Yes, I Drink Alcohol and Yes, I Sometimes Drink In Front Of My Kid
“Do you think parents should drink in front of their kids?”
“No. No way. Definitely not.”
“Really? Why not?”
“Because the kids and little tiny babies might not know what it is and they will get it and drink beer.”
“Oh, yeah, that would be super bad. But I drink in front of you. Is that okay?”
“Yeah, that’s obviously fine since you drank beer like 1,467 times in front of me.”
“Right. Not all at once, but yes. Why is that different?”
“Because I know what it is.”
“Yeah, that’s super important. You know not to drink it and you know what alcohol would do to your body and why it’s bad for you because of how old you are. Is it okay for parents to drink in front of their kids if the kids know what it is?”
“Yeah, it’s fine if the kids know it’s beer or something.”
“What happens if grown ups or parents drink too much of it in front of their kids?”
“I would tell them to stop!”
“Yeah, you could, but I don’t think that’s really your responsibility. I think it’s the grown ups responsibility to take care of their own body and make sure they’re always being safe, especially around kids.”
“Yeah, I think so too.”
I drink in front of my kid. At the beach or on the porch after work or I have a beer while we play basketball in the driveway or at dinner in a restaurant or at home. She sometimes yells at me to put it down if we’re playing and it’s my turn to catch the ball, though less frequently than she tells me to put down my phone, but that’s another post for another time. I have a personal two drink rule when she’s around. Or less. Mostly less. But always? I tell her what I’m doing. I mention that I’m getting a beer, or I tell her that there’s tequila in my drink and that a small amount of tequila is the same alcohol as a full beer. I let her smell it, but never let her drink it. She has never asked for a sip, anyway, because she’s the Rule Police.
“I’m never going to drink when I get older.”
“I don’t think that’s true. It’s okay if you want to drink when you get older, you know.”
“Don’t say that! My body! My rules!”
“That’s totally true and I definitely want you to follow your own rules for your own body. But I also want to be sure that you understand that alcohol isn’t bad on it’s own. It’s the way people can use it that can be bad. You can drink alcohol and be super responsible about it and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
I’m not sure she heard me beyond, “That’s totally true…” but that’s fine. I keep talking.
I love what Dr. Alvord says about drinking being an adult behavior, like driving. Because I know that my own kid tends to see it in terms of good vs. bad, and in our conversations, I’ll be working on getting away from that a bit. I guess that’s why we talk early and talk often.
What do you think? Do you drink in front of your kids? Have you ever talked to them about it? What do they think?
This post is sponsored by Responsibility.org. I am working with them as a #TalkEarly blogger this year to help them “Empower parents to be confident about their own decisions regarding alcohol, model healthy, balanced behaviors, and create a foundation for starting conversations with their kids from an early age.” Let’s all do that. Because that totally rules.