Will You Allow Kids To Drink At Home?

Will You Allow Kids To Drink At Home?
19 August 2016

At what age - if ever - do you plan to allow your child to drink alcohol at home?

Let me rephrase that.

Would you consider letting a child under the age of 14 drink alcohol in your home?

My mind is boggling that this is even up for debate but it's been prompted by a recent survey which revealed that half of parents with children under the age of 14 allow them to drink alcohol at home. HALF! AT FOURTEEN!

Am I completely out of touch with other parents here, or does this nugget of data baffle you, too?

It's something of an urban legend that permitting children to drink small quantities at home with their parents can reduce the risk of them turning into problem drinkers and – who knows – maybe that's based on something more than anecdotal evidence. But there's no way I'll be handing my lads a beer when they're barely even teenagers.

But that's not even the most mind-boggling bit of this study. Some 11% of parents with kids aged between five and seven said they allowed them to drink alcohol at home. And among parents of children aged 14 and under, 34% said they used alcohol as a bribe to encourage good behaviour. I. Just. Can't. Even.

I'd like to think the parents who were answering this poll were momentarily distracted by flying pigs whilst trying to respond, and that this accounts for the sheer lunacy of these answers.

Now I get the theory that allowing children to drink at home is a way of keeping tabs on your child's drinking habits but, quite frankly, if any of my kids start boozing at 13 I think the last thing I'll do is make it easy for them by handing them a beer from the fridge along with their fish fingers.

Martin Scott, head of Churchill home insurance said: "The relationship between children and alcohol in Britain always seems more fraught than for our continental cousins. Many parents want their children to have a responsible attitude to drinking and introduce alcohol in a safe, controlled environment. The challenge any parent will recognise is how to prevent excessive drinking, especially amongst teenagers ... Whenever people are drinking in the home, there is a greater risk of injury or property damage as alcohol has a significant impact on co-ordination."

Well, quite. But that's surely the tip of the iceberg.

We'd like to hear your views on this story. Do you plan to permit your children to drink alcohol at home and if so, why? Or do you think it's irresponsible to allow a child to drink alcohol? Leave us a comment or join the debate over on our Facebook page.

39 comments

  • Jenny R.

    Really?! My god I was 16 before I had my first tipple lol

  • Keeley L.

    No way!

  • Gemma M.

    Absolutely not, what benefit does this have for your child ?

  • Jodi A.

    never gonna happen

  • Bekey C.

    No chance! How irresponsible! 14 year olds and younger should be playing outside or on games consoles and hanging out with friends. Not drinking alcohol at home with their parents. If my son was 14 and at home with me we would have family time with films and games. No alcohol in sight

  • Emma R.

    No way not a chance

  • Amanda M.

    We were allowed a glass of bucks fizz with Christmas dinner but that was it, though our parents didn't really drink so little to no alcohol in the house anyway. I can't remember from what age we'd have that though.

    • Siobhan M.

      We were the same. Either bucks fizz or a snowball at Christmas. I remember having a glass of champagne and lemonade at the millennium and I was 12. But same as you my parents didn't really drink so not very much alcohol around. But never as young as 5 or anything. Maybe from 11-12 and up.

  • Michelle G.

    No way my youngest has just turned 18 and I can count in my 1 hand how many times he's had a drink in the house

    • Gemma M.

      Michelle Graham same hun, no child is perfect! Just winds me up when I get told I'm just naive or don't know what my sons are up to. I genuinely do know what both my boys are doing. Sounds like you have mutual respect for each other and honesty which is great and exactly what I like to think I have with my boys X

    • Lucy F.

      I wasn't calling anybody naive. But there's obviously been times he's stayed at a mates, or he knows what time you're picking him up so doesn't drink for X amount of time before that. I'm not stupid enough to think I will always know exactly what my daughter is doing

    • Michelle G.

      Sorry but he's not really a drinker that's how I no how many times he's been drunk ...and yea I do no he's been drinking but on the few occasions he's taken to much it's me that he phones to go pick him up

  • Becky H.

    I started drinking at 14 of my own accord surely it is better to be controlled at home instead of young kids getting drunk over a park (you would be lying if you said you never did)

    • Kirsty C.

      I drank from 14, my son can't ever drink due to a medical problem however I wouldn't encourage it if he could! It's tough, he's 13 and is always going to b the taxi :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

    • Becky H.

      I understand not encouraging it but all these do gooders saying it would never happen clearly have no idea what their children get up to do they?

    • Gemma M.

      I drank at 14ish too of my own accord but just because I did it and got away with it does not mean it's ok for my kids to do it. Fortunately for me my 1st born son has never been into hanging around on streets or parks or into drink drugs etc, for certain too! I'm not just being naive with blinkers on its completely his nature and yes I knew where he was at all times until he started college at 16. My 2nd born son however is of a different nature who is 13 next month and needs keeping tabs on and watching like a hawk. I keep him out of trouble by picking him up from school and keeping him active by doing things, going places or he brings his mates back to hang out so I know what he's up to and where he is. I know this is going to prove more difficult with each year but I will just keep doing my best as a parent to steer him in the right direction and away from the influences of drinking out on the streets etc. All you can do is try your best as a parent and be a good role model, you don't have to take the attitude that "oh they will only do it when not in sight of parent" so let's let them drink at home. Not all kids will hang out on street corners, parks etc drinking.

