Saturday, April 28, 2007

More wine dear

I can't remember the first sip of wine I ever had, however I do remember being given a small glass of white wine at Christmas. The wine was to celebrate the season, and cleanse my palate between bites of Christmas turkey, gravy and stuffing. I may not have realised that at that young age, but this single glass of wine each Christmas day helped shape my ideas about alcohol.

I know that a glass of wine is best enjoyed with a good meal. I do not drink alcohol purely to get drunk, and in my teens I never hung around street corners swigging from a bottle of cheap cider, or stood outside the off-license begging the over-18's to buy some alco-pops. I have had my moments, mainly in University when I've gone over the top, but I can count those times on the fingers of one hand. On the whole I have a relaxed, well-adjusted, sensible attitude to drinking.

So when I heard about this story about banning parents from letting their children under 15 years old consume alcohol, even with a meal, I'll admit my hackles got a little raised. I understand that binge drinking among the younger population is becoming more and more common, but isn't that a sign that we need to change their way of thinking? Teen, and pre-teen pregnancies are rising at an alarming rate despite the legal age of consent being 16, so what makes people think that a blanket ban of alcohol for under 15's will work? How will it be policed? Why can't (sensible) parents make an informed decision about their own children?

In my opinion this idea will not work. To beat binge drinking, attitudes about alcohol must change. If parents want to they should be allowed to introduce the child to alcohol, as I was, at a young age. In this way we can teach how alcohol should be treated with respect. I often think that under 15's are so desperate to start drinking because they see it as a grown up thing to do. If they're used to having a glass of wine every now and again, is it such a grown-up thing to do anymore? Education about alcohol will be more successful than bans will ever hope to be, just look at 1920's prohibition in America and you'll see what I mean.

7 comments:

thethinker said...

I agree.

If you introduce a kid to alcohol early (in small quantities, of course), it doesn't seem to be such of a novelty when they finally reach the legal drinking age. That might stop them from going to excess.

Asp said...

I was going to post something on pretty well the same lines, but you've saved me a job!

All I would add is my experiences in France last year - there a glass of wine with a meal is considered as more important than water! And there certainly is much less binging - it's not completely eradicated, I don't think there's any way to do that - but most people appreciate alcohol then go mad on it.

The only potential problem over there is a different type of alcoholism...

MB said...

I think if a teenager is going to drink they'll find a way to do so. I was a binge drinker at 15, and got the beer from a shop willing to sell beer to those underage! Now, at 21, I don't drink that often.

Mosher said...

Asp covered my comment by saying "look at France". There's a simple rule about kids that the government seem not to have taken on board: make something "bad" or "naughty" and kids want to do it sooooo much more.

How many people had their first beer in a pub at 15, 16, 17... whatever? And how many actually drank *less* or at the very least found it less of a "thrill" once they reached 18?

Besides, who's going to fund the police who'll have to breath-test every child wandering outside to play football after Sunday lunch? Or are they just going to pull over the ones who start to drive a bit wobbly on Gotham Racing?

the domestic minx said...

What a great post!!
Look at France, indeed! We took a very French approach to the drinking of wine with our meals and, as such, our lads have not gone mental at the mention of alcohol. Certainly, they've had their moments and have overindulged. But then so have I, so do I, so will I...
Once you ban something you make it even more mysterious and desirable. Do we need this? I'm not suggesting we want hordes of pissed up 15 yr olds roaming the streets, but if they want it, they WILL get it.
Responsibility, education and accountability are more important than black listing something.

JR's Thumbprints said...

In order to build up a tolerance for alcohol, I say start'em young. (Just kidding). I wonder what will happen during church mass if a kid decides to drink out of the community cup?

Thomas Hamburger Jnr said...

Wise words, indeed! If only Harry McFry had been privy to them, not only might it have saved him from a life of alcoholism, but he might also be a bit closer to solving the mystery of that chuffing family.

Kind Regards

THJnr

PS If I hadn't already handed out all my Thinking Blogger badges the other day, this post would have earned one!

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