Sip or No Sip – My Son Wants Just a “Taste”
“But what does it taste like?”
“It’s not a taste you would like.”
“Can I try it and see?”
This is a question I’ve been hearing a little more often from my nine year old son, usually when we are at a restaurant and I’ve ordered a glass of wine. Over the past few years, I’ve been pretty open about talking with my kids about alcohol whenever they’re curious. We’ve talked about how it’s just for grown ups, about what it can do to the brain, and about how bad it can be for an underage brain that is still developing. Our conversations have always been pretty simple, and until recently my kids have accepted my simple explanations and moved on with their lives.
It’s only been recently that my oldest son has become more and more curious about the taste of alcohol…
and being the smart boy that he is, he’s begun reasoning with me about how a “teeny tiny taste” probably won’t hurt his brain that much…
But what is the definition of “teeny tiny taste”…
and when does a sip become a gulp?
When does an adults-only beverage become a kid-sometimes-in-small-amounts beverage?
*This post is in partnership with Responsibility.org and their #TalkEarly campaign.
With the Holidays approaching, we will have parties to attend and extended family in town. There will be lots of food and lots of drinks, and plenty of opportunity for my son to ask more detailed questions about alcohol….
and because he is gifted at asking the same question a hundred times in hopes of a different answer, I’m sure the topic of “just a taste” will come up again. I personally have no interest in dissolving or blurring that line between what beverages are for grown ups and what beverages are kid-friendly, but I know that different generations and cultures may see it differently. My grandparents let my dad taste beer before he was even 10 years old so he could experience how “bad” it tasted.
In fact, data shows that while most 6-year olds know that alcohol is only for adults, they start to view alcohol more positively between the ages of 9 and 13. Many children begin to think underage drinking is okay. Some even start to experiment.
Do you allow your kids to sip? Why or why not?
If you are a parent of tweens or teens, perhaps some of the above data and risk factors will be helpful to you in your decision making process.
I am happy to be an ambassador for the #TalkEarly campaign, and I encourage you to visit the #TalkEarly page for more information on building a lifetime of conversations with kids around alcohol responsibility.