Mum Defends Her Decision to Allow Her Children to Drink Alcohol on Special Occasions
A mum in the UK has discussed her reasons for allowing her children to drink alcohol on special occasions, opening up a heated debate among parents as to whether it is right to do so or not.
During an appearance on Good Morning Britain, mum and journalist Shona Sibary argued that she was sensibly introducing her three teenagers to the effects of alcohol in a safe, controlled environment.
“You wouldn’t get into a car without learning how to drive,” Shona explained.
“What I’m doing for my children is, by giving them small amounts on special occasions, they’re learning how their bodies react to alcohol with food.
“And therefore they’re in a far better position when they go out with their friends to know what they’re capable of drinking.”
Sibary “grew up with” alcohol throughout her own childhood, and she’s applied her parents’ approach to her own four children, the youngest of which is 8-years-old.
“My father taught me to pour a decent [gin and tonic], and I’ve done the same with my children. My son knows if I’ve had a bad day it’s three fingers, if it’s not such a bad day it’s two,” she laughed.
Shona and her family have experience with the negative side of alcohol addiction, as her mother passed away due to alcoholism two years ago.
“My children have seen the abuse of alcohol up close and personal, but that hasn’t changed my approach. I was still allowing them to drink even before that happened,” she said.
“Most of us drink to make ourselves feel better in the evening, but people with an alcohol problem drink to stop themselves feeling bad.
“There is a massive difference and my children know that difference.”
While it is illegal for licensed premises to sell alcohol to a minor in Australia, it is not illegal for a minor to consume alcohol in their own home if their parents are monitoring the situation carefully.
According to the NSW Police website, only a parent or guardian (or a person authorised by the parent or guardian) may supply alcohol to a minor at an unlicensed premises, including a family home.
However, the supply must be consistent with the responsible supervision of the minor, ie, the age of the minor, whether the person supplying the alcohol is intoxicated, whether the minor is consuming the liquor with food, whether the minor’s consumption of liquor is being responsibly supervised by the person supplying the liquor, and the quantity of liquor and the period of time over which it is supplied.
The supply of alcohol to a child who is intoxicated is not, in any circumstance, consistent with the responsible supervision of a minor.
In other words, it is completely legal for a child to consume a small serving of alcohol with a meal in New South Wales. This is the case with most states in Australia — as long as the parents are supplying the alcohol and monitoring the situation, it is totally legal for a child to have a glass of wine or a beer with dinner. Or whatever alcoholic drink they’d like.
But should we allow our children to have a drink with their meal? That’s another case entirely, and one we’d love to hear your opinion of! Sound off in the comments!