I enjoy a drink. Is that a bad example for kids?

parents drink in front of kids - Parenting resources by ZenParent

We live in Paris. Not that that’s the excuse but I’m leading with that. We live in Paris. So, sharing a drink together every weekend has become a kind of a ritual for my husband and me. It helps us unwind, exchange gossip and basically loosen us up a bit leading into another tough week. So, I’m not apologetic about my habits. But is it setting a bad example for my 4-year-old? Very early on, he’s caught on to clinking “cheers” with us with his own OJ or milk.

So is this wrong?

Well, if you ask me, I think it’s wrong to have kids and not drink. I don’t have a drinking problem. But without alcohol to take off the edge every 5 days, how do you survive the week without screaming at the kids? Jokes apart, the key is to act responsibly in spite of drinking. And not to lose your shit or pass out drunk in, front of them. A drink or three is fine, as long as you don’t start slurring, visibly tumbling or puking in the toilet. Also it might be a good idea to hydrate as you drink so you don’t end up clutching your head the next morning from a bad hangover. Basically, you want to set yourself up as a role model for your kids – responsible enough to drink and not drive, to hold it together, to make sense and be comfortable in your skin.

Arm yourself with the answers

Sooner than later, your kid is going to ask you for a taste. Tell them that this is an adult drink and he/she is allowed to have it when they’re legally responsible, at the age of 21. You can offer an alternative like apple cider for kids if they insist on having a grownup drink. Keep the lines of communication open with children older than 8. They might need more explanation and can understand complex situations involving risks and consequences from drinking.

parents drink alcohol along with kids - Parenting resources by ZenParent

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 The fine line

Like everything else, it is important to tread the right line – find the fine balance between social drinking and being a closet alcoholic. A drink every night sets a bad example for your kids, while strictly in social situations or weekends is something they can relate to. Most importantly, there should be no double standards. In finding your inner peace, don’t find intoxication. You want your kids to get the message that their parents sometimes enjoy a drink but remain responsible enough not to drive or behave irresponsibly in other manners.

On the other hand, if you have a drinking problem and have some insight into it, by all means address that first before introducing yourself as an influence in your kids’ lives with alcohol.

set a limit for kids to have alcohol - Parenting resources by ZenParent

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