He didnt know how bad it was until I told him what our ds said to mom while shopping, she pointed a box of beer and said daddy's juice. it broke his heart. ever since then he has followed my lead on drinking, wait till the kids go to sleep and if the see you drink make it no more than 2.

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Kinda late to this conversation, but I did read this page. Teresa, my parents NEVER drank. They were much like you. My parents, especially my dad, had negative feelings about alcohol. My dad's grandfather was an alcoholic and he abandoned his family and died alone in the car he lived in. Needless to say, my dad never wanted to touch the stuff. He made it very clear to my sister and I that was the reason he didn't drink...not that it's totally forbidden...but he didn't want to follow in his grandfather's footsteps. I decided early on that I didn't want to drink alcohol either. But at about age 19 I slowly started trying it...but always responsibly. (I should note that my first drink at 19 was in Canada where 18 is the legal age.) Now as an adult I enjoy an occasional drink. I think if you are open with your children about WHY you don't drink they will respect that.

Kimberly - posted on 05/30/2011

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i feel exactly the same way you do. i feel wine drinking is a whole nother ball park then beer and hard liquar. i feel if more parents taught proper drinking habbits they would be better off

Amanda - posted on 05/28/2011

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Growing up my parents allowed us one small glass of wine during holiday dinners. Add this to the fact that my father is an alcoholic and, if your friends opinion is indeed fact, then i too should be a raging alcoholic. I am not however. I have ONE occasional casual drink. When i was younger, if i thought there was even the risk i'd get so much as slightly tipsy i'd have my mother take my kids overnight so they wouldn't need to see me stumbling into the house. This only happened a few times (my tolerance is low). I've offered my older 2 a few sips to see if they want a glass of wine with holiday meals but they both think it's 'gross' and passed.

[deleted account]

I would definately continue down the path that whatever your children do they will never change your love for them and that you will always be there for them, it is important they know that for so many things in life.

As for the negative image of alcohol, it's never too late, your children are not that old and are quite a way from drinking alcohol yet so you can still let them know that people do enjoy a drink every now and again without it being a negative thing, that although being a drunken mess is a bad thing having a drink or two as a responsible adult is perfectly normal and not something that should cause concern. I would use news stories (or gossip) as starting points for conversations about alcohol if I were you, I know here there are always examples of people drinking badly and people drinking sensibly and enjoying themselves in a grown up manor. I would also answer your kids questions about alcohol honestly and as open as possible, maybe even when they are older you can explain why you don't like alcohol, without telling them anything that would hurt or upset them obviously, so they can understand where your opinion comes from, you may find that this helps them have a mature attitude to alcohol as well. :-)

[deleted account]

Well... I do have extremely strong negative feelings about alcohol. When I said I have no problem w/ it I meant the reason I don't drink it isn't because I'm a recovering alcoholic or anything. Not that it is necessarily a sin to drink, but since it was one of the things that made me realize that my ex had no respect for me.... I feel I may have already instilled to much of an 'alcohol is all bad' mindset for them...

Not that I MEANT for it to happen like that, but it did. I don't WANT them to drink, but if they choose to drink responsibly as adults.... it's their choice. I just don't know how to counter any negative effects I may have already put on them when I literally HATE alcohol and anything to do w/ it...... Again, not that it in itself is a sin, but for me, personally... it is wrong.

They DO know that no matter what they ever do it will never change my love for them though. Maybe I should just continue w/ that emphasis?

[deleted account]

Teresa, just teach them about moderation, and that they can always come to you whatever they have done because you will always be there for them. You don't have an issue with alcohol being a sin so you can teach them that alcohol is ok for adults when drunk in moderation, don't make it taboo and there shouldn't be an issue. If they want to discuss it talk about it with them (which you sound as though you do) tell them why people like it as well as the negatives, when you remove the mystery you remove the taboo, that doesn't necessarily mean they need to drink it as children but problems come when people make it out to be evil and make it sinful to drink it, this causes conflict in children some won't touch it because they are too scared of the consequences and others will want to find out what is so bad so they binge on it, you sound to me as though you are doing the right thing with your family and although you don;t have alcohol in the house and they don't see you drink it your kids are aware of it, I'd carry on as I was if I was you.

Stifler's - posted on 01/09/2011

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My parents don't drink. Yet all of their children got wasted every weekend as teenagers behind their backs.

[deleted account]

See Carol... that is one thing that worries me as my kids get older. At 9, they think alcohol is stupid, but I'm not naive enough to believe that they will always think that way (they might, but I'm aware they may not). I don't drink though and I absolutely HATE being around any amount of alcohol... not because I have a problem w/ it though... just because it's beyond my comfort zone. I can't teach my kids about responsible drinking cuz I don't DO it......