    • Vicki B.

      Gemma Moffat I agree with you, it's nice to all have a different view point and I do like listening to others experiences and points of view. I also think you are a fantastic mother for recognising what each of your children require as they both sound very different and providing lots of positive experiences to keep them on the straight and narrow

  • Rachel A.

    Shocking. Children should not drink alcohol or be encouraged to do so by their parents.

  • Kirsty C.

    My eldest is 13... He can't drink ever in his life however if he could then it would still b a no way!!! Xx

  • Tracey L.

    Definitely not!!

  • Liane B.

    My eldest is 12. I would never so much as offer him a sip of alcohol. For the people saying if you don't allow it they will do it all the more, not true. We never had alcohol in the house growing up and I don't now. I think it's horrendously irresponsible and it's bad parenting.

  • Marie S.

    Not even a sip. They can make that choice when they are grown up and old enough

  • Gail S.

    In Europe alcohol is normal, a glass of wine with a meal etc you find they have less problems with binge drinking then we have in the U.K.

  • Ale206

    my parent let me and my brother and sister have a drink At home , Xmas , birthdays , family party etc jst small amount and nt one of us drank on the street corner and my brother doesn't even drink alchol never did realy so ido believe letting your kids drink is good as u can monitor and also u dnt have them rebel against it 

  • Vicki B.

    I don't think it is a terrible idea. We were brought up with a sip at Xmas and special occasions so didn't see it as a big deal. I had a friend on the other hand who used to get drunk and throw up at every opportunity from the minute we turned 16. I want my children to know it's no big deal to have a glass of something with a meal but it isn't something to go crazy with

  • Danielle M.

    This is such a hard one. I was allowed a Buck's Fizz at Christmas and although I can't deny I went through my teenage years probably not drinking as responsibly as I should of I definitely do now so it hasn't done me any harm. Alcohol however is harmful to a body of a person under a certain age which is why there is an age on being able to buy and drink it. I think out righting banning it though in most cases would probably cause the child to rebel!

  • Donna C.

    Kids WILL experiment with alcohol.... I would far rather they were in my house than in the street or park. I know they're safe, I know exactly what they're drinking, how much and where it came from....

  • Janice F.

    I can't remember the age (must have been close to 16) but if I was curious about the taste of the drink ect I would be allowed a sip. But it's something parents have to decide for there own children. Which me and my husband will have to discuss for our daughter. X

  • Lisa K.

    A taste is a bit different to drinking a whole glass, my kids have a taste that doesn't so harm. Would I let them drink a full glass? Not under 14 no maybe when they are a little older

  • Lianne K.

    No way, not a chance. Like chuff I'm sharing my alcohol with my kids.....:joy::joy:

  • Gill J.

    In France children drink with family from a young age... I'd rather my child have a couple of sips once in a blue moon at home than be on the streets drinking...

  • Kerry C.

    I think this is a tough one because it's better they're at home than on the streets somewhere , but I do think 14 is a little young . I think my eldest was 16 when I let him have one drink at a party

  • Lou M.

    my mum never stopped me and my sister drinking.now i drink very very occasionally and my sister doesnt at all.

  • Allison C.

    I've started letting my son have a very weak shandy I mean very weak. He's 14. Mainly lemonade a and tiny drop of bitter.

  • Zoe B.

    I have to say I was around 15 16 and my mum used to take me out with her. I would have gone out anyway so instead of her not beeb able to keep an eye on me I went with her. I would like to think I would do the same with my girls as I want them to know better than that xx

  • Kimberlie R.

    Me and my husband both said they can drink at home but only from 16 we will never hide alchol from them but we don't want them drinking unless it's at happen and they have to be over 16 if we find out they do it behind our backs or under that age then they will nr grounded and will get no pocket money until they are 16 and just to make sure my kids will be picked up from school I don't care if people think I'm harsh but I have seen what drinking does I don't even drink unless it's a very special occasion

  • Lisa A.

    My eldest is nearly 14 and I wouldn't let him drink until at least 16 and he knows not to touch it as he has respect for me and his dad it's how you bring your children up if you tell them that they are not allowed until the age you say then if that child has enough respect for your wishes they won't do it behind your back.

  • Lynsey S.

    15 - 16 seems sensible for a 'taste' if they are interested. No sooner in our house I don't think.

  • Vikki T.

    I think I would but he's only 15 months at the mo so who knows in 13 years time lol. I only think I would allow him to drink at home so that he can learn about drinking responsibly Ie with a meal.and so that alcohol doesn't seem "naughty" and appealing Me and hubby were both getting drunk at parties at 14 so I were not naive and do realise kids will get up to stuff out of the house no matter what. I rarely drink alcohol and neither does hubby so hopefully our boring, sober nature will rub off on our son lol

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.

Your comment