3/26/08

All I Wanted Was A Glass of Milk!


The New York Times has an interesting article about teenagers and binge drinking and is it okay to let your kids taste wine at dinner? and will it stop binge drinking? In my case, yes.

Wait! Don't scream at the computer screen just yet. I have a couple of stories to tell you.

Both my mom and my biological father are both alcoholics. My mom has been sober for at least 17 years. I haven't talked to my biological father for a long time but I'd bet the farm that he's not sober.

Story #1: When I was 7, I went to the country club to have breakfast with my paternal grandmother. How very chi-chi. I don't remember what I ordered to eat but I do remember the orange juice. It was nasty tasting and there was no way in hell I was going to drink it. Throughout the meal my grandmother was nagging me to drink my juice that 'we are going to sit there all day until I drank it, that she would have the waiter save the drink and I'd finish it when she was done golfing. Yada, Yada, Yada.' I told her it was gross and she didn't believe me until she tried it. Oh man, was she embarrassed and pissed. I was served a screwdriver, not orange juice.

Lesson: I still do not like screwdrivers.

Story #2: When I was eleven, I went to my father's side of the family for Christmas dinner. At dinner, we all gathered around the table and wine was poured. My dad and my uncle decided it was time for me to try some. Wait... let me rephrase that, it wasn't some, it wasn't watered down, it was a whole glass of red wine. My family doesn't drink cheap stuff but at eleven years old, wine doesn't taste good. Period. No one could understand why I wasn't drinking it and again I got the 'you can't leave the table until you finish the glass' bit. Seriously, where was CPS? All I wanted was a glass of milk or a Coke. What was wrong with these people? I only drank about a half a glass and sat at the table for a loooooong time.

Lesson: I still don't like wine. I use it to cook but I can't drink a glass, red or white.

Story #3: When I was 15-17 years old I lived with my father. Bad Idea. Really. Bad. Idea. Everyday when my father and step mom came home from work they would start drinking. A gin and tonic, maybe two, before dinner, a couple of glasses of wine at dinner, and a glass of scotch, or two, as a nightcap. Every night for as long as I can remember. Seriously. Here's the deal... I would drink carbonated water with a slice of lime in my glass. My dad or step mom would drink gin and tonic with a slice of lime in it in the same type glass as I had my water in. Do you know how many times I mistakenly grabbed and drank out of their glass? A lot.

Lesson: I do not like gin and tonics.
I would not eat them semi-sonic,
I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.

Story #4: This doesn't have to do with alcohol. My mom caught me smoking her cigarette when I was four or so. She made me smoke the whole cigarette. I, then, promptly got sick.

Lesson: I've never smoked after that. I'm actually really glad she made me smoke that cigarette, that's one habit I'll never have to break.

With all that being said, I have let my kids have a sip of wine and sips of some cocktails that I have made. I don't think alcohol should be taboo but I don't think you should serve teenagers drinks in your home with the reasoning they will drink some place else. That's crazy talk.
Okay, now you can yell at your computer screen. Tell me what you think...

14 comments:

Asthmagirl said...

I agree.

I've offered my kids a taste at times, but they were always over 13.
I never had the expectation that they would drink with me instead of their friends. My oldest two are social drinkers. My youngest won't even try it.

My Grandfather ran a wine and beer importing business and we were always exposed to it as kids, but socially.

lcsa99 said...

Avoiding and banning things is NEVER the answer with kids. They will rebel and abuse it when they get the chance.

Kids are a hell of a lot smarter than most people think. If you teach them moderation at an early age it'll stick. You're absolutely right to allow your kids to try the drinks you mix.

Liz said...

I just found your blog & love it! You know, I've always thought way too big a deal was made about teens & alcohol. It only makes them want to run out & DRINK! Hello. Like you, I always allowed glasses of wine on special occasions. The result: 25 yr old son doesn't even drink & doesn't do drugs. 23 yr old daughter drinks socially but mostly wine & doesn't do drugs.

The part that makes me curious is this: I certainly never did drugs or allowed them. How'd they get past that?

Simply...Gluten-free said...

Once my mother made me drink a glass of milk with Tang in it because I sarcastically said "Tang" to my sister when she asked me what I wanted in my milk. YUK!

I didn't make to big a deal out of drinking and both my kids turned out great, one doesn't drink at all and the other only very occassionally.

Krysta said...

*asthma girl,lsca99, and liz... totally agree with you. I'm not so much about banning things because kids will try it anyways. Alcohol wasn't forbidden but I wish it was a little more discouraged.

*liz... welcome to the crazy neighborhood!

*sgf...is it okay if i call you that? tang and milk... gross. were you sick afterwards? i had pepsi and milk one time and bleeeech!

Undomestic Diva said...

I think it's fine to do what you did. This is just a small crumb in the pie of parenting (hee hee) and as long as you're consistent on your policies, whatever they may be, then your kids will turn out fine.
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BTW, I'm going right now to nominate you for a bloggie. I like your way.

White On Rice Couple said...

Screw-drived by the age of 7? First puff at 4 years old? Now that could explain it all! :)
Sorry to read about your relationship with your biological father. What you missed out on that relationship, you certainly seem to be making it up to your kids. I totally respect and envy you as a Mom, and as a an evil chef? You are hot and rock!
BTW- do ya know how fun it has been to read your blog? You write about so much fun random stuff & beautiful eats, you're addicting.
another BTW- I'm jealous of IB kid now, being in Mexico and doing all that cook stuff. Hopefully she'll post some pics of her trip!

Meg said...

The most important thing my mom always stressed to each of us kids when we got our driver's license was, no matter what time, or what condition we or our friends were in, if we felt it was unsafe to drive she would come and get us NO QUESTIONS ASKED.

I never had to use it, but knowing I had that out made all the difference.

I'm impressed with your choices and if people are going to judge...well, let them.

noble pig said...

I think with anything in refernece to children, the more you forbid them from it, the more they will gravitate towards it. I always ask my kids if they want a sip of wine or just to smell it. It only took one tiny taste for them to be completely disgusted with it. I think it's good for them to know if they had to have it they can get it at home and not have to hide and get in trouble with it.

Good post and I couldn't agree with you more.

JPENG said...

I was born with a heart murmur, so my parents never wanted me to drink. When my mom offered me some wine when i was like 15 or 16, I passed out in like 5 minutes after a tiny tiny little sip haha. I can't take alcohol. Not even cough syrup. I want to try again when I'm 21..but I don't know if I really should.

Krysta said...

*fodie cutie... i have a heart murmur also and i have never heard about alcohol affecting it. hmmm, something to research.

*noble pig...your kids are going to have a unique perspective of wine, which they are going to be lucky to have.

ud...and white on rice...you guys are too kind. sometimes it doesn't always feel like you're doing the right thing.

Neen said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I also caught that article in the Nytimes, and in general agree with all the above opinions... if you make it out to be some scary thing that one can only get drunk off of, well, that's how kids will think of it. If you model a better use of alcohol, you're giving them the tools and resources to go down a better path.

You seem to have a fabulous blog! For now on, count me as one of your regular flies on the wall. :)

bitchincamero said...

My parents always let me take sips of their drinks when I asked. They let me have a glass of wine for nice dinners when I was over 16 and I'm happily well-adjusted. It didn't stop me from going overboard when I got to college though. You still have to learn your limits on your own.

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