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Thread: Alcohol and teenagers what would you/do you do?

  1. #19

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    I have a 15yo DD and two young sons. We have allowed our DD and older son to have a sip of our wine at the table but they haven't ever asked for it since their original query (we made no fuss, just said that it was an adult drink and they probably wouldn't like it... they didn't!). Recently i have read articles which outline the damage alcohol can do to developing brains and I'm relieved that DD shows (of her own accord) absolutely no interest in drinking it. Now she is in boarding school and i can't imagine her sneaking it in there.... but who knows. I do know that when we were having issues with her behaviour I was closely monitoring our bottle levels and was relieved to observed that they weren't going down or disappearing... they are in easy access in the pantry.

    Anyhow I have had a bit of a change of heart over the past year or so. If my youngest now asks for a sip of wine i now say "no, it's only for mummys and daddies". He doesn't ask anymore and seems accepting of that. So yes, i'll be limiting their consumption until they are about 18. I certainly wont be buying it for them and i hear that my DD has been drinking (before 18) rest assured i will be expressing my disappointment.

    At the end of the day though i notice a correlation between the drinking habits of parents and their children when they grow up. Drinkers seem to produce drinkers. DH and i are fairly light drinkers. I limit myself to 1 glass a few times a week while cooking meals... and even when i go out for a 'big' night will only have about 3 over the course of 4 - 5 hours. DH is much the same... he will only have a few beers a week... and only sip from my glass, actually say "no, don't bother pouring one for me, i'll just have a sip or two from yours". So my kids don't see us drink heavily.... we certainly model the ability to just have 1... and to enjoy it because of what it is.... not because we feel that that is the social expectation to drink... i think THAT'S what causes problems when kids grow up to think that you drink to 'relax' or to "be sociable". DH has never been the kind of person to come home from work and say things like "Geeze fetch me a beer love, i've had a hell of a day and really need a drink!"

    Last edited by Bathsheba; August 7th, 2010 at 07:55 PM.

  2. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bathsheba View Post
    At the end of the day though i notice a correlation between the drinking habits of parents and their children when they grow up. Drinkers seem to produce drinkers. DH and i are fairly light drinkers. I limit myself to 1 glass a few times a week while cooking meals... and even when i go out for a 'big' night will only have about 3 over the course of 4 - 5 hours. DH is much the same... he will only have a few beers a week... and only sip from my glass, actually say "no, don't bother pouring one for me, i'll just have a sip or two from yours". So my kids don't see us drink heavily.... we certainly model the ability to just have 1... and to enjoy it because of what it is.... not because we feel that that is the social expectation to drink... i think THAT'S what causes problems when kids grow up to think that you drink to 'relax' or to "be sociable". DH has never been the kind of person to come home from work and say things like "Geeze fetch me a beer love, i've had a hell of a day and really need a drink!"
    i guess i see it differently - a lot of my friends that were binge drinkers as teens came from tea totalling families. neither parent drank. the kids went nuts. they just did it elsewhere!

    honestly, i don't have a problem with drinking to relax or be sociable. i don't have a problem if DH has been working in the garden and comes in to ask if it's beer o'clock. he drinks because he enjoys the flavour. he doesn't drink enough to get drunk though. i HAVE seen him drunk, but it's rare. he doesn't give up food for alcohol, he doesn't chase the drunk feeling. he enjoys the taste so drinks. hell, i do to. my drink at the moment is vodka and blood orange. i've only had more than two in a night once since i started drinking it.

    i believe if you model the behaviours you expect from your children you can help to guide them - but you can't be guaranteed an outcome. some people just have an addictive or devil may care personality and they will go about doing what they want, irrespective of who raised them or how. honestly, i think it's healthier to teach them responsibility than to label things "adult" and forbidden til a certain age. the ticking of the clock from 11.59 - 12 on the night of their birthday doesn't teach them responsibility. that is what parents are there for. forbidding things til a certain date is, from my experience, more likely to lead to binging and irresponsible abuse of alcohol.


    argh, i don't know that i'm making sense - i guess i just don't believe that locking alcohol away and making it something that is taboo is going to help most teens. i don't believe hiding your own consumption will help (it just creates a sense that you're SUPPOSED to hide it away kwim?)

  3. #21

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    I just finished a big blog rant about this, I've had to divide it into three parts though . It's complicated, not one size fits all!

    I agree and disagree with both BG and Bathsheba.

    I do not give permission for my daughter to drink until she was 18 (she turned 18 last month - I got her there wooooo!!!!). She is quite a careful drinker. I don't doubt she gets blotto but I know she would be doing it safely, with friends etc.

