Is it OK To Drink In Front Of My Kids? Indian Parents Share Their Views

This is just my honest account of how I am dealing with alcohol and having teen kids in the house. I am in no way saying that drinking is good or healthy or so cool. I was also curious about what other parents felt and this is what they said. Read on!
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I grew up in a very conservative set-up. My parents to date have never had a drink.

But I sneaked around and started drinking like many other teen around me. The results to say the least was quite disastrous on some occasions.

Did my parents find out? Yes! My mum did and she was disappointed in me. Not a nice feeling! Why am I telling you this? Since I was not allowed to drink and my parents always made it such a taboo, I sneaked out and did it and that is something I never want for my kids.

Do I still drink? Yes! And I drink in front of my kids, my parents and my in-laws. My husband and I enjoy the occasional drink when I cook a yummy meal or when we step out with our friends and of course on holidays. The kids are around most of the time and we have never hidden the fact that we drink nor have we hidden from them and had a drink.

I am in no way saying that drinking is good or healthy or so cool. This is just my honest account of how I am dealing with alcohol and having teen kids in the house.

My teen daughter is turning 16 and she like every teen is curious. We have had conversations about

  • When can I have a drink?
  • What does that drink smell like?
  • Can I have a sip?

We are very clear that there is a time and place for everything and that we want the kids to develop a healthy relationship when it comes to alcohol.

My personal experiences say that there will be bits of rebellion, times when I may not know the whole truth but I also know I want my child to know that when she is in trouble, we are the first people she will call. The trust and the values we instil in her now is what we hope will shape her in the future.

The kids are older now and their birthday parties are at public places where alcohol is being served. I am so glad that her friends’ parents are on the same page as my husband and I.

Ground Rules We Have Established

  • They are not allowed to drink till they are 18 years old.
  • They are not to accept anything from anyone in a public place – friend or otherwise. She knows she will open her own bottle of water and pour it for herself and if she wants a cold drink, she should ask for a can or a bottle that is opened in front of her. The stories we hear are truly frightening and I don’t hide the gory world from her anymore. In 2 years maybe she’ll fly the nest and then she has to protect herself.

Ground Rules For My Husband & Me

  • Drink within limitations and NEVER get high in front of the kids.
  • Our behaviour will stay in their minds & shape what they think is OK – so act appropriately.

Recently she was getting a little more than curious about alcohol seeing her older cousins have a drink. I asked her point-blank if she wanted to taste what was in the glass and she instantly said yes. That’s when I sat her down and shared my own experiences with alcohol.

It’s so easy to have a drink but the loss of inhibitions that comes with that is what is truly terrifying. What if she couldn’t control how she reacts to that drink? What if someone takes advantage of her situation? She understood what I was saying, thankfully.

I should also tell you I let her have a sip of my drink and she didn’t particularly like it. But it satisfied her curiosity about it. (for now!)

Dr Aarti Bakshi, Developmental Psychologist and SEL Consultant at SAAR Education about parenting drinking in front of their children. She says

Parents are a child’s role model, and moderation may be a way out. Avoiding drinking completely in front of the children is the safest way, yet setting an example is equally important. So, if alcohol is not used by the parent as stress relief and is not consumed before driving, then this honest talk may support them make responsible decisions. 

She reiterated what I have always felt as a parent to teenagers.

Communication is key. When parents talk about alcohol consumption, to their children early and often, children know about the ill-effects, that it dangerously affects the body and mind. Narrating expectations logically, and in an age-appropriate manner,  is vital for being successful. The fact that alcohol is used as part of social gatherings, should not be hidden, and neither scare tactics should be used. Instead cementing relationships, how and when to apply cultural norms by relating and engaging with parents is modeling the right trend.”

We also asked fellow parents about it and this is what they said

These are some of the comments shared. We got mixed opinions. Have a look!

Some agreed with my style of parenting

There were others who had a different train of thought.

At the end of the day, it is all up to you. As a parent all I will say is teach your child to always act responsbily, be honest and always keep your channels of communication open. The parents who have a healthy balance of fun and responsibility are the best role models to their children.

We would love to know what you think. Write to us in the comments below.


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