This is purely an opinion piece, so take my opinion for what it’s worth – a grain of salt if you wish. Either you agree with me or you do not, and there’s no doubt what opinions are like (you know the old saying).
I was at a sporting event not too long ago, and I saw a man and a woman with two kids. Both the man and the woman were drinking beer to beat the band, and I know had to go through $100.00 dollars (or more) just in beer orders to the hawking vendor! They didn’t lose it or anything, but they were clearly tipsy and their kids just looked bored. That same night, and many times before and since, I’ve seen parents drinking when their kids were present, but they weren’t overdoing it at all.
I’m an observer of human nature, and so I couldn’t help asking while observing these examples of human nature, whether parents should drink in front of their children. Since this site extols the joys and virtues (some claim there are none) of beer, spirits, and the like, you might think we’d be biased one way, but you’d be wrong. In fact, the only reason I ask the question is because I’ve seen kids and drinking handled different ways, with no apparent issues. There’s probably no formula that’s definitively right or wrong.
So, should parents drink in front of their children? It’s a fair question, because while we may extol what we consider the virtues of beer and spirits, and a person’s right to enjoy them, we DO NOT extol alcoholism, nor do we extol irresponsible behavior in front our our children!
When I was young, I know now that my parents drank wine and beer socially, but never to the point of inebriation, and NEVER drank in front of us kids. When we became adults, we asked our parents, and they told us that they made the decision to not drink in front of us because they had simply been raised themselves to be keenly aware of the dangers of alcohol. Several of my in-laws on both sides of the family had been alcoholics, and the damage it did was in the forefront of my parent’s minds when we were young. They knew they could control their drinking, but didn’t want to “set a bad example for us.” Fair enough! We didn’t try to sneak around and drink when we were kids, and I’ve always been a responsible drinker as an adult (with the exception of college lol). So, we might conclude my parents did something right with their decision.
On the other hand, I’ve known parents who drank in front of their children at every meal. They weren’t alcoholics either, but grew up in an environment where having a glass of wine at meals was culturally acceptable. Their kids didn’t drink, weren’t allowed to, and usually grew up to drink wine at table themselves. The argument they make is that if they don’t hide it, and even possibly let their kids have a simple taste, their children will not see it as taboo and fall into some temptation to partake of the forbidden fruit (of the vine!). When their kids were given a taste, they hated it, and thus had no desire to taste it again! Fair enough! That method worked for them.
And then, there are other categories out there. There are the parents who don’t drink, won’t drink, and have no plans to. Perhaps it’s because they see all beer, wine, and spirits as evil, or simply don’t enjoy it. Strangely, sometimes the children of these same parents grow up to become alcoholics anyway! There are also those parents like what I observed at the sporting event I attended – who I think irresponsibly drink to inebriation in front of their children. For me, that should be a definite NO NO, but that’s just my opinion.
How do you feel about the subject? Should parents drink in front of their children, and if so, how should they handle their drinking? Should they hide it or handle it openly? Among those of you who are parents now, soon-to-be parents, or hope to be someday… if you enjoy a good beer, a nice cocktail, or a glass of wine, you should consider this question carefully now. Beer, wine, and spirits can be very enjoyable, and I personally believe their gifts to use that should never be abused. As my grandmother used to say – everything in moderation! Because they can be abused to embarrassment, great pain, and even death, all parents should consider the question delicately, and with wisdom.