    I have mentioned before than I come from a long line of Irish Catholic pub owners. We really know how to drink - like really know and that is passed down through the generations. Whilst there is not ONE family gathering I can recall without alcohol and masses of it, I never saw one family member drunk or passed out. I only saw lots of fun, laughter and full glasses. Having a drink and a good time yes - stupid drunk, never. You earn the right to drink in my family, like coming of age.

    We certainly have a culture of - 'oh gimme a drink I've had a hard day' within my friends and family. We don't have a 'let's get smashed and get revolting" culture,l or "I don't trust you enough to drink on your own so I will stay at home and watch you do it" theme either.

    I imagine there are some kids that watch a parent drinking and slurring their words every night. I wonder how many of these kids either swear never to drink and be like that versus how many follow in their parents footsteps because it's all they know?

    Crap - bit of a tangent there...sorry.

  4. #22

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    From my POV now (ask me again in 10-15 years, ill probably be eating my words lol)
    Once they are about 16 or so i would have no problem with my kids having A drink while at home with me.
    The reason i say this is because my mum and dad were very much against us kids drinking even though they got smashed pretty much every weekend with our neighbours!
    So yeah my older sister and I rebelled and went out and drank at a friends house nearly every weekend - because we saw it as a novelty, something new and exciting.

    Obviously my mum knows now everything we got up to when we were younger and i think shes learnt something because now she lets my brother have 1 or 2 drinks at family occasions and he has shown very good self control when he goes to parties etc.. he never comes home wasted only a little bit tipsy.

    ETA: as for the drugs issue.. thats a whole other thread in itself lol.

  5. #23

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    I'm fairly liberal with drinking. DS already knows he doesn't like champagne - he didn't like the bubbles so didn't drink a toast at a wedding! He also prefers red wine to white - he asked for a second sip of red wine once.

    DH and I both drink around DS - to enjoy the drink, not to get drunk. I don't EVER condone drunkenness. I remember seeing my mum drunk once in my life and laughing at her. She does get tipsy easly but I've only seen her drunk once. Dad never - tipsy, yes, but never drunk. I was allowed alcohol when I wanted in front of my parents, so although I've been drunk a few times in my life it wasn't something I have ever been proud of. My sister had the same upbringing and is a huge binge drinker - and has problems with her liver and kidneys.

    I don't know what's the right thing to do. I'm treating wine like chocolate - sometimes you want some, and a little bit is a good thing. But you don't want too much of it. I hope DS will grow up with this attitude and yes, I know he'll get drunk at some point in his life. I can only hope he'll not be proud of himself the next morning.

    Right now he doesn't ask for wine or beer, because he knows he doesn't like it. When he's older he may ask again, and have another sip. If he wants a glass, it will be watered down. When all his mates are going to the pub, I'll buy him a motorcycle and so he'll be on the soft drinks but still be the coolest cos he has a motorbike LMAO. (We're teaching DS road safety NOW, including to never drink and drive.)

  6. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lulu View Post
    We certainly have a culture of - 'oh gimme a drink I've had a hard day' within my friends and family. We don't have a 'let's get smashed and get revolting" culture,l or "I don't trust you enough to drink on your own so I will stay at home and watch you do it" theme either.
    i think you've pointed something out here (even if you do think you were off on a tangent!) - the responsible attitude thing! we refuse to go to our local pub - not because the patrons get smashed (although i'm sure some do later on Saturday nights) but because the owners get smashed. they drink more on their side of the bar than the patrons do. it's appalling. if people aren't frequenting the pub, they get drunken phone calls from the owner, abusing them for not going there - and when they DO go there (generally out of pity) they get abused some more. his OH, on one of her binges (after he had been making abusive phone calls) was found stripping on the tables at 3pm, smashed off her face. most locals will no longer go there - if the owners can't be responsible drinkers, how can they promote it. i don't want E exposed to that sort of thing!

    the attitude around here is definitely about enjoying a few drinks together, and being happy, not drunk. when we are at social gatherings when people start to go BEYOND happy, DH and I tend to leave. if DH wants to stay, that's fine - i won't dictate to him that he has to leave - but he respects that i don't like that sort of behaviour (grew up with binge drinking father - it doesn't sit well with me), and i guess it's out of respect for me, he leaves as well. he knows if he gets drunk i'd prefer he sleeps in another room (drunken snoring is just WRONG! lol). in all our time together, i've seen him drunk maybe once a year (and that has been after a social gathering that has gone on all day)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lulu View Post
    I imagine there are some kids that watch a parent drinking and slurring their words every night. I wonder how many of these kids either swear never to drink and be like that versus how many follow in their parents footsteps because it's all they know?
    i think that comes back to the individual again - my brother seen my dad binge and he followed (and continues to follow) suit. i seen it, and very rarely drink more than a couple of drinks. i'm not completely innocent, but i tend to drink more responsibly because i don't want to be like that. i don't like not having control of myself like that

  7. #25

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    I have been thinking about this thread since yesterday...

