I strongly disagree. I will continue to make and like and share all the jokes I want, AND I talk with my kids about alcohol already, even though they are both under age twelve.
We talk about drinking responsibly. We talk about the difference between a casual drink or two and being drunk. We talk about how to stay safe and continue being responsible even if drunk. We talk about age laws and why they exist. We talk about the fact that – technically – alcohol is a poison to our bodies. We talk about the fact that lots of teenagers drink under age 19 – the legal age here. I have told them how old I was when I first began drinking (17). We talk about how young they might be when the opportunities might arise for them. We talk about consequences – not “punishments” – but hangovers and scary risky decisions (I make them age appropriate examples of risks), and the drawbacks. We talk about what it feels like to drink a little versus a lot. We talk about the different ways alcohol affects different people’s behaviours. We talk about why people drink for so many different reasons. We talk about alcoholism. We talk about the choices I would prefer for them to make while underage, but they also understand that it will have to be their choice to make – not mine – when the time comes. They know that questions are welcomed. They know I am their “safe place.” They know that if they make different decisions than I would prefer, that my primary concern will be their safety, and that they are to come to me if they need help or especially a safe ride if they do one day choose to drink irresponsibly. They know that if a friend makes this decision and their friend is afraid to call home but needs help, that it will be okay to call me then too because safety should be the utmost priority.
We talk, and we keep on talking. Together.
The point I made the very clearest is that SAFETY is what I want for them. At their current ages, they claim they will NEVER drink underage. I tell them I believe them but if that ever changes, they are to call me when they need someone. To NEVER be afraid to come to me, no matter how much trouble they are in or expect to be in. That, even if it doesn’t always feel like it, I am ALWAYS on their side.
These talks about alcohol usually take places when Mommy has a drink. I don’t know if we’d ever have covered all this – and so easily – if I wasn’t honest and open about my own alcohol preferences and feelings.
Kids are smart. Give them credit and be open and honest. That goes a helluva a lot further than to pretend it is what it isn’t!
IT’S OKAY TO RELAX WITH A GLASS OF WINE. IT’S OKAY TO TAKE A “NIGHT OFF” AND GO BOOZE IT UP. IT’S ALSO OKAY TO BE HONEST ABOUT IT.