It’s natural to unwind at the end of a long week with an evening drink. But if you have kids, drinking can become a question of morality: Should you even drink in front of your kids? And will they turn into binge drinkers because of it?
No, of course not. At most, they’ll probably be curious, or want to drink something just like mommy and daddy. However, there are still things to keep in mind when you’re drinking in front of your kids. Remember, watching you is how they learn. So, you need to be smart about your drinking habits.
- Be Mindful of Why You Drink
Nobody is accusing you of having a problem or getting drunk in front of your kids on a regular basis. The “why” you drink isn’t to block them out. It’s one glass of wine, once a week. It’s not like you’re drinking every night.
But are you always stressed and tired with that weekly drink? If so, your kids might start to see alcohol as a solution to stress. Try getting through a stressful time sober, and instead have a drink when you’re perfectly relaxed. Throw them off the scent so they don’t form any dangerous connections.
If you drink on every holiday, your kids might see alcohol as a necessity on special occasions. Show them you can have fun without alcohol, and you can drink at the next party.
Don’t let alcohol become normal or necessary. Show them it’s something you do on occasion because you enjoy it, and you only do it in moderation.
If you do happen to have an issue with drinking too much, strongly consider looking into recovery programs for women to help you break the cycle and get back to doing what you do best, being a mom.
- Talk, Know What to Say
The worst thing you can do is drink in secret, lie about your drinking or ignore it completely. Kids are curious, questioning beings, so let them ask questions and give them honest answers.
Why can’t the kids drink? Tell them it’s against the law, and it might hurt their brains and bodies as they grow. But then why can the grown-ups drink? Because adult brains and bodies are ready for it.
And why do you drink? The same reason your kids drink chocolate milk. You like it. But make sure to stress that you drink only in moderation and not all the time.
When your kids are a little older, you can start to incorporate more facts about alcohol, such as the dangers, how to respect it, peer pressure and getting drunk. Also, encourage them to never keep anything about alcohol a secret.
As a result, if you tell them the dangers of alcohol early, they know to be careful. And if you openly discuss what you’re doing, it removes the elements of excitement and mystery surrounding adult drinking. Furthermore, you being open to discussion proves they can always talk to you about alcohol when it’s time for them to want to start drinking.
- Be Aware of Social and Peer Pressure
This point comes hand in hand with talking about alcohol.
Say your kids are teenagers now. Think about what you want from them Do you want them to abstain from alcohol until they’re 21? That’s certainly in line with the law, and what’s best for their health. But the fact is that teenagers drink, underage drinking exists, and other countries’ legal drinking ages may be lower.
Also, your kid’s friends or peer group may decide to drink. So, talk about all those possibilities with them in connection with your expectations. Tell them they’ll likely be pressured to drink at some point, and that their friends may drink.
Show them both sides of the story. Show them how little you and your adult friends drink, while confirming that you do drink. And let them know that even for adults, there’s pressure to drink at events and gatherings. Perhaps lead by example and abstain at an upcoming event — just to show that it can be done.
- Teach Drinking Responsibly
If you’re not a parent who encourages abstinence, let your kids experiment with a limited amount of alcohol while you’re home with them. Teach responsible drinking if you’re not striving for abstinence.
Meanwhile, if your kids go overboard and get drunk, be sensitive as well as firm. Punish, but not too harshly. Be kind and helpful with their hangover.
And you should always lead by example. If you go overboard at an event with your friends, acknowledge it. Tell your kids (of any age) that you made a mistake, and it won’t happen again. Then, next time, show them that you’ve learned from your mistake and know how to drink responsibly.