Should you drink in front of your children?
Drinking and children. These two words are not often put in the same sentence or in one's mind. Yet last week I read an opinion piece by an appalled mother whose tough stance on alcohol left some of us cowering in a corner - those who don't mind a tipple with the kids around.
This mum went to an afternoon gathering with her daughter's eight-year-old friends and their parents.
She was shocked when more than a handful of parents were enjoying an alcoholic beverage at the get together at 2pm. She left the event immediately, disgusted at their actions.
Now for regular readers of my column, you already know I'm not perfect and you may also have worked out that I like to enjoy things in life, am all for equality and giving our children a fair go. Well I also like a drink every now and again and, yes, sometimes when the kids are around. At my son's birthday party a little while ago there were a dozen kids and half a dozen parents milling around my backyard.
I did wonder if it would be frowned upon, but I offered the parents beer or wine along with the regular tea or coffee.
Perhaps my trepidation at asking did tell me it's not necessarily the thing to do at kids' parties, yet the response made it clear that it was socially acceptable.
Four of the six parents took me up on an alcoholic drink, with thanks in their eyes and grateful replies.
The other two were not distraught at the thought, but simply declined.
This does not make me, and every other parent hiding behind me, a bad parent. It also doesn't mean our children will have a bad relationship with alcohol when they're older. What it does mean is that as long as we are responsible with our drinking in front of children (not getting trashed) and ensure we can have fun most of the time without a drink, then there's no reason not to enjoy a gathering with a couple of cold ones.
Surely common sense and moderation are some of the biggest lessons we can teach our children. And with the school holidays and festive season well and truly under way, Christmas in a couple of days and New Year's Eve just around the corner, I hope you can also enjoy your time with friends and family, with or without a drink, regardless of what others choose to do. Merry Christmas.
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