    Firstly my father is an alcoholic & an ex Police Officer. I grew up in a culture that drank - all the time.

    In my youth I was a binge drinker - I would go out & drink & have fun - but the fun always involved alcohol.

    FWEXH drinks quite heavily in my judgement & no social occassion is without alcohol.

    I love nothing more than a good quality organic red wine - I love it & I would have one whilst cooking. But I've changed my viewpoint. I love having fun - fun is my friend - however I've noticed in our culture more and more fun doesn't often occur without alcohol. That concerns me. Spiritually, emotionally & socially.

    Alcohol is a drug & we seem to brush over this. But it is a drug. It's the most destructive drug because it is acceptable & legal. It is the cause of more deaths and more accidents than any other drug. Yet we easily partake of it at kids birthdays, sporting events and in our own kitchens... It is the cause of immense pain & yes great mirth... But it's not without it's costs.

    I haven't had a drink of wine for about 3 months. Before then it was Christmas. By choice. I won't share alcohol with my children & I won't allow them a "taste". It's an adult drink and with it come adult responsibilities.
    I would never drink while carrying them in utero so I won't give it to their still developing bodies/brains when they are born!

    Last night I went to a party with my kids & as I was driving I didn't have any alcohol (I personally will not drive with any alcohol on board). I had an absolute ball. My kids had an absolute ball & they could see that alcohol wasn't needed. In fact Finny said to me: "Are you going to have a glass of wine mum"...When I said no as I had to drive the car he answered that "well it's the people that make the fun anyway hey mum".... (I felt I could have died then and my work would have been done!)

    I LOVE a good wine & I LOVE how it makes me feel. But it IS a drug. It is a crutch for coping with life. Or for coping with social situations if you are a bit nervous or whatever.... But it IS a drug.

    So, as such I will not share it with my kids. I will model respectful & responsible consumption of alcohol. I will treat it with the awe it deserves as it can be a very very destructive drug in a benign looking bottle...

  8. #26

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    Innana, what you say is very true. Alot of your thoughts is how I think too. I drink a bit, not alot and very rarely has it been to the point of real drukenness. I can't remember the last time I drank to excess. I hate the feeling of ebing out of control and slow and not knowing what is going on around me.
    Alcohol is a drug and that fact is often overlooked in society today. It is a very destructive drug fro some. One which I hope to teach my children to treat accordingly. As you say it is a legal drug and therefore much more of a threat than most others.
    That is why I feel that if I condoned my child having some alcohol in my presence, I would be in a way saying it's ok for them to try other drugs in my presence. Why would I let them have and probably be the one to purchase an alcoholic drink, but not get them a packet of cigarettes, or some pot or whatever it may be. To me it would be hypocritical in some way. I may not be saying it clearly, my thoughts are quite mixed. I see this from so many view points. Like many have said before I suppose it will depend on the natures of my children, and what sort of messages I manage to send them throughout their lives in regards to such things.
    I don't dislike alcohol. I'm just afraid for my children. Still some time to be worrying about such things, but DH and I have such a different perspective it is going to be difficult to find a common ground. Hopefully we can teach them well, help them be responsible teenagers and eventually adults. Hopefully they will see having fun like your little one does, that the people are what makes things fun. Not the beverages that go with it!
    I am lucky in that I haven't had any negative outcomes from alcohol. DH father was and in my opinion still is an alcoholic. I'm not sure that DH really sees it or if he's just in denial. DH was in the navy and is a police officer now. Both organisations have a large culture of drinking, particularly the navy. DH drank alot when we were younger, mostly only when I wasn't around. If I was with him he was responsible and looked after me. Now he's older with the responsibility of a family he doesn't drink much at all. He will have 1-2 a few times a week sometimes, but then we go for months without any alcohol in the house at all. So alcoholism isn't an issue for us and we are both responsible with it. And naturally being pg or when bfing I don't drink, I might have a drink at a celebration if I'm bfing, but generally I just abstain.

