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Thread: Alcohol

  1. #73

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    I must reiterate that this being an Australian site obviously I am taking an Australian perspective. Of course it is great that you girls from all over are in here to to add your 2cents about issues, it's really is terrific to have a global perspective on issues relating to pregnancy and birth and child related issues. I am however unwaivering on my stance in this issue and do not apologise for having my belief.
    I'm interested to know if anyone has any studies on the damage small amounts of alcohol (a sip of wine, one watered down glass a quarter) actually does?
    Bec I believe the studies actually extends to the long term effect of giving alcohol regularly. and this is where my big problem is with the parents that regularly give their children alcohol. Although it is a known fact that alcohol kills brain cells.

    I don't know why people see the need to make their child adults before their time, My main point is we should allow children to be children, how does giving your small child alcohol prepare them for later on in life, seriously how much of your early childhood have you retained that prepared you for alcohol use, I find it absurd, I'm sorry if that offends some people but that is the reality.

    How do you justify to your child that YOU take the drug? I don't like "do as i say, not as i do" because in my experience it erodes respect. If you want your child to obey your word but you do not practice what you preach, how can they respect you?
    Ummmmm because I'm the adult!!! Again I say it is ok to be the parent, someone has to be. I actually think that that is what is wrong in this world today, to many people want to be friends with their children, nobody is there to set boundaries of what is acceptable because they are to afraid to be the bad guy occassionally. Sorry Bec but I've been a parent for 11 years and I can tell you that my new parent ideals have been replaced with realistic ideals about parenting. Which involves me being the parent. Respect is earnt, yeah I agree with that, But I'm old school here in that I believe children need to respect their elders until such time as the elders no longer deserve their respect, that would have to be something pretty drastic though.

    If your DH told you under no circumstances did he think your family should have a tv and then, passing his shed/study you heard him watching a tv he'd been hiding for himself, how would you feel?
    Bec I missed your point here completely. Like most Australian families, My DH and I are partners, with a half share in all decisions, he is my peer, our children are below us in the ranks, This is the Australian culture. Children are children until they become adults and when mine do become adults I hope they go on to share my ideals that I have instilled in them. You can not treat a child like an adult because they simply are not adults, they do not have ther commonsense or maturity it understand complex adult issues and again Why the rush, let them be children, it's over in no time and they will be adults for the rest of their lives.
    Yes children learn by example but you don't have to put your child's hand in fire to teach them it is hot. Open communication, the ability to discuss issues rationally and openly is the answer with a touch of Mother knows best.

    So that, no calpol, no aspirin, no antibiotics... alcohol does have some medicinal purposes.
    This is an absurd statement, really clutching at straws there matey, and really doesn't warrant a response as much as a ....pftt.

    I also believe that it is exactly the giving of alcohol to children from an early age that contributes to the binge drinking. It is the children who have access to the alcohol who are more likely to have it. They are more likely to have the party at their house since alcohol is more available to them and hey its a great way to win friends!!

    If you are giving it to them in such small quantities tell me what is the point. It would hardly have a taste, so how would they get the taste of alcohol? What would then be the difference in giving your small child watered down coke in their sippy cup, just for a taste. If you want them to get an appreciation for fermanted grapes then why not just give them watered down grape juice, without the alcohol.



    Ryn and Bec I truely value your opinions on various issues and have had occasions to spread the love with other issues. However no amout of justification or rallying the troups will sway my mind on this issue, call it culture clash what ever you want but the facts remain the facts. We could argue this til the cows come home. I think we should agree to disagree and move on.

  2. #74

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    Forgive me for coming in late, but this is a topic I feel quite strongly about. It is definitely true that the drinking culture in Europe is different to here. Is it better or worse? Well, Australia is such a binge drinking culture now that I find it hard to believe that anywhere else could be worse. Honestly, is it even possible to have any sort of social activity anymore without alcohol being involved?

    The reason I feel so strongly about this, is that I have seen first hand the damage drinking can do. I have seen a close friend binge drink to the point where he has ended up in hospital after an alcohol rage with no recollection of about 12 hours. I have had a close friend drink drive, have an accident and injure a mate. I have seen countless instances of "a beer after work on Friday" end up with a huge all nighter with all sorts of problems occurring (a fight, lost/stolen wallet and phone, a mugging, unable to help with his own moving house the next morning, just to name a few).

