Kids and Alcohol

At one point, you always talk to your kids about drugs, sex and rock and roll.  We’ve all done it.  We’ve all been there.  With out kids, we have always made a point of being honest and up front.  We’ve also given our kids a long enough last that they feel empowered yet safe.  When the leash is short, chances are they will rebel.  If the leash is long, chances are they won’t take it until they feel comfortable.  You have to treat them and respect them or they won’t respect you.  It’s mutual.  But at the end of the day, you are the parent.

Interesting enough, I have found most parents have had the conversation about sex with their kids at a relatively young age.  After all, they are pretty curious.  Then as girls and boys mature, the conversation about your body is yours etc.  No means no.  Don’t do something that is going to make you feel uncomfortable, etc.  Know what you are doing and getting into.  Then, the bigger picture, how to have safe sex.  How not to get pregnant.

I have also found parents to have the drug conversation (cigarettes t00).  That conversation is basically don’t do it.  That is unrealistic.  Kids are kids.  They want to experiment just like you did.  So, how can you help them avoid problems down the line.  Talk to them about what might happen if they do partake.  Talk about peer pressure.  Most importantly talk about the realities of smoking pot.

The one conversation I have found that parents do not talk about it alcohol.  Everyone does it.  Everyone tries it.  We read every year of kids that die of alcohol poisoning.  Car accidents.  Drunken parties where kids get sick and trash stuff.  Parents punish their kids, laugh it off and life goes on.  Somehow, that is more acceptable.  To me the conversation about alcohol is the most important conversation you can have. 

The access to alcohol is easy.  Fake id’s are a dime a dozen.  How do you educate your kids about alcohol?

We have always had the kids taste wine, our drinks or beer.  They know what it tastes like.  We have also been honest about them about drinking and what happens.  Rules such as don’t mix alcohol.  If you drink wine, stick with wine.  If you drink beer, stick with beer, etc.  Mixing hard liquor with fruit drinks means you have no idea how much you are actually drinking.  Also, the combination is potent.  Drink slowly.  If you haven’t eaten all day, really drink slowly.  If you start to feel a little drunk, stop drinking until you feel comfortable, don’t drink more. If you put your drink down at a party, don’t pick it up again.  Someone might have put something in it.  Don’t get in a car with someone who is drinking.  Be aware of who is drinking with you.  Bottom line, these are rules that adults live by.  Pace yourself.  You could watch your friends down 5 shots in a row and get really sick and pass out.  Understand that drinking is not for that.  That’s not fun.

Perhaps people think we’re crazy but as our kids are entering the teenage years, they can tell you that they understand how to drink.  If you think it won’t happen, you’re wrong.  Better you teach them the realities, just like sex, than them trying to figure it out on their own.  Accidents happen.

Honest conversations with your kids will pay off in the long run.  Pretending that it won’t happen won’t.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Paul

    Awesome. Thanks for sharing gotham gal. I hope Janine and i can be as honest and straightforward with our kids as you have been with yours. We plan to, I just can’t even imagine it yet… :–)

  2. jon

    I have thought about this topic a lot. I see the more “advanced” of my daughter’s peers (she is 14, Manhattan private school, etc.) starting to experiment with all sorts of things, including alcohol. She is in a slower crowd and not there yet, I think. We’ve encouraged her to taste alcohol (wine mostly) to understand more about it, but she either won’t do it in front of us or really does dislike the taste. We’ve had the discussions like the ones you’ve described and I think it has penetrated.

    We’ve seen those first steps of experimentation by her friends lead to some pretty disasterous problems (stomach pumps from alcohol overdoses, kids off to drug re-hab “boot camp” at age 14, etc.) and naturally want to protect her from that. One kid she grew up with has the potential to become a really bad influence. She steers clear of others, but I don’t know how to deal with some of her nursery/lower school buds who have become pretty scary. She has good judgement and we have to let her grow up — but I don’t know how to cope with some of those long-standing relationships (especially where the parents are close friends).