Saturday, November 20, 2010

Following on from Ocsober...

I've done a few posts on my views of drinking - HERE and HERE and HERE
including how I have handled my teen daughter and the alcohol factor.

I've had lots of conversations with lots of people about drinking. Considering my obvious love of a drop or 5 I think people can be rather surprised at the fact I simply refused to let my daughter drink until she was 18.

Parental influence shapes a childs attitude to drinking. From every side of every argument - behind it all is your experience as a child. Ummm, says me - but anyway.

My experience.

My parents are drinkers. My family are big drinkers. Every event we have (maybe twice a year) alcohol is flowing freely. We have a wonderful time, we laugh, we sing, we dance. My family have run pubs and red wine is in my veins.

But from that came my Alcohol Education. It was/is unspoken. You EARN your place in the world as an adult. You learn to hold your drink. This doesn't mean jam as much as you can down your throat and manage to keep standing. It means knowing your limit. Everyone has different limits. I would DIE rather than be seen stumbling in front of my family.

From my family I learnt respect for alcohol and what it can do. Just because it was everywhere didn't mean it was for everyone. A good night at the pub is just as much about being a good host and customer service as anything. Most of us have either managed a pub or worked behind the bar. We have seen it all sober, the good and the bad.

My parents had a cocktail after work and a beer after working in the garden. Yes - alcohol was always around and I only ever saw it being consumed responsibly (except when dad had one too many and fell in the pool whilst he was cleaning it. Mums pursed lips was a sign it was NOT alright *grin)

Not everyone has my experience, I have friends with parents that abused it terribly and won't touch a drop. That grew up under the influence of alcohol in the worst possible way. I have met teens that go to groups like Alateen because they are afraid they won't be able to stop like their mum or dad, even though they haven't even started.

Alcohol abuse costs this country millions a year in damages. It has the power to
ruin families and break hearts as well as bodies.

Your children are watching...what do you do to ensure their education? Because you know it doesn't start when they are teens don't you?


Glamourcide said...

Beautifully said, Lulu. Very, very true.
I am very thankful to have been raised in a household where alcohol was kept in a high cupboard, brought out for special occasions and treated as something you do with friends, in moderation, to celebrate a happy event.
Unfortunately my parents didn't know how to handle the peer pressure when I was a teen and thought it easier to just give in and buy booze for me to drink with my friends... and it turned into a bad habit. I would drink not because I enjoyed the taste, or to be social - I was an anti-social drinker who just happened to do it around other people. Got written off deliberately, made myself sick countless times, and still went back for more. It was a tough habit to break, but I did it and I am going to try my hardest to be a better role model for my own children, who will no doubt be just as vulnerable as I was at that age.

In my own house, alcohol is again something that is for special occasions like Christmas and birthdays, and I'm very careful to stop after a couple of glasses, instead of bottles these days. I don't hide alcohol from the girls or try to use scare tactics on them, I just want them to know that society has it wrong when they insist you HAVE to be boozing to have a good time or that the measure of a man is how many shots he can get under his belt without falling down drunk.

I'm not sure if I'm 'doing it right', but I'm trying. I have seen alcohol destroy families, take lives and break the bonds of the most important relationships we have with each other. I want to save my babies from going through that in the future and I hope that they will learn from the Boss and I instead of from the media and their peers...

Again, great post - very thought-provoking and I hope that it helps some of us take a closer look at our own version of 'normal' and review it. Cheers!

Madmother said...

I think we have similar ideals and backgrounds. Well written my friend.

Lucy said...

Love your work.

Alcohol and me......such a complex relationship.

Sadly my parents had a different gauge to yours.

So I have had to adjust mine, eventually, to make it work in life. Thankfully, I can.

Tenielle said...

Not sure if you do these, but I just tagged you in a post :)

(and of course I have a big picture of vodka in it, while linking to it from here... Silly Teni...)

Narelle said...

Great attitude and great post!! I am so glad there is actually someone out there not letting their kids drink until they are 18. I have seen so many kids talking about their weekend "adventures" involving large amounts of alcohol, and they are only 14. It's so sad!!!!