    And look at what has recently happened in Brisbane. On two occassions, drunk guys have punched a stranger in alcohol induced rage. In each case the victim died, yet both perpertrators were acquitted as they were drunk they could not be held responsible for their actions. And one of them has just recently been in court again charged with another case of assault from alcohol induced rage. How is that a valid defence? Surely it is a bl**dy good reason for not drinking!

    But what I think is that the problem is not solved by either giving teenagers alcohol or banning it. It is solved by a whole range of measures. These include modelling responsible drinking behaviours, and by explaining the harm alcohol can do. But mostly they involve ensuring a child grows up feeling loved and nurtured, so that they don't feel the need to fill a void with drugs. And they also involve teaching a child (and I think this is particularly true of males) how to deal with their emotions and express them, instead of using drugs to escape from them.

  3. #75
    mummycate Guest

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    i agree melanieR, alcohol is not an excuse for causing bodily harm to someone. unless someone forced the alcohol into your mouth, it is your decision to alter your conscience and then you are accountable for your own actions. well said.

  4. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by MelanieR View Post
    But what I think is that the problem is not solved by either giving teenagers alcohol or banning it. It is solved by a whole range of measures. These include modelling responsible drinking behaviours, and by explaining the harm alcohol can do. But mostly they involve ensuring a child grows up feeling loved and nurtured, so that they don't feel the need to fill a void with drugs. And they also involve teaching a child (and I think this is particularly true of males) how to deal with their emotions and express them, instead of using drugs to escape from them.

    Perfectly said Melanie

    I also agree Ryn, Coke is a very harmful substance and I never allow my children to drink it.

    I'm confident enough in my skills as a parent to continue doing what I am doing regarding the consumption of alcohol in our house. If my 4yo asks for a sip of wine then he can have one. The ammount he has consumed to date would be less than a tablespoon I would say. I think I would rather that than he sneak off behind the couch and drink a whole bottle during our next party (he does actually like the taste BTW). It's not like we even make a fuss when we let him have a taste... and we would never allow him to get drunk I don't like the suggestion that because I allow a sip that I would actively seek to see him drunk.

    I'm not going to get hysterical over this issue. And I'm not out to change anyone else's minds about it. I agree with Dee: kids should be allowed to be kids, however I personally do not see the harm in allowing an occassional sip of wine at the table. It is the done thing with most of my European friends and family and I personally have seen MORE alcohol abuse ammongst my Anglo friends and family where it has been turned into a taboo. There are many things I do as an adult that I do not allow my children to do... I am not trying to win a popularity contest and even though I allow a sip of wine at the table I will not being buying alcohol for my DD... EVER! Hmmm, maybe I'll buy her a drink at her 21st LOL

    ETA: my 4yo took his first communion recently... I guess he had a sip of red wine then? Or maybe it was just grape juice... i didn't ask.
    Last edited by Bathsheba; August 8th, 2007 at 03:10 PM.

  5. #77

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    O.K - who around here can compare? I certainly think there is a cultural difference. Are we aussies really that bad?
    I for one am sick to death of EVERTHING having to involve alcohol - or maybe just Dp's family that seem to think every one of my kids birthdays needs a slab to celebrate.
    A friend of mine moved far away from the city to give up the drink. We couldn't go anywhere without alcohol being the main theme........

    ETA - def agree with Bath's quote from Mel - good one.

  6. #78

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    Coolabahdee, I am not going to talk specifically alcohol here, but I really hate the slurs on my parenting. OF COURSE DS is my child, not my friend. OF COURSE I am going to tell him No a lot of the time. However, I am going to pick my battles wisely and teen consumption of a little alcohol, not teen drunkenness, is not a battle I will pick. We are going to teach him you don't need alcohol to be happy or make a celebration, but the odd glass isn't a bad thing. I will demonise drunkenness. not drink.

    I do agree with Bec though - too much "do as I say" and too little "do as I do" doesn't help relations. Why do I have to go to XYZ thing when Mum sits at home telling me she chooses for me to do something I dislike? How come parent can swear but I can't? OK, not drinking as an issue, but I won't use bad language so when I tell DS not to, he will listen. He will have other means of expressing himself. Unless he's out with friends and we know where he's going (or at school), DH or I will be with him so we don't make him attend things he dislikes alone, be that sport or Grandma's house.

    You can be a parent and still respect your child.

  7. #79

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    Oooh, I like your last paragraph, Mel! Very true.
    I am one who does not believe that allowing a sip upon request is harmful, given the right convergence of circumstances. My mum often drinks too much. My dad doesn't drink much, even at parties...and he's Irish. DP's family has been touched by drink - my FIL was an alcoholic (a 'benign' one, IYKWIM) and my MIL drinks beer not even in moderation, just from time to time, and not much. The last time I was sick from drink was the night before my sister's wedding 3 years ago. I have always been aware of alcohol, but not as a taboo. I had sips as a child and I understood it's nature in my family as something that accompanies a meal, or to share with friends. I didn't even start buying it when I turned 18, because I had enough with having half a glass maybe once a week at home, usually a lot less often than that. My sister got started with beer with her friends when she was still at school. Same family, different directions. We went through our 'phases' and now neither of us drinks a lot again.
    I am not going to have a blanket ban on alcohol for DS in my house. DS will see that his grandma can't hold her drink. He'll see that DP sometimes has too much and whilst he is funny and goofy when drunk, his uncle is just unpleasant. He will see that his grandad (my dad, FIL passed away) gets so sleepy that he becomes useless. As he's still breastfeeding, he will see mummy have a small amount of wine on a weekend, or out with friends to dinner, and he will see me retain my dignity. So, he will not see just one outcome from alcohol. He will see that it is something that must be treated with respect.
    I think it's awesome that the OP was even consulted about permission to serve her daughter alcohol. To me that reflects well on that parent. It also instills in the kids (as much as they are resenting it for now) that alcohol IS to be respected, and not treated as a right.
    Yes, sadly, our Australian culture does not impart a respect for alcohol. It's a given at just about all occasions. That's sad. It is also, somehow, a given that one must become obliterated on alcohol to get the full effect. Unlike other cultures, where the effects of overconsumption are known, we expect alcohol to be excessively drunk at parties and functions. It's a wonder anyone drinks fine wine or good beer just for the taste or for a very mild relaxation effect. People accuse you of being straight if you stop drinking once you can feel an effect. I'd rather be the straight one than the one who feels queasy the next day!
    By the same token, I very much respect the stance that other families take with alcohol. If you've gauged the situation and consider that no alcohol is to be consumed till children are of age, then I'm a nobody to question your particular situation. You have your own family histories, local custom and expectations, cultural dynamics to consider.
    I think it's great that this thread has caused a few of us to assess our own situations!

  8. #80

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    Good points Lulu, Ryn and Maya. I'm thinking outside my own immediate family now and I guess I could easily imagine a scenario where I would also be hesitant to introduce alcohol too early, if at all. Fortunately there isn't the expectation that every celebration/get together needs a slab with our extended family/friends. We can easily have family functions sans alcohol. We have one relative who might have an issue but I've never seem him drunk. Infact I've hardly ever seen drunkness in our extended family at all. Most of us enjoy a nice red with meals but it's only 1 or 2 glasses. Some of the uncles like a beer in summer... but they don't over do it... most just having the one or two over the course of an afternoon. If there was an over emphasis on drinking I think I would be sensitive to the issue. So I definately agree that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to this issue

  9. #81

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    I have been thinking about this from various perspectives. Saying that a child can have alcohol pre-Seniors (as I have said) sounds really wrong, even to me.

    But, in another 11 years, if DH and I are having a glass of wine with a meal and DS would like some, giving him a taste or a watered down glass of his own isn't going to do harm. DH thinks the odd taste is OK earlier, so I am aware that if DS goes on fishing/racing days with DH he may have the odd taste of bitter. As this is an acquired taste he probably won't ask for more.

    Age 15-16 in a restaurant, DS may well be allowed one small glass of wine or a half-pint, but on water the rest of the time. But it would be small amounts on the odd occasion.

    It certainly wouldn't be with every meal, just as we don't drink with every meal, but once or twice a month having a small drink at the age of 16 is a lot less harmful than turning 18 and going out and getting smashed just because you can. I am hoping DS will be driving age 18 so will have less incentive to drink anyway.

    Anyway, just thinking about this. Everyone is different and IMO, that makes this place so fantastic - we are made to think about decisions we would have just made blindly before. I am sticking to my original decision in this case, but it has made me think and research it more. My main reason is that the senior school DS will attend may well have children from homes with large amounts of alcohol going on (sadly, the catchment area includes the slightly less than desirable neighbourhood of the nearby town as well as our very genteel English village) and I don't want someone giving him a drink at school to be his first introduction to alchol (and yes, alcohol in schools does happen, or at least it did when I was growing up). Illegal drugs he will have it hammered into him that everyone says NO to that, but IMO saying "mummy says yes and DS says no" isn't going to promote DS to say no all the time. Just my opinion on this matter though.