  9. #27

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    DH's father was an alcoholic as was his grandfather. DH has shared with the boys how alcohol ruined his childhood. He got beaten up by his father and watched his mother being beaten. DH was allowed to sit with his dad and drink alcohol at the age of 14. By the age of 16 they were best drinking buddies. By the time DH was 25 he already had liver damage. The amount of accidents he had on his motorbike because he would ride under the influence. I could go on and on with these stories. Every family is different and have different circumstances but because of DH's past we do not even keep alcohol in the house and definately NOT be offering to our children under the age of 18. As Inanna said alcohol is a drug and can be very addictive. Education is the key.

    Regards,
    Dianne

  10. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Inanna View Post

    I haven't had a drink of wine for about 3 months. Before then it was Christmas. By choice. I won't share alcohol with my children & I won't allow them a "taste". It's an adult drink and with it come adult responsibilities.
    i guess in it's own way, this is what i'm getting at - i don't believe that turning 18 makes an "adult" - some individuals are mature well beyond their years and reach that level of maturity much earlier. some are in their 40's and still haven't!

    i won't automatically let DD have a drink with us at a certain age. i will judge her maturity - if she is like her mum, i have no drama with teaching her responsible drinking from a reasonable age (can't say what taht age is though - will depend on her!) - if she is emotionally and socially immature, i won't. really will depend on her



    someone mentioned not knowing the last time they were "drunk" - i can. clearly. it was the thursday before the labour day weekend 2006 - i got home from work and had a couple of drinks outside with DH and his bestie - that was all it was supposed to be. but bestie's wife showed up and then a few other friends and we had a few more. unlike every other time i've ever had anything to drink, i hadn't had much to eat during the day, and i drank a lot more than i should have. i KNOW that. i didn't eat dinner as we just sat outside (gorgeous night lol) i woke up next morning for work and couldn't go as i knew i was still under the influence. i've not drunk to excess since then. i won't drink without having food available (and i encourage others to eat - it may not "mop up the alcohol" as many believe - but the distraction of eating finger food often slows the drinking!)

    we are already teaching DD about drinking. yeah, it sounds stupid - she's 14 months old - but we already talk about what she can have and what she can't, why that's a big person drink and why it isn't. i actively talk to her (and my bro's kids if they're here) about what it means if we drink etc (can't drive, have to walk and all that stuff). i don't hide (from anyone) that my bil was an alcoholic. i don't get graphic about how he died, but i'm not afraid to admit that he drank himself to death. it has given me a more healthy respect for what can happen, and it will help me to be able to educate DD.


    i am, however, sick of people that gloss over BIL's alcoholism (his friends that we are also friends with) - they HATE the label. sorry, but he WAS an alcoholic. he may have been high functioning, but he was an alcoholic. i won't gloss it over, and i have had some very heated discussions with people about alcoholism!


    argh - i sound like a walking contradiction! i have a problem with excessive drinking or binging, responsible drinking no i don't

  11. #29

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    I think I understand what you're saying BG. I think you're saying that with alcohol comes responsibility & that's judged case by case & that you have already begum to model what you see as healthy alcohol consumption to Emerald. Yes???

    I too have issues with excessive drinking & alcoholisim is a dirty word in my family also.

    I am not really sure when the brain is less affected (that is at what age brain maturity is reached) & that would be interesting to learn if anyone knows? For to me it is potentially dangerous to introduce this drug to an undeveloped brain/body...

  12. #30

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    I read somewhere that the liver can't metabolise alcohol properly (in females I think) until after the age of 18. I wish I'd bookmarked where I read that.

    Anyhoo, just wanted to point out that my family is spread all over vic, we only get together once a year, twice if there is a wedding. But there is still plenty of alcohol! I don't think it's a crutch in all situations, not by a long shot.

    BG that pub is scary and pathetic really. My family run pubs like well oiled machines and crappy behaviour just isn't tolerated.

  13. #31

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    Few people realise that alcoholism is a disease. Alcoholics CANNOT control their drinking. DH can't even take a sip of alcohol as it will cause him to fall again. I'm not sure where I read this but I read that it is much harder for an alcoholic going through withdrawals than a drug addict giving up drugs. BG I get exactly what you mean by the label Alcoholic.

