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S-s-smokin'! ... And drinking, and gambling... Pt2


Drinking: This is an odd one for me. The fact is, the first time I got drunk, I was fifteen. I'm in no position to warn anyone to "never touch it until they're over eighteen."

Not twenty-one. The American drinking age is a disgusting affront, and MADD lies to keep support for it at high levels, despite the damage it does and the unfairness of throwing an eighteen-year-old in jail as an adult, or sending them to fight for their country, but not letting them toast a beer to their country.

There's an ad-campaign here at the moment telling parents that "kids and alcohol don't mix." What they're actually saying is: don't drink when your kids are around.
This is a very piss poor ad-campaign and it needs to be revoked right now. It's the exact same issue as with sex and pornography.

Preaching abstinence, not being a responsible and relevant role-model, cutting your kids off from seeing or discussing what drinking/sex is like in the real world, as opposed to how unrealistic pornography, movies, MTV music videos, or irresponsible older kids/adults portray it... this doesn't work. It does a lot more damage than good.

The "relevant" role-model thing is important. The fact is, drinking is a part of Western culture, and not a pretty part. If you're a stalwart teetotaller, it's difficult for a youth to relate to you; they're not necessarily going to connect with your beliefs or be content to just copy you. They want to try alcohol, they WILL get their paws on it, and they're looking for a role-model that's relevant. They're not going to ask you, someone who treats alcohol like concentrated leprosy-juice, or someone who refuses to discuss it with them because "kids and alcohol don't mix" for advice or to be their role-model in this case.

It's better to openly show and discuss responsible drinking; and to accept that even if your teen gets totally blotto one night, pukes his lungs up and calls the cat "daddy", he'll probably not suffer any permanent damage. He definitely won't suffer from just a few beers with his dad on the couch watching the game together.

In fact, you know what the ultimate benefit of being open and tolerant about teen drinking is? When/IF they do decide to experiment, they aren't afraid about doing it where you'll be able to supervise and look after them. That's much better than these idiotic binge-drinking parties - which occur, by the way, because teens often haven't been shown by a respected, personal role-model that alcohol is not something to be binged on. It's no joke, I've been to several of these binge drinking fests: we drank it like cola. With my new experience, having been drinking since fifteen, I know not to drink it like cola. (Edit: and I now drink at home or at drinking establishments in the company of responsible people who don't let me get absolutely wasted! Whoops, kids can't do that!)

Don't be permissive and irresponsible, just be a strong, relevant role-model. Be the person your kids can talk to about this without fear of being scorned, lectured, yelled at or punished. There are plenty of celebrities and people out there that don't drink. Most of my role-models are straight-edge, believe it or not! They are doing their job, they are the influence on teens that tug them in the direction of sobriety; but do you want their counter-influence to be pulling them in the direction of drinking booze like cordial, or drinking responsibly?

Because of this taboo, because "kids and alcohol don't mix", teens often are stranded in the vast gulf between the responsible, good people telling them to "never, ever drink!" and those that don't care, or aren't actually producing entertainment for youths that watch it anyway, who laud idiotic alcohol abuse. They want to try it. Which end will they gravitate towards? Even the sensible kids who know to be responsible could do with being shown what it truly means to be responsible with alcohol - let's face it, when you first got blasted, it was because you didn't realize what that eighth shot would do to you, right? You didn't plan on the hangover. Hell, nobody even warned you about it, right?

Look, do you want to be your child's role-model when it comes to drinking? Do you want to educate them by showing them how to be responsible and careful with booze? To have a few beers while playing Playstation with friends instead of slamming tequila at "parties"?

Or do you wanna leave it up to 50 Cent?
Viewed: 29 times
Added: 7 years, 5 months ago
7 years, 5 months ago
My grandfather knew how to handle a curious kid and alcohol. When I was about four or five and nagging to taste his beer, he poured a good mouthful into a glass and told me to drink it in one. I did, and that bitter flavour on a kid's sensitive pallet has pretty much kept me from drinking ever since. The only thing that kept me from Linda Blair-ing all over the kitchen was the thought of tasting that horrid stuff one more time. These days, I barely drink at all. I can have a beer occasionally, but I'm not very fond of the taste.

