View Full Version : Can Sips at Home Prevent Binges?

26-03-2008, 11:17 AM
A long article in the New York Times, reduced a wee bit, about how kids should be introduced to drink.

Me? I like the Spanish way. Introduced at an early age with very, very watered down wine with a meal becoming stronger as the kids grow up. The odd beer now and again. My kids are boy, 16; girl, 14; boy 10. Treat alcohol with respect.

The Scottish Government are going ape **** trying to cut down on binge drinking particularly among our younger generation –

Parents - What do you do with your kids?

Young people - What do your parents allow you and what do you do when they're not about?

Both - What would you do about it if you were the Scottish Government?

PARENTS always want to share their passions with their children. Whether you’re a fan of baseball or the blues, sailing or tinkering with old cars, few things are as rewarding as seeing a spark of receptivity in the eyes of the next generation.

Blah blah blah

It’s the alcohol, of course, which makes wine not just tricky but potentially hazardous. Nonetheless, I would like to teach my sons — 16 and 17 — that wine is a wonderful part of a meal. I want to teach them to enjoy it while also drumming it into them that when abused, wine, like any other alcoholic beverage, can be a grave danger.

Blah blah blah

In European wine regions, a new parent might dip a finger in the local pride and wipe it lovingly across an infant’s lips — “just to give the taste.” A child at the family table might have a spoonful of wine added to the water, because it says, “You are one of us.” A teenager might have a small glass of wine, introducing an adult pleasure in a safe and supervised manner. This is how I imagined it in my house.

One authority disparaged the European model, saying that teenage drinking in Europe — never mind which part — is much worse than it is in the United States. The underlying message was that nothing good comes from mixing alcohol and teenagers.

Blah blah blah

I found ample evidence of the dangers of abusive drinking. Recent studies have shown that heavy drinking does more damage to the teenage brain than previously suspected, while the part of the brain responsible for judgment is not even fully formed until the age of 25.

“If we were to argue that responsible drinking requires a responsible brain, theoretically we wouldn’t introduce alcohol until 25,” said Dr. Ralph I. Lopez, a clinical professor of pediatrics at Weill-Cornell Medical College who specializes in adolescents.

Blah blah blah

Even so, are small tastes justified? Abundant research shows the dangers of heavy drinking and the necessity of getting help with teenage alcohol abuse. But little guidance is offered on teaching teenagers about the pleasures of wine with a meal.

Blah blah blah

Some experts think so. Dr. Lopez began to offer his daughter a little wine at dinner when she was 13.

“You have to look at a family and decide where alcohol fits,” he said. “If you demonstrate the beauty of wine, just as you would Grandma’s special pie, then it augments a meal. However, if there is an issue about drinking within a family then it’s a different situation.”

If a family member had an alcohol problem, or if cocktails were served regularly for relaxation, he said, “That’s a different message than wine at the table.”

I called Dr. Paul Steinberg, a psychiatrist in Washington, who is the former director of counseling at Georgetown University.

“The best evidence shows that teaching kids to drink responsibly is better than shutting them off entirely from it,” he told me. “You want to introduce your kids to it, and get across the point that that this is to be enjoyed but not abused.”

Blah blah blah

What is the evidence? In 1983, Dr. George E. Vaillant, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard University, published “The Natural History of Alcoholism,” a landmark work that drew on a 40-year survey of hundreds of men in Boston and Cambridge.

Dr. Vaillant compared 136 men who were alcoholics with men who were not. Those who grew up in families where alcohol was forbidden at the table, but was consumed away from the home, apart from food, were seven times more likely to be alcoholics that those who came from families where wine was served with meals but drunkenness was not tolerated.

He concluded that teenagers should be taught to enjoy wine with family meals, and 25 years later Dr. Vaillant stands by his recommendation. “The theoretical position is: driving a car, shooting a rifle, using alcohol are all dangerous activities,” he told me, “and the way you teach responsibility is to let parents teach appropriate use.”

“If you are taught to drink in a ceremonial way with food, then the purpose of alcohol is taste and celebration, not inebriation,” he added. “If you are forbidden to use it until college then you drink to get drunk.”

26-03-2008, 12:05 PM
Ill be honest and say, when the parents are unaware, I drink a fair bit. They'll let me have beers in the house, and a few more on special occasions, but once in a while I'll take a trip up town on a saturday, because I look old enough. Literally all of my mates will drink as well, but the thing is, the majority of us are responsible. We won't go out and drink until all our senses have vanished (OK ill admit I have once or twice). On the grandscale of things though, I agree with the Spanish ways of introducing alcohol at a young age.
Anyway, I think I'll be cutting down on my alcohol consumption. The price of it, and the problems I've seen it cause just don't seem worth it.

Lucius Apuleius
26-03-2008, 04:20 PM
And very sensible too young Marty. Drink is an evil that should be totally expunged from our society. It has caused more heart ache and suffering than anything else known to man. Ban it all I say (apart from Bordeaux or Pays d'Ocs that is, and the occasional G&T and I suppose we should really keep Guinness as well).

26-03-2008, 04:31 PM
I learnt the hard way that too much booze was a bad thing. My parents would let me have the odd beer or wine but it didnt stop me chugging down the cheap cider on a friday night and throwing up and feeling ***** for the weekend. I however would possibly suggest there may well be a deeper underlying social problem in some areas. However as i am not a social analylist i wouldnt be able to just point and say "thats whats wrong"

26-03-2008, 04:34 PM
Well every Friday and Saturday someone usually has a 'free house' when the parents are out. Everyone in the year piles in, and basically it becomes a drinking den for everyone to get bladdered. I only really drink in my own house but occasionally have a beer at the weekend.

Most of us are responisble with it but a few folk really have a reputation for getting so wasted they just don't remember anything and aren't even in control of themselves. Some folk have been doing that since they were fourteen, and I reckon they'll probably never stop which is really worrying for their futures.

I think the continental way is the best way to do it. A lot of people drink straight vodka every weekend, and the German way is what I think is the best way to deal with it. At 16 you can buy beers but not spirits. If 16 year old were allowed in Pubs here, it would stop everyone deliberately getting drunk and encourage more sociable drinking.

26-03-2008, 04:49 PM
I barely ever drink, and when I do, I never get absolutely pissed. I reckon the best way is to introduce it gradually to children when they get to about 15 at home.:agree: