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> Children 'should Learn To Drink', huh?
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Posted: 04-Apr-2005, 06:09 AM
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I read this article, again in the Scotsman (*hehe* not on April 1st.) Curious what you all think. Drinking in Europe is thought of differently than it is here in the US. Does teaching a child to 'social drink' at home keep them from binge drinking in high school or college? Personally, I don't think so. Not in our culture.

Children 'should learn to drink'

SCOTTISH children should be introduced to alcohol by their parents as soon as they can sit at the kitchen table, a leading drink expert has said.

Dr Paul Skett, a senior lecturer in pharmacology at Glasgow University and one of the main expert witnesses in court cases where alcohol is a factor, said we should follow the French example and offer youngsters wine with their evening meal.

He believes the move would allow children to learn how to drink alcohol socially and therefore prevent them from binge drinking as teenagers.

Teenage drinking is on the rise despite efforts to drive the figures down.

The most recent statistics from the Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey found 38 per cent of 15-year-olds and 17 per cent of 13-year-olds drank regularly.

Dr Skett said most parents were unaware that the law allows alcohol to be consumed by children over the age of five as long as it is in the home.

"Under 18s aren't allowed to buy alcohol but they can consume it as long as they aren't in licensed premises.

"Scotland's binge drinking is a concern to me. However, I don't think the answer is to ban alcohol as that just drives it underground. Instead what we need is education.

"Schools need to show the serious side effects to binge drinking as adverts on television mean nothing. They need to teach pupils that through binge drinking they are starting to destroy their livers.

"I see nothing wrong with introducing children to a glass of wine. Banning something can make them want it more and lead them to go binge drinking as it is seen as something they can't have."

He denied that children drinking from an early age would develop the taste for alcohol in later life.

"Children need to learn to associate wine with having a meal so that they are educated into understanding alcohol is a social drug rather than something to get drunk on."

Jack Law, the chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said parents have an important role to play in discussing alcohol issues with their children and explaining how alcohol can be enjoyed safely and responsibly as part of a healthy lifestyle.

"If parents are introducing alcohol to their children in the home they must be aware that children's bodies have not fully developed so offering more than a taste is not advisable.

"If children see alcohol being enjoyed responsibly at home then they will pick up on this. But parents also need to practice what they preach and think about their own drinking patterns and the example they are setting to their children."

Tom Wood, chairman of the Edinburgh action team on alcohol and drugs, said Dr Skett had "a point", but he did not agree with alcohol being given to children as young as five.

"I firmly believe children need to be given information so that they can make quality decisions when it comes to alcohol.

"Giving alcohol to a five-year-old is not a serious consideration. But we do need to alter our relationship with alcohol."

By: ANGIE BROWN -- 30-Mar-05

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Posted: 04-Apr-2005, 08:34 AM
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After spending hours working outside on a hot summer day I do enjoy sitting down with an ice-cold beer.

After a terrible day at work I do enjoy sitting in front of the TV with a glass of Scotch.

During a fine meal (Olive Garden, Red Lobster) my wife or I would also enjoy a glass of wine with our meal (one would not drink and would be the Designated Driver).

I have never hid anything from my kids. I never lied to them. They have always known that both my wife and I do enjoy an adult beverage on occasion. A six-pack of beer would last me a month or two. A bottle of Scotch would last me a couple of months. I do not have more than one drink at a time anytime the kids are anywhere around. I never pretended that it didn't exist. I showed them that it can be flavorful in certain conditions. I showed them that you can enjoy alcohol without getting drunk.

They know that alcohol can be addictive, and can cause you to lose control. My oldest surived her "wild year" in college, and is now careful with alcohol. My son is a Marine in Afghanistan, and he has survived his "wild time" and is now careful with alcohol. My youngest is only 19, so she can't buy it, and although I will offer her a glass of wine at home she generally dislikes most drinks (there are a few of the "umbrella" drinks that she likes).

Binge drinking in high school or college is in no way related to teaching a child to 'social drink' at home. Kids are going to experiment, to find their boundries, to explore. I tried to instill in them my morals and religious beliefs. Those are ingrained in their heads, but their curious little minds are still going to be wanting to explore. And the more taboo you make alcohol the more the kids are going to "sneak" a drink.

I urge parents to simply be honest and forthcoming with alcohol. Be a good parent and not abuse alcohol, and plead with your kids not to abuse alcohol as well. For goodness sake please don't get drunk in front of your kids. When I was a teenager my Mom and I have to fish my (worthless) Dad out of the drunk tank at a county jail - at 2:00 in the morning. Does anyone know how difficult it is to obtain $1000 at 2:00 in the morning for bail?


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Posted: 04-Apr-2005, 09:23 AM
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In my own personal opinion, children should learn to NOT drink! At all! Children who drink are much more likely to try marijuana and other mind-altering substances. And because they lose their inhibitions, they are more likely to break the law. And how many of our kids would be alive today if parents would have taught their children to leave the stuff alone? How many would not have wrecked while driving? How many would not have gotten alcohol poisoning from overdrinking at parties? Or drowned while drinking near water? Or lost families, homes, self-respect and everything else from becoming alcoholics? Is it worth all of that jsut for a few minutes of "feeling good"? I don't think so. And so-called "social drinking" is just an invitiation to try more and more. How many people have the self-control to stop at one? If you have just one in a social setting, what if everyone else has another? Can you resist the peer-pressure to have another? Do you think your kids can? I wouldn't want them to even be in that sort of situation to find out.

So rather than teach my kid that it is okay to "drink responsibly" I'll teach her that drinking kills.

Sln agus beannachd,
Allen R. Alderman

'S i Alba tr mo chridhe. 'S i Gidhlig cnan m' anama.
Scotland is the land of my heart. Gaelic is the language of my soul.
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Posted: 05-Apr-2005, 11:41 AM
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My wife and I have an occasional drink, and agree with the viewpoint that children will be most responsible about drinking when they learn from their parents, rather than their peers.
Perhaps it's mere coincidence, but our daughter, who is in her first year of college, went to one drinking party, became disgusted by the behavior of the less responsible students, and left.
I cannot help but think we lose part of the message of Jesus's first miracle--turning water into wine--if we take an intolerant approach to drinking. IMHO, part of his mission was to teach us to celebrate life, and enjoying an occasional drink can certainly be part of that celebration.
There is also the proven health benefit of an occasional drink.
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Sochn leat,
Clan Donald USA
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