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Parenting: When is it ok to drink?

24 October 2011, 12:26

Social drinking is common. So is drinking at home. Many parents are known to enjoy a beer, or a glass of wine with friends while the children play in the garden. Perhaps you aren’t comfortable with that, and you wait until after their bedtime for wine-o-clock.

A recent event has had specialists suggesting that parenting is a 24/7 job, and that parents should either refrain from drinking, drink in extreme moderation, or make sure they have an alternative caregiver when they drink.

Two weeks ago, in the US, a mum allegedly drank to the point of having an alcoholic blackout. Her 10-month-old daughter, at some point while mom was asleep, vanished. A window screen was tampered with, and the child hasn’t been seen since.

More obvious examples are ones of moms or dads who tucked their children into their car seats, and then climbed behind the wheel while drunk, and proceeded to have an accident, or whose children had an accident with the stove or swimming pool while their parents partied.

With the festive season coming up, it could be time for you to evaluate how you plan to fit in relaxing and partying with your parenting.

Most parents wouldn’t risk driving drunk with their kids, or drinking to the point of blackout, but experts commenting on the missing child case have said just one drink is the limit when you’re on the parenting job- and that job means even when they’re asleep. Abstinence, or making sure that there’s someone sober in the house in case of an emergency is what they recommend.

Some families shun alcohol in order to avoid the potential for abuse, both for themselves and their children, while some parents opt to teach their older children responsible drinking in order to demystify the temptation. Alcohol abuse is rife in South Africa, but what about moderate or social drinking- does that carry its own risks?

You may consider your two or three glasses of wine essential to help you relax in the evenings, but, if something goes wrong, would you be able to say that you were fully in control of the situation?


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