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-   -   Do you drink when your kids are awake? (http://www.mothering.com/forum/35-parenting/1392002-do-you-drink-when-your-kids-awake.html)

mamazee 10-25-2013 06:22 AM

I don't drink because I get horrible migraine headaches if I drink even a very small amount. However, we get together with neighbors and our kids play while we socialize and the adults who like to drink do (which is most of them.) And if I could drink, I would too. And since it's a group of neighbors, everyone can just walk home and there's no issue of drinking/driving. The kids love the chance to get together.

But then I've heard people (mainly my sister) say that it's wrong to drink if your kids are awake. Like, once they've gone to bed it's OK to have a drink, but not while they're awake. Also, she said only one parent should be able to drink in case there's an emergency and someone has to drive someone to the hospital. (My answer with that is that the parents could always call 911 if there were an emergency and they couldn't drive.)

Does anyone have any thoughts about drinking when kids are awake?

mamalisa 10-25-2013 06:30 AM

Not a big deal at all.  Are you getting plastered and unable to walk or function or are we talking a few drinks?  More often than not I have a drink once dd goes to bed but ds is still up.  (My reward for finally getting her to bed.)  I think the best way to teach your kids anything is to teach them by example.  Saying that you can only drink after they are asleep, well, emergencies happen after the kids are asleep too.  

 

We had an interesting experience over the summer at a party where one dad got wasted off 4 beers (he hadn't eaten all day, it was hot) and some parents had to put him to bed.  Another had to be convinced that he was not able to drive home, so we spilt up and dh drove him and I drove the kids.  It was the perfect learning opportunity for our almost 13 year olds.  Not "don't drink" not "don't ever drink too much" but rather, watch out for your friends and take care of them if they need it.  Ds saw dh and I both stop drinking after dinner because we knew we had to drive home and realized that some of our friends would need our help.  Real life examples on how to handle life are always going to mean more than platitudes.  Ds watching his dad negotiate keys out of a large drunk man's hands is a massive life lesson.  


rachelsmama 10-25-2013 06:57 AM

Yes, I do, and like mamalisa, there's a lot of open discussion.   It's certainly not necessary to drink in front of kids to convey to them all the information they'll need when they grow up and go out in the world, but I do believe that making it a taboo that they know is happening, but never see, has the potential to lead to problems.


pokeyac 10-25-2013 02:52 PM

Yes, I do. But I am either at home or at a restaurant that is within walking distance of my home so I can't get into too much trouble. Plus, I only have one drink at a time. I agree that it is important to teach children to drink responsibly. I grew up seeing my parents have a drink or 2 and having a nice time but not getting drunk. They also expressed this idea in words not just be example.

blessedwithboys 10-25-2013 04:26 PM

How in the world can I model responsible consumption if I save my drinking for when the kids are asleep?

katelove 10-25-2013 06:50 PM

DH and I don't drink alcohol but the rest of my family do.There is usually wine or beer at family dinners and my parents will sometimes have a pre-dinner drink while we are visiting them if we happen to be there in the late afternoon/early evening. I've never given it a thought until I read this thread.

I think it is good to for my kids to see the responsible consumption of alcohol and hear people say "no, thanks I'm driving tonight" or "yes, I will have a beer with you, X is the driver tonight".

My 3.5yo knows that some things are "grown-up drinks". If she sees someone with a glass of wine she will often say to them "I don't drink wine. Wine isn't for little girls. I can drink wine when I'm a big girl."

Australian culture does not have a very healthy attitude to alcohol IMO so I'm grateful for healthy role models.

meemee 10-28-2013 12:11 AM

what? hide behind their back? noooooo!! however out of your mind drunk in front of them - no. 

 

i am similar like you. cant drink. but i certainly tried chocolate when dd went to bed. as a baby. but then she awoke and i rushed to nurse her. and she smelt chocolate on my breath and like a dog sniffed the air. so forget that. no chocolate for mama. murphy's law. she always woke up when i was eating chocolate. 

 

ex certainly drinks. social drinker. and dd has seen him drink and even gets a pinky dip taste too. *shrug* kids get juice, adults get alcohol.  


mamalisa 10-28-2013 04:01 PM

My 8 year old loves beer.  We have to watch her because she will sneak sips of open bottles.  I let her have a taste once when she was 3 while cooking with it, thinking that like almost every other kid in the world, she would find it gross.  Nope.  Chick LOVES it.  We have to make sure we finish then or take them with us.  The last thing I need is her telling anyone she had a beer last night.  Although we are in Wisconsin....


Caneel 10-29-2013 01:52 PM

Yes, we do drink when our son is awake.  In our immediate social circle, no one would think twice about it.

 

However, I have encountered people (interestingly all moms, never a father) who think alcohol has no place around children, period.  The same people are super judge-y about a lot of other things as well.  We learned to avoid these types.....


limabean 10-29-2013 04:36 PM

I hardly ever drink, but I see nothing wrong with having a drink or two around kids. My hubby has a beer or glass of wine with dinner a few nights a week, and it's never occurred to me to see it as a problem. And when we have friends over for a barbecue or something, most of the adults will have a few drinks over the course of the evening. Again, no biggie IMO, and it doesn't seem to be something that concerns any of our friends either.