  10. #82
    paradise lost Guest

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    Sorry Bec but I've been a parent for 11 years and I can tell you that my new parent ideals have been replaced with realistic ideals about parenting. Which involves me being the parent.
    Apology accepted. I understand what you're trying to say here Dee, but if someone had said that to you 9 and a half years ago would you have bowed to their obvious greater wisdom or would you have felt, "hang on a sec, I'M a parent too! And now i can't have an opinion until Smee is 11 and by then her kid will be 22 so i'll still have no idea and no right to my methods or opinions??"? Because to be honest i am feeling the latter. By saying that you have effectively stripped my opinion of any worth. I will NEVER catch up with that. Only by having DD when i was 14 could i now match your experience.

    I think we should agree to disagree and move on.
    Do you know, i think i'll do JUST that.

    Bx

  11. #83

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    Bec please point out the bit where I stripped you of your opinion, a little nasty and over the top don't you think?
    In that sentence where I was addressing my own evolution as a parent in response to your pointed questions, I wrote in response to your direct almost attacking question. So what I am now hearing is; it is ok for you to single me out and directly question me but it is not ok that I addressed those direct questions back to you. Hardly fair is it? There is no need to make it personal like that. As I said I agree with you on many other issues and we don't have to agree on everything. You have been vocal in stating your opinion on this issue as have I. I disagree with giving children any alcohol of any quantity, you don't see a problem with it so as I said lets just agree to disagree.


    Kate and Melanie, I couldn't agree more, but you know how it is...gotta share the love.
    Last edited by Coolabahdee; August 9th, 2007 at 07:13 AM.

  12. #84
    paradise lost Guest

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    I'm sorry Dee, it is very possible that i completely misinterpreted what you said.

    When you said
    Sorry Bec but I've been a parent for 11 years and I can tell you that my new parent ideals have been replaced with realistic ideals about parenting. Which involves me being the parent.
    i thought that you meant that because i only have 16 months parenting experience under my belt my opinion and intention re: respect etc. was just "new parent ideals" and not "realistic ideals about parenting" and thus not to be taken seriously.

    I'm sorry you found my question attacking, i was only asking you your own question back about the drugs because i thought perhaps you would have, as you have done in the past on several other topics, a new gem of an idea about it. I wasn't attacking you i was curious to see how you explained to your kids why it's ok for you to have alcohol and not for them, that's all. I wasn't raised in that sort of household (my parents were more do as i do) so i have no experience of it. Forgive me, it really was naivety and not an attack.

    I also didn't mean to be singling you out as such, i was just responding personally to the personal statement you made to me (quoted above already). I guess it comes down to interpretation where an exchange of views aimed at a specific person (like if i say "Dee...." or you say "Bec....") becomes being "singled out".

    I do not agree with your viewpoint necessarily but i certainly don't dismiss it. It is certainly valid for you and we all have to tread our own paths in life. I have not and am not trying to convince you that my way is better than yours, it i only better for ME. I have to admit i found your next to last post quite dismissive of me and my viewpoint, and the viewpoints of others (specifically Ryn who you said didn't warrant a response to what i felt was a valid point) which is probably why i over-reacted. I'm sorry. I guess we all have bad days, myself included.

    And as such i am more than willing to agree to disagree and move on.

    Back to topic, i realised earlier when Smee was freaking out an i was hunting for, and failing to find, the Rescue Remedy, that ALL Bach Flower Remedies are suspended in alcohol. I rarely use it (can't FIND it! lol) but i know a lot of kids who have it fairly regularly for tantrums etc. Was just thinking about it in terms of what Ryn said about alcohol having medicinal properties... Does that count as alcohol or medicine? It's probably about the same content as watered down wine or whatever, and it IS medicine. Any thoughts anyone?

    Bec
    Last edited by paradise lost; August 9th, 2007 at 02:51 AM.

  13. #85

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    The alcohol is purely a preservative/carrier. That stuff is brilliant so I'd say the benefits far outweigh any teeny risk...

  14. #86
    paradise lost Guest

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    Apparently the carrier is 50:50 water and brandy.

    Bx

  15. #87

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    Wow I didn't realise the Beck... and I use rescue remedy with Matilda on really bad days. Hmmmm....