That and my mom's most recent 'ex' (they aren't divorced though) is an abusive alcoholic, so she shares part of that evil talk w/ them......

Joanna - posted on 01/08/2011

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Responsible drinking is fine with your kids. My kids, 20 years old and 19 years, together with my husband make this a bonding moment. More deep bonding moment, we can talk and open up more without any secrets, without any inhibitions. The kids can open up their problems and discuss with us. We listen and suggest solutions to their problems. It is not only problems that we are tackling but also the happy moments we went through....and the happy moments we are having that very moment. It is better, for me and my husbands, that we are their friends not just parents.

Johnny - posted on 01/07/2011

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I have to say, I have many family members in my parent's generation (especially on my dad's side) who are recovering alcoholics. Each and every one of them has not had a drop for around 25 years, which is really quite impressive. Obviously in that part of my family, no one serves any alcohol at family gatherings or in their homes. All their kids grew up knowing the family history, and have chosen to abstain as well.

I personally think that there is a big difference between avoiding alcohol because you or your family have difficulties with it and forbidding alcohol because it is sinful. When kids know that their family had an illness and sought treatment, they may learn the cautionary tale and be careful themselves. I know quite a few people like that. But quite a few of the serious binge drinkers I know (not alcoholics necessarily, but people who can't stop once they start until they pass out or puke) come from families where alcohol was an evil.

“There is a charm about the forbidden that makes it unspeakably desirable.”

Mark Twain

Christina - posted on 01/07/2011

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I think that with some children if you take the mystery out of alcohol then they don't turn into lushes after they become of age. I've seen so many of my friends go crazy on alcohol because it was forbidden. I will probably allow my children to have a sip when they get older if they are really curious, but since mine are not teenagers yet, I really don't know what I will do.
In some religions/cultures, it is normal for wine to be with meals.

[deleted account]

I was givin sips as a child but I always hated it and stopped asking for it after about the second time. I was offered some at 12 by my aunt and it was really sweet... I drank the entire glass. I then realized that it was stupid and that I should watch out for sweet drinks.

I think that if my parents had known that I had a glass they wouldn't have been too happy.

I don't like bitter things so alcohol is not my thing at all. But it can be dangerous if masked in sweet drinks.

I don't allow it my house. Mainly because those who would bring it don't know when to stop. I have used it in cooking but not since I got pregnant with my daughter.

My dad is a major wine connoisseur he goes to the local vineards and talks it up with them. So naturally he offers it to us when we are over. I take maybe 2 tb of wine to taste. I like to show that when I do drink, I drink very little, and am responsible about it.

Ramona - posted on 01/07/2011

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Nothing "leads" to alcoholism. The fact is, people who are going to be alcoholic are going to be alcoholic whether they are exposed to it from a young age or not. I am a recovering alcoholic and it had nothing whatsoever to do with my parents or with anything other than the fact that when I took a drink, I didn't stop for hours or days. I didn't have that voice that said "stop now"...my body felt alcohol and wanted more. I know people who were raised by alcoholics, people raised by parents who believed alcohol was sinful, people who didn't think alcohol was that big of a deal...people from all those families turned out to be alcoholics and their full siblings turned out not to be. Alcohol effects different people differently, and parents have no way of knowing whether or not their child will be an alcoholic. I know there will never be drinking in my house. Lucky for me, my child has never seen me drink and she never will. I know one day she will probably try alcohol and I would like her to be around people who drink responsibly, to see how it is done. I do realize, however, that no matter whether I make it into an issue or not, she will be what she is, an alcoholic or not. I just simply hope that if she DOES turn out to be an alcoholic, she will find help and a way out sooner rather than later, as I have. So, to answer your question, if someone can have just a wine with dinner and doesn't mind if their child does, I see no problem with it. But if they are like me, I hope they seek help and stay away from alcohol.

Candi - posted on 01/07/2011

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I'm not judging you Toni, but people seem to think I am wrong and my children will become alcoholics b/c we don't give them alcohol. B/C both of my parents were children of alcoholics, neither of them ever drank a drop and it was not allowed in our house. I never cared for it and don't drink now. Sure my children see my husband and me have a glass of wine with dinner once every 2 or 3 months, but thats it. My husband grew up having NO access to alcohol. He isn't a drinker. My mom is a smoker, and none of her children smoke. Leading by example isn't always so black and white. In TX, my husband grabbed a bottle of wine at the grocery store, my daughter about age 8 at the time was helping unload the cart and handed the bottle of wine to him to put on the belt. The cashier refused to sell it to us b/c a minor touched the bottle!! WTF was that all about?? But if you look at the TX drinking laws, a parent can give their children alcohol in their home without any problems! MIxed laws? You bet! We ended up getting the bottle of wine....Like I said before, if you want to give children alcohol, go ahead, but I refuse. I know alcoholism is in my family genes and I don't want to encourage it by giving sips here and there. My kids might like it....

