Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Alcohol and Teenagers

I've been thinking about my boys growing up (as ya do). Or more precisely, about alcohol and my children growing up and thinking about their consumption of it.

When does this start? I mean, I know the laws and legalities of what age they're allowed to start drinking in public, but now that they're older, should I be introducing it to them at home slowly in some sort of way?

Years ago when they were about 11 and 12, Anna and I took them out for dinner at a local restaurant and I ordered a shandy for them both (mixture of beer and lemonade for anyone who does know). I told the barman to put more lemonade than beer. I just wanted to show them it was ok to have a little bit, and that despite what they could've overheard about what I've said about their Dad drinking, that I wasn't going to forbid the stuff completely passing their lips.

Besides, I think if I was giving the impression it was evil, they'll be hitting the liquor store with a mission from the time they turn 'of age'. Or worse, drinking behind my back...which we all know can result in trying to pour down as much as possible before mum finds out, thus feeling like complete and utter shit and possibly hurling it all back up again.

From what I can gather, they've had a few 'sips' of beer or wine when they're at their Dads on the weekend occasionally. When we went out for dinner for my 40th they both had a glass of bubbly.

So, tell me...what do you think? How many of you were the ages of my two and never had alcohol before? And how many of you don't know anyone at that age that's been off their faces and spewing because of it? Should I buy some lite beer or vodka mixes to have in the fridge so my kids can have a taste every now and then? Or should I forget about it completely until they are of the legal drinking age?

The same goes for sex. There are definitely kids out there doing it well before the legal age of 16. Doesn't anyone abide by the rules anymore?

The legal age for drinking in New Zealand is 18. It used to be 20, but six years ago they passed a law in parliament bringing it down to 18. From what I can gather, parliament is thinking of reinstating it back to 20 years. So my kids are way down the scale of the legal drinking age. But that doesn't stop some kids does it? They go ahead and sneak around getting shitfaced on the stuff, and half the time their parents don't even know it's happening.

How do I integrate this into their lives without them going haywire on it? How do they start travelling down this road in a responsible fashion? They're still so young. Too young as far as I'm concerned. That age is set by law for a reason.

Or do I feel this way because I'm their mother? Fuck, I don't know.
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