    I am coming in late, once again, on this debate. But from personal experience I have to say the more importance we put on alchohol, the more our children will desire it. In my house as young teens I was allowed some brandy at night when I had AF visit. I had awful periods and mum would let me have something to help me sleep at night. We were allowed a glass of wine with big family dinners, so not all the time but occasionally. We were given baileys in coffee when we were 17-18 (drinking age 21 in US). And we didn't binge drink, my brother and I always were designated drivers. Our friends however, who had to hide alcohol had serious issues with it. We lost friends due to drunk driving and we watched friends go down a long road of alcoholism. Our friends families refused to discuss alcohol with them and ignored all the signs.

    I think the most healthy way of approaching it is making it realistic. Lead as a parent by example. Matilda knows what wine is, she calls it special mummy & daddy juice. We have it occasionally and she knows that it is something she can not have until she is much older. We plan to lead by example, if she is curious as a teenager we want her to come to us, not her friends. I won't go out & buy her alcohol for a party, but I will let her have a small glass occasionally at dinner.

  16. #88

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    Well said Christy.

    Very interesting about Bach's Rescue Remedy... and what about cough mixture, most has alcohol...and I think Listerine has too? So I don't think consuming such tiny quantities will do any harm to my children's health. We don't drink wine at every meal either BTW. Maybe twice a week.

    I also forgot to add that I also make the odd Martini for myself and DH. I do not allow my children to taste that. Spirits is a totally different thing for me. This is where I definately would say to my children: "No, this is only for mummy and daddy". But wine is different... I don't know why. I'm sorry if my parenting outrages people but at least I'm being upfront about it *shrug*.

    The posters who have very strong views on this also have to be aware that by posting in a vehemently strong fashion could just make readers who allow a sip of wine with children at meal times just not admit it.

    None of us have crystal balls. No one here can claim that their strategy of teaching responsible drinking will work. We all have different experiences the effects of alcohol on people and can only be expected to do what feels right. I personally prefer to diminish the desire by adopting the European approach. To me the Anglo approach has not has as much success. Yes I know this is generalising. Once again please be aware that i do not give my children watered down drinks (wine) of their own. They have about 2/3 sips a week (from my glass) and given that a dose of cough mixture would contain more actual alcohol then i see no reason to be concerned for my children's health. If you are concerned about the message I am giving my children then yes, we have to agree to disagree.

    Still I understand the outrage to a certain degree: I feel the same way when i see parents giving soft drinks to their kids.... and letting them drink Coke like it's water People might say my children don't need wine... I say their kids don't need soft drink. I could count on one hand the ammount of times my 4yo has had a soft drink. We only have it in the house for special occasions and even then i try to avoid giving it to my 4yo. I would say that the impact of soft drink consumption on the health of Australian children is much greater than the health impact of children who are allowed 2/3 sips of wine each week.
    Last edited by Bathsheba; August 9th, 2007 at 01:54 PM.

  17. #89

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    I have to agree with you Christy. I was brought up in a household were alcohol was not taboo, and I never binge drank as a teen nor did I get crazy. I have never blacked out or lost my memory whilst drinking and whilst I do like to make ****tails and have an awesome bar collection, most of its been there for nearly 6 yrs plus and we don't drink all that often.

    I grew up with 5 oclock bourbon/brandy/scotch. With my grandparents and they still do it to this day. Strangely none of the kids or grandkids have ever had a problem with alcohol. It was not taboo, it was not seen as a "drug" or an escapism it just was a part of life. I used to hate it the few times I saw my mum "under the influence" as a kid and gave her HEAPS for it. My father was never a big drinker, but I think my mother's embarressing moments (I think I can remember 2 all up) was probably a big hinderance for me too.

    And Bath I totally agree with you when it comes to coke.

    But there are always going to be 2 sides for this argument, and I am comfortable with my choices.

    *hugs*
    Cailin

  18. #90

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    I am sorry, but I actually dont think that this is a cultural debate, Just from reading the posts I have heard a lot of aussie mums who dont have an issue with giving the odd glass of wine to their children. I am an australian and I was given a glass of wine as a child if the occasion called for it and I am by no means a binge drinker because of it. When I do have children I intend to allow them a drink of wine on special occasionns, wine has a number of health benefits and i dont believe there to be any negative health consequences in such small quantities. I believe that this will help to teach that you do not have to drink to get drunk, but rather that you can drink and enjoy it as a social custom.

    I agree with you Hoobley, I dont think that it is the objective to raise children, but rather to raise adults.

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