[deleted account]

Candi I was just pointing out that it is not illegal everywhere to provide your OWN children with a small amount of alcohol every now and then, I am not talking about giving my children a keg of beer every night, just a taste, a splash of wine or beer at family celebrations/ parties.

If you don't want to give your child a taste of your drink that is your perogative and I would never judge someone for deciding not to do it but please spare me the "my kid will have a healthy liver" accusations, because so will mine - I can guantee that if they don't alcohol will NOT be the culprit - a taste of it every now and then will do no one any harm, which is why it is not illegal in the UK!

Amber - posted on 01/07/2011

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Ruined livers? Really? lol :)
It would take a larger quantity of alcohol than "just a taste" to ruin their livers. Binge drinking is much worse than having a few tastes here and there.
I know quite a few people who weren't allowed any access to alcohol until high school or college, and those were the kids who were drunk every weekend.

My son loves to drink sparkling juice out of a miniature wine glass that we found. He'll tap glasses with everybody and say cheers, it's adorable. He's learning that it's ok to sit down and have a glass of wine with dinner.

I view it in the same way I view other eating habits. If a parent is piling their plate full 2 or 3 times, so will the child. If they take two helpings of dessert, so will the child.

Leading by example is the best way to show your child what is acceptable. Showing them that you can have just one glass then recork the bottle for another time is teaching them to drink in moderation.

Johnny - posted on 01/07/2011

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Oh, all those poor European and Australian children with their ruined livers.... how horrible!

Sherri - posted on 01/07/2011

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Candi relax nobody was attacking you for not giving your child alcohol. No need for the snarky response. She was just explaining that in other countries it is legally okay, earlier than in the US.

Candi - posted on 01/07/2011

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I am speaking of the laws of the US where I live. Giving anyone under the age of 18 alcohol is illegal. Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor. It is a Class A misdemeanor. However, it does vary state to state and if you are at home, and stay at home, and do not get the child drunk, there should be no legal problem. There is an age limit for a reason. I remember when the legal age was changed from 18 to 21. When we lived in Germany, there was no "real" drinking age, but soldiers had to be at least 19 to buy it on post. There is an age limit for a reason. Do you think laws are made just for fun? The speed limit says 70, are you going to do 90 just b/c you can?? It doesn't make sense to me, So you go ahead and give your kid alcohol and I won't. They will have a healthy liver when they grow up.

[deleted account]

Candi your assuming it is illegal to give children alcohol everywhere. As has been pointed out in many places the laws differ to the US. In the UK, it is illegal to give a child under 5 an alcoholic drink (unless for a medical emergency - what that could be I have no idea) however, within the home anyone over 5 can be given a taste of alcohol, within moderation obviously not enough to get them sozzled but a swig of dads beer not a problem. 16 and 17 year olds can even have a glass of wine, cider or beer with their meal in a restaurant as long as they are bought by an adult and the minors are accompanied by an adult - somebody over the age of 18 (which is our legal age to buy alcohol).

So you see we are not breaking the law in giving our children (over the age of 5) an alcoholic drink.

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.u...

Jodi - posted on 01/06/2011

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"How can you teach your children about responsibility when you are clearly breaking the law?"

Ah, see, it isn't against the law here to serve alcohol to your own children in a responsible manner inside your own home. It is one of the exceptions to the legal drinking age of 18.

Johnny - posted on 01/06/2011

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It is common in many cultures for young people to drink. We are not talking about children, but about teenagers, usually older than 14 or 15. And most western countries do not have the stringent alcohol regulations that you do in the United States. In many places in Canada, for instance, it is legal to drink at the age of 18. In Europe, the laws are also different. I remember being surprised when we were in France and I saw teenagers served wine with their family at a restaurant. On a couple of occasions, my 16th birthday for one, I was knowingly served a glass of champagne by a restaurant owner. I think if the kids are so stupid that they can not differentiate between serious law breaking and minor infractions, society has a whole lot more to worry about from them than their drinking alcohol. I certainly didn't run out and start breaking every law when the adults in my family and group of friends ignored the drinking age on a few occasions.