AntoninBeGonin 10-30-2013 04:39 PM

The only time I ever have an alcoholic drink while my kids are around is during extended family dinners with my in-laws and my husband's relatives.  Then I'll have a beer or small glass of wine, whatever is being offered.  Otherwise my husband and I never drink anything alcoholic in front of the kids.  It's not that we're against the idea or anything, we just both prefer other drinks.  I like water and milk, he likes diet Mt. Dew.


vermontgirl 10-30-2013 04:56 PM

A glass of red while making dinner, and sometimes a refill during dinner. It is normal around here. 


fayebond 10-31-2013 12:35 PM

 I also eat less ice cream in public than I would if I was by myself, so I see wine as the same basic thing.  I wouldn't hide it, although we don't drink often anyways and I'm now pregnant.  But I want them, like many mamas above, to feel that alcohol is a normal thing in moderation.  Like sugar can be normal in moderation. It shouldn't be hidden away, IMO, because that's asking for them to find it and hide it themselves.   


mamapigeon 10-31-2013 12:46 PM

I'm not much of a drinker, but I have no problem with having something in front of my children. DH drinks more often (maybe a couple beers a week), and is very open about it. I think it can be a great way for kids to learn about drinking responsibly.


VocalMinority 11-01-2013 04:11 AM

Hiding your drinking from kids risks teaching them any or all of the following:  

A) Drinking should be secret...so when I start drinking, I'll keep it a secret, too...

B) My parents think drinking is something to hide...but that doesn't stop them from doing it.  Alcohol must have a powerful hold over them.

C) Maybe there's something wrong with my parents and I should worry.  They keep alcohol in the house and, if I wake up at night, sometimes I see them drinking it.  But they try not to let me see the bottles or the drinking.  What is it they don't want me to know?

D) Drinking is a super-special, neat thing adults get to do for fun, after the kids have to go to bed...I can't wait until I can do it, too!

 

IMO, the vestiges of our country's Puritanism - that impulse to "protect" our kids from seeing adults drink something Jesus drank - contributes to some American teenagers' extra-irresponsible attitudes toward alcohol.

 

I'd rather my kids view alcohol the same way they view coffee:  

 

> Both have chemcials that affect your body and fully-grown bodies handle them better than still-growing ones.  

 

> Both taste good, but real coffee, wine, beer, etc. tend to be acquired tastes - not usually palatable to kids.  The coffees and alcohols that DO taste good to kids are kind of silly, sugary drinks that should be consumed sparingly, like the milkshakes and sodas that they more-or-less are.  (I don't want my teens to think that routinely snarfing down hard lemonades - or 600-calorie Frappuccinos - would make them look mature.  It would only highlight that they're not mature enough to enjoy a good espresso or a nice, dry red wine.)

 

> I like that coffee makes me feel slightly more alert (and wine, slightly more relaxed), but I'd be embarrassed to drink them in ways that made me sick, or made me act like a totally different person.  That would make me look really immature, NOT grown up.

 

> Because coffee and alcohol can make you feel more alert or relaxed, it's nice to enjoy them with friends.  (But again note the embarrassment clause, above.)

 

> It's also nice to use them as a tradition, to start or end the day - even by yourself.  But if you're TOO dependent on coffee to wake you up, it signals a problem (not getting enough rest).  And if you're TOO dependent on alcohol to relax you, you need to find better ways to manage your stress.

 

Your kids can't learn any of these lessons from you, if you never let them see you drink.  That leaves them learning about drinking from their friends.


limabean 11-01-2013 09:23 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by VocalMinority View Post

Your kids can't learn any of these lessons from you, if you never let them see you drink.  That leaves them learning about drinking from their friends.

I agree with your whole (awesomely thorough) post, but, as a non-drinker, I wonder about this part. I agree that if you drink you shouldn't hide it from your kids, but what if you just don't drink? It seems that your kids would be in the same situation of learning about it from their friends. My DH drinks a beer or glass of wine a few nights a week with dinner, so my kids do see responsible drinking, but what if I were a single mom, or if DH was a non-drinker as well? How can non-drinkers impart a healthy attitude about alcohol to their kids without consuming it themselves?

ShadowMoon 11-01-2013 10:37 AM

We drink when DS is awake. Responsibly of course.


Linda on the move 11-01-2013 09:21 PM

Am I the only one who read the thread title and thought:

 

"God yes, it's the only way I can get through until they are asleep again."

 

 

Bolt.gif


VocalMinority 11-02-2013 04:41 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by limabean View Post


...as a non-drinker...what if I were a single mom, or if DH was a non-drinker as well? How can non-drinkers impart a healthy attitude about alcohol to their kids without consuming it themselves?

