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Moms & Dads Who Drink

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Moms & Dads Who Drink

Salon recently posted an article titled When “mommy needs a drink” isn’t funny anymore: http://www.salon.com/2013/11/24/when_mommy_needs_a_drink_isnt_funny_anymore/
It was written by the adult daughter of an alcoholic, and sheds light on today’s parenting culture- martini playdates, beer served at kid birthday parties, books about why mommy drinks, etc.
At first glance, I thought the article was judging moms who drink. But it really raised the issue of when drinking becomes a problem and not “fun anymore.” While I agree that alcoholic parents pose a huge, often lifelong, problem for their kids (I reflect often that some of my personality traits are a direct result of being the daughter of an alcoholic dad)… Is being a social drinker in front of your kids a bad thing? I have a glass of wine when I cook dinner at night, and will drink a beer at a kid birthday party. Am I sending a bad message to my daughter that alcohol is necessary to relax/have fun? While I’m definitely not an alcoholic, this Salon article got me thinking about where the line lies.

Comments

  1. I read that too Stephanie! To be honest, I still don’t know where I stand with drinking in front of my son (when he’s old enough to notice).

    My parents never drank in front of me, but that is because they both came from families of alcoholics, so they were worried with that history if I saw drinking I might see it as OK and then fall into the same traps their families did (and with a known genetic susceptibility given the history). I do think it made an impact and sent me a message (and no I did not “revolt” in college any more than a normal kid, so I don’t always buy the “If you make it forbidden….” argument) – but I think a lot of it has to do with my own personality. I think if your kid seems obsessed with “mommy’s wine” or “daddy’s drink” then maybe it’s time to reconsider your beverage choice. And figure out what you are comfortable with. For me, I’m still not sure!

    PS: My child DEFINITELY knows “mommy needs her coffee” though!!

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    1. Yeah, my daughter drew me a picture last week that she knew would capture my heart- a coffee cup with rising steam! I was impressed that she drew it so well, and that she knows me so well. 🙂

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  2. My dad is/was also an alcoholic, and I’m positive that it’s the reason I don’t really drink. I’m also Diabetic, and “tipsy” feels like low blood sugar to me, and I hate that feeling! I have and will occasionally partake in an adult beverage, but it’s far from the norm for me. My husband’s father is also an alcoholic. My husband doesn’t always know when one more drink is one too many, and it worries/bothers me. He doesn’t drink every day either and never if he’s going to be alone with the baby, so at least he’s responsible about it. I don’t think drinking alcohol (even in front of your children) makes you a bad parent, but I think getting INTOXICATED in front of your children might. It sets a poor example and could potentially put them in danger.

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    1. Such a good point, Kristen, that having a drink and appearing intoxicated are two different things. And making sure your child never sees you tipsy involves knowing your limits! Not only could it be dangerous, as you pointed out, but your child seeing you intoxicated can make them worry and feel a lack of stability. I don’t worry about that, as I know my limits and don’t go there when my daughter is around, but I wonder more about her just seeing me have a drink.

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    2. I think that having a drink and not getting intoxicated can actually be a good example for your children. You’re teaching by example how to be a RESPONSIBLE drinker. I have no problems with drinking responsibly in front of your children and even think that it is a good lesson for them. I definitely have issues with going overboard in front of them though. And I agree that children know instinctively when things are off-kilter and could definitely feel upset and unstable in the presence of an intoxicated parent, guardian, or even a close adult (aunt, uncle, close family friend). I remember those uneasy feelings all too well.

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  3. I think about this topic a lot as a parent and a child of two alcoholic parents. I intend to be very open and honest with my son about alcohol as he notices me have a glass of wine and asks questions about it. I want him to know that it is ok to drink responsibly when you are of age to do so, and I also want to help him understand all of the complications that come along with drinking alcohol. As with anything else, I think the most important thing is to have an open line of communication, and to use it. So many parents don’t talk to their kids because they think they won’t understand, or they are not interested. Most topics can be discussed with even young children if you break it down to the basics and help them find an example they can relate to. The conversation can become more complex as they get older and are ready . Even though my son is only 2, I attempt to answer all of his questions honestly and in a way that he can understand. Hopefully, this will set the stage for him to come to me with questions as he grows and the questions become harder.

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