Now given it has recently been publicly released that my provincial government and our policing agencies have knowingly allowed and profited from organized crime laundering money through our local casinos, I am more seriously considering starting my own brothel or grow-op for extra cash. I know that's a bit off topic, I apologize, but it just came to mind when it was mentioned about encouraging responsibility while breaking the law.

Julie - posted on 01/06/2011

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I don't think negative about it as long as the child is old enough to understand. I was allowed to drink underage with my family/and friends family a few times, and I believed it helped us communicate with each other, It taught me not to drink and drive and it was much safer than having drinks with people I didn't know.

Candi - posted on 01/06/2011

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Maybe its just me, but I don't see how giving alcohol to children is responsible at all.. How can you teach your children about responsibility when you are clearly breaking the law? Every person is different. If you raise your children to respect themselves and teach them the dangers of alohol, you have to trust they will not be stupid when they do decide to drink. Alcohol was not allowed in my husband's house growing up, out of 6 children, none of them drink today. My parents raised 5 children. Only 1 drinks. Pretty good odds to me. My children know the dangers. They have heard our stories about friends dying in drunk driving accidents, but I don't think giving them alcohol is responsible parenting.

[deleted account]

I agree with Carol, I was raised in a home where alcohol was not taboo and now have a healthy attitude to alcohol - I can take it or leave it! I don't like being drunk, I can count on one hand the number of times I have been drunk (although not completely out of control drunk).



My school friends in comparison were not allowed even a taste of alcohol in their houses and as soon as they had a chance they got so unbelievably drunk it was unreal - even to this day they equate a great night with how drunk they were.



IMO allowing your kids to have moderate alcohol consumption in the home generally leads to responsible alcohol consumption when they are not with you!

Minnie - posted on 01/06/2011

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I too, grew up in a household where drinking any form of alcohol was anathema. My mother thinks the stuff is of the devil.

So, when I went to college, I got so horribly drunk that I fell over and bashed my forehead in on a table...I suppose that the hangover the next day sort of was a cure-all for that one thing and I've never done it again...

I do occasionally have a drink though. But that one time in college- that was the result of an over-sheltered life where we were never allowed to experience anything responsibly. Only taught that such and such a thing was evil and DON'T YOU DARE DO IT.

[deleted account]

I agree with Emma -- it is the norm across Europe. I was also raised a home where we were allowed to have a small glass of wine with holiday dinners -- e.g., Christmas, Easter, etc. I personally think having a glass of wine at dinner teaches you to be a responsible drinker, not a binge drinker. My kids are still too young, but I have no doubt we will follow the same tradition in my house.

Sherri - posted on 01/06/2011

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It really depends on the child and choices they make. I don't think it leads one to responsible or become a heavy drinker. I personally wouldn't condone it but don't have problem with others who it is their culture.

Amy - posted on 01/06/2011

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That was normal in my household, and I plan to allow my children the same. Although before they can have any they'll need to prove that they understand how to be responsible and NOT drink too much (or as they are old enough to drink more understand how to be safe about it, like no driving)

Candi - posted on 01/06/2011

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Since alcoholism runs in my family (grandparents), we wouldn't dare tempt our kids with it. lol. I did get a sip of my grandfather's beer when I was a kid (a lot). He died when I was 6, so its not like I grew up on it. When we lived in Germany, I was shocked to see a beer truck/delivery pull up at my kids' preschool. But drinking across Europe is normal and they drink for the flavor, compliment, not to get smashed. Maybe thats whats wrong with americans, we drink for one purpose--to get smashed!! lol. When we celebrate with wine, our kids get sparkling grape juice in a wine glass. That way they are included without the negative aspects. Personally its up to the parents. Nothing wrong with a sip, but I wouldn't do it

LaCi - posted on 01/06/2011

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Children who grow up in homes tha drink responsibly, wine with dinner, have extremely low rates of alcohol abuse compared to those that grow up in completely non-drinking families. It teaches responsible drinking.

My parents never allowed me to drink, my parents didn't drink. I went wild in my teens, but I don't drink now. Not that I wouldn't, I'm just a cheapskate and can't imagine spending money on my favorite brew. :)

I have zero issues with allowing the occasional glass of wine, or even a beer in my case since I hate wine with all my heart, to your kid.

[deleted account]

I have no clue (really helpful, huh?). There was no alcohol in my house growing up. My brother drinks all the time and I don't drink at all.

Emma - posted on 01/06/2011

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Its the norm across most of Europe,
Responsible drinking is something we learn by observing of parents a glass of wine with a meal is teaching moderation not alcoholism.
I know people who where brought up in tea total households who binge drink really cant believe someone went off on you for that.

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