Yes, I guess it wouldn't make much sense to take up drinking just to model for your kids how to do it responsibly!  (chuckle)

 

Kids pick up on their parents' attitudes about things in a hundred subtle ways.  My 5-year-old has been in the car when I passed another driver, smoking, and muttered to myself, "Seriously!?  With a car full of kids?  You want that crap in their lungs!?"  I talk to him directly about my thoughts on cigarettes, when he asks.  But he already knows what I think.

 

 Your kid knows you don't like to drink at all - not that you're hiding it from him.  He knows how you react, if his dad - or his uncle, or a friend of yours - has a beer.  He knows whether or not you jump to change the channel, when the parents in a kids' movie have a glass of wine with dinner.

 

So, a revision:  Kids are left learning about alcohol from their friends if their parents hide their attitudes about alcohol.  If you don't drink yourself - but don't think it's horrible for adults to do so responsibly - yet you shout, "Not in front of the kids!" if your husband opens a beer after he mows the lawn...that would be as confusing to your kids as if you drank, but only when you think they're asleep.


MaggieLC 11-02-2013 12:00 PM

I don't drink alcohol at all. (I cook with wine once in a while, but I don't drink any alcohol.) My dh drinks fairly responsibly, but he doesn't hide it. If he wants a drink when he gets home from work or even in the afternoon on the weekends, he has one.

 

I agree with VocalMinority about hiding booze from the kids being not a good idea.


rachelsmama 11-02-2013 04:51 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by limabean View Post


I agree with your whole (awesomely thorough) post, but, as a non-drinker, I wonder about this part. I agree that if you drink you shouldn't hide it from your kids, but what if you just don't drink? It seems that your kids would be in the same situation of learning about it from their friends. My DH drinks a beer or glass of wine a few nights a week with dinner, so my kids do see responsible drinking, but what if I were a single mom, or if DH was a non-drinker as well? How can non-drinkers impart a healthy attitude about alcohol to their kids without consuming it themselves?


If you don't drink, you're modeling the fact that choosing not to drink is a legitimate option.  I think the key to making sure kids develop a healthy attitude about alcohol is probably being open to discussions, and maybe making sure they have a safe place to have their first drinks (if they choose to drink).


Alenushka 11-02-2013 05:42 PM

Drink is ok. Getting to the point of black out is not


MichelleZB 11-04-2013 05:08 PM

Yes, both me and my husband drink in front of our son whenever we feel the inclination. Only one of us is allowed to get drunk, however (if we are, say, at a party) so the other can be responsible for night time parenting, etc.


QueenOfTheMeadow 11-04-2013 05:30 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
 

Am I the only one who read the thread title and thought:

 

"God yes, it's the only way I can get through until they are asleep again."

 

 

Bolt.gif

:laugh:Sheepish


lab 11-11-2013 01:20 PM

Oh Hell Yeah!

 

I have three teenagers.......

:rotflmao


blizzard_babe 11-18-2013 10:17 AM

Yup. And my five year-old can tell you how beer is made. His favorite part is how the yeast "farts carbon dioxide." It's science, yo.

 

He also knows that alcoholic beverages are for adults, and that they can make people act silly and do things they wouldn't normally do (because we've told him, not because we get slammed in front of him), and that it's like junk food for adults... a special treat "sometimes" food.


QueenOfTheMeadow 11-18-2013 01:04 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by blizzard_babe View Post
 

Yup. And my five year-old can tell you how beer is made. His favorite part is how the yeast "farts carbon dioxide." It's science, yo.

 

He also knows that alcoholic beverages are for adults, and that they can make people act silly and do things they wouldn't normally do (because we've told him, not because we get slammed in front of him), and that it's like junk food for adults... a special treat "sometimes" food.

LOL!  That's awesome!  We have a picture of my now oldest, at 5, helping his dad make beer. Then there is one of him helping him bottle the beer.  We decided that those weren't the best pictures to bring in for show and tell!  


midwife4ever 04-30-2014 10:55 PM

When I was a young mom, I did not drink when my kids were awake. If we went out to eat, I'd have a glass of wine. If we went to a BBQ, I might drink beer. I didn't drink at home, though. My parents did the same. My husband's parents never drank and he started drinking heavily in High School. He went on to smoking pot heavily until we had the kids.
I have found that drinking responsibly & in moderation by one or both parents, teaches children to do the same, but according to my husband's parental example while growing up - strictly not drinking- can back-fire in a parent's face. I have heard many other similar stories from friends & clients.

I also think the parent's attitude about drinking makes a difference. My husband's parents were devout christians who labeled drinking a 'sin', while other parents who don't drink do so for health reasons, recovery reasons, etc.

I think it's important to be honest with children the reasons why you do not drink and your values about not drinking.

Then there are parents who are alcoholics, who abuse their children while drunk and their child might end up drinking (following the family pattern) to try & avoid the pain of abuse.

Midwife/Therapist and Mother of 4 adult children


Sharlla 05-15-2014 09:48 PM

Shoot we've had wine at play group lol. I don't get drunk but I do drink in front of the kids

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