There’s been a few bits and pieces in the UK press recently about parents allowing their kids to drink alcohol with them at an earlier age than 18. It’s obviously sparked a huge of a reaction from bodies like the Good Parenting Guides all the way to Alcohol Concern. But is the backlash all a bit over the top?
To a certain extent it’s not. But that’s mostly because of the reasons some parents have given for letting their kids drink. One of the most startling was that kids were being offered a drink as a reward for doing well at school. What? I mean, what????? What ever happened to offering the wifi password or half an hour’s tele or something like that?
My overall feeling though is that you should teach kids from a slightly earlier age that wine and beer and whatever is nothing special. It’s something to be respected, and enjoyed with family and friends and food, and in moderation. My French colleague lets his 10 and 13 year old daughters smell wine and develop their palates. In a couple of years the elder one will be having a couple of glasses of watered down wine with dinner. The need to go out and get blasted on a taboo drug whilst underage just won’t be there for her.
My own experience was as a proper Anglo Saxon. I was sneaking beers from 14, getting older kids to buy it for me, and thought getting drunk was seriously cool. University was a complete blur of Snakebite and Aftershock, and it wasn’t until joining the wine industry that I started to gain that respect for alcohol as a drug. I drink a heck of a lot less now than I did back then. Maybe if it hadn’t been such a “thing”, then I wouldn’t have felt the need.
Might even have done a bit better in my degree! 🙂
Picture from the Telegraph’s Lifestyle page