Is Drinking around Your Kids Good Parenting?

Awhile back, New York Times writer Paul Clarke said he thought it is good to drink around your kids as a parenting tactic because it teaches them moderation. Of course, Mr. Clarke is the Times’ alcohol beat writer, so I’m guessing he’s bound to come down on the “pro-drinking” side of many an argument. Me, I’m not so sure.

I have a friend who loves to bring his seven-year-old over to my house every Saturday to play with my kids. He drops by around noon, plops down on the couch, turns on a terrible movie for ironic amusement and opens a beer. Usually he has about 3-4 beers before he and his daughter take off (I drive them home). The kids love it because after a couple of beers my friend becomes a playful clown.

Me, when I drink I don’t want to do anything else, which makes being a parent a chore. My tolerance for their demands goes down and I find I’m much more interested in finding ways to get them out of my hair. “C’mon, let’s watch Yo Gabba Gabba again!”

Nonetheless, if you are a parent, two things are likely: 1) your kids are always around and, 2) you might desire a drink now and then. Summer is coming and with the warm weather comes backyard BBQ’s which begets beers. I won’t deny I will have a few in the early afternoon on such occasions, but I always do so with some reservation. Lately I’m even more uncomfortable with it and do so less frequently.

Do kids really need to see their parents altered? Kids need stability. At the same time, we adults have the right to have “adult time.” Yeah, my friend might be like an inebriated carnival ride when he’s been drinking, but he also almost clobbered a mess of kids with a plastic bat while swinging at a piñata at my son’s 2nd birthday party. I would have video evidence, but my father-in-law decided to stop filming at that point. Not that he is a prude himself. “Papa” drinks at every dinner, kids or no. So is the idea, “it’s okay to drink as long as you don’t make an ass out of yourself”?

I don’t think hiding children from alcohol is the key. Kids will be curious about alcohol, and I think it’s absolutely necessary to educate them when the time is right, but I don’t know showing them how to drink is exactly it.

So how comfortable are you with the mix of kids and drink? Totally? Do you wait until they go to bed? Does your rule state that alcohol is only to be appreciated outside the home, away from little eyes?

Image Source: Time Out New York

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