    Regards,
    Dianne

  14. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Inanna View Post
    I think I understand what you're saying BG. I think you're saying that with alcohol comes responsibility & that's judged case by case & that you have already begum to model what you see as healthy alcohol consumption to Emerald. Yes???
    yeah that's it - it would be hypocritical of me to say all alcohol is bad, because i sometimes do have a drink. but i want her to learn what is ok, and what isn't. most teens i know don't learn by being dictated to (sorry, that's a harsh way of saying things, but i'm feeling cruddy and i can't think of another way to say it lol) - if they are told NO, they will rebel, whereas if they have the WHY explained, they are more likely to listen (definitely not all, but more of them lol). i want E to grow up knowing we respect her, that we deserve respect in return, but that there will always be boundaries that can't be crossed kwim?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lulu View Post
    BG that pub is scary and pathetic really. My family run pubs like well oiled machines and crappy behaviour just isn't tolerated.
    yes, yes it is!
    you can tell when the owners are away for a while - they get someone with half a clue to manage it, and patronage goes through the roof!


    Quote Originally Posted by diannescruffy View Post
    Few people realise that alcoholism is a disease. Alcoholics CANNOT control their drinking. DH can't even take a sip of alcohol as it will cause him to fall again. I'm not sure where I read this but I read that it is much harder for an alcoholic going through withdrawals than a drug addict giving up drugs. BG I get exactly what you mean by the label Alcoholic.
    '
    i think some regular drinkers are scared they are going to be labelled themselves if you start to discuss it. i know this is where our last "discussion" came from. friend hated the label and wouldn't listen when we tried to explain why. he drinks regularly and accused me of calling him an alcoholic. i simply asked him if he could stop drinking right at that moment. not have another drop for x amoutn of time (i think i said a month) - he said of course he could, he does it for work regularly. he doesn't get the shakes, he doesn't go into withdrawal because he is not addicted. BIL was told several months before he died that his liver was failing and he needed to stop drinking. when he went to the GP (he got rolling drunk and fell down, breaking his shoulder), she told him to stop, he was killing himself. next time he went, he put a lot more aftershave on so she couldn't smell the grog, and lied and told her he'd stopped. he couldn't stop. he was in serious pain from the shoulder, but instead of panadol (he had access to much stronger prescription meds), he was buying a bottle of scotch every day. he was still working - could go all day at work without a drink - but as soon as he was no longer responsible for anything, he HAD to have a drink. he couldn't be at home without a drink on hand, he couldn't socialise without drinking... he WAS an alcoholic. he wasn't just a drinker.

    i have been on the receiving end of alcohol related death threats, so i know how serious the issue is - and i guess that's why i want to teach E about responsible consumption rather than simply saying no

    argh - hope that makes sense!

  15. #33

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    Makes a lot of sense BG and you are right, there is a big difference between a drinker and an alcoholic.

    Regards,
    Dianne

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    Though alot of people don't know the true definition of an 'alcoholic'. Which is why I said that I don't think DH knows the reality that his father is an alcoholic still. Though he doesn't drink to total excess these days like he used to when DH was a child, he still drinks at least 3 drinks every day. Usually more. Its very rare that he will go without one (FIL that is!).

  17. #35

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    I haven't really considered what we are going to do with our kids - probably something we should think about sometime. Neither DH or I drink - we made a lifestyle choice about 8 years ago that we wouldn't, so we don't. My parents did not handle the issue of alcohol very well with us as teenagers and to be honest, dealing with issues around alcohol and teenagers scares the life out of me. I need to change my thinking about it, but I guess I feel really out of my depth on this topic.

    I was looking at info about teenagers and alcohol on the internet and came across this: Alcohol - Teenagers and Alcohol: A Guide for Parents Maybe a bit optimistic of the government, but it might be a good place to start. I had a look through and there is some interesting info in there. Probably nothing that hasn't been mentioned in this thread, but I thought I would put it out there anyway

  18. #36

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    Lulu this is purely a question I ask because I am curious... (nothing more - no antagonisim meant).

    Why do we drink alcohol? Why do we do it?

    I used the word "crutch" which of course you are quite correct it isn't always a crutch. But why do we do it? I just picked up my son from a birthday party & the Dad said: "can't wait to sit down in front of the fire with a red after today"... Now, trust me I get that. I get it. I love it. But I love it because for me it helps me relax. So does valium. But it's acceptable to sit down in front of a fire with a red. With 10mgs of valium not so...

    We do this believing we will be in control of what we do. We won't get addicted. We won't do dumb stuff. We can "handle" our grog. We do all of this with the knowledge that it is THE most destructive drug we have readily available - the one that causes the most deaths and injuries...

    Why do we as a society drink? I think because it helps us relax. It helps us feel "high" (in that less uptight, more accepting). It helps us feel braver. It is a societal norm...

    I am interested to know what others think...

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