I'm not preachy about it or anything, I just don't like drinking. When my brother got to be the curious age, I just told him to use his wits, and to never go drinking without bringing a pack of condoms. By that time, though, we had seen one of our mom's friends quite literally drink herself out of her wits (not a pretty sight), so his curiosity never went further than a few beers. Sometimes bad examples work better than good ones.
7 years, 5 months ago
Yeah, that first hangover will work as effectively.

However, I do have a problem with that approach. Heard it many times before. Firstly, you were judging all beer based on your initial impression of a beer your grandfather gave you (indeed, as a child with a more sensitive pallet). So you're "being responsible" for the wrong reasons - and can you count on this technique working on kids who then get introduced to wine coolers, premixed vodka and colas, and other sweet, tasty alcoholic drinks? To be honest, my dad tried this tactic on me too, let me taste some of his awful beer (Emu Bitter, Australian crap); didn't stop me drinking a dozen shots of vodka + Coca Cola when I was fifteen. Sometimes, it just doesn't work.

The second examples as well... it all reminds me of my friend who is relatively abstemious because his father was an alcoholic. He's afraid to believe in his own ability to moderate his drinking.
I don't like this approach because it's not based on giving kids a proper understanding of the issue and falls apart whenever someone pokes a hole in it: say, perhaps you met me when you were twelve, and you told me about your grandfather's beer; I'd only have to let you taste a vodka-and-passionfruit premix and you'd realize that booze can taste GREAT - and then you get to experience what it's like having more booze and might be emboldened to drink further. Or I show you a casual night out with friends where six beers are hastily consumed and nobody is worse for wear, let alone drunk out of their wits literally.

The truth is the best thing to arm someone with when you want them to make good decisions, to me, and believing that all beer is icky (I take offense to that! >:3) or that alcohol will turn you into a brain-damaged loon just doesn't strike me as a good platform to make decisions about what and how much you drink. You might not drink a lot (at first), but you're doing it for all the wrong reasons. A castle of lies can crumble.

That said, I think your grandfather (and you) were awesome. Those tactics are still a crapload better than treating alcohol as taboo around kids.
7 years, 5 months ago
I don't think taboos and hushing things up work very well with anything. If anything, they create a kind of almost mystical excitement around the subject, whether it is alcohol, sex, gambling, violent movies or drugs. Especially if the adults around the kids have a tendency to indulge.

"No, you can't do that, because it's bad!"

"But you do it, mommy."

"Yes, but I'm a grown-up, so that's okay. Now don't mention it again!"

That's not likely to turn any kid into a responsible adult, more a way to make them look forward to binges of their own. In my case, I guess it helped that my parents really were good examples. They were both top athletes and neither smoked, drank or did drugs. My grandfather was the only adult in my near family who drank alcohol, and only a beer with meals. If he were ever drunk, I never saw it.

It also helped that I'm old enough to have grown up in a time when there was no candy-flavoured drinks. Back then, if you wanted to drink, you had to endure the taste of alcohol. I was never really inclined to overcome that flavour-barrier. These days, who knowa? But then again, unless someone invents time travel we never will know. I feel perfectly happy without alcohol, though I don't berate people who do drink. Just as long as they don't hurt anybody else, which sadly some do.
7 years, 5 months ago
Heh, see, this at least is a good thing about being an RCC kid. :p We got to drink wine at age 7 every week. Heck, we were REQUIRED to. X3

I'd say that demystifies alcohol somewhat, although given the entire "wine > blood" alchemy going on there, there's a bit more mysticism in that than your average kegger. :P
7 years, 5 months ago
Oh oh oh!  Or how about the "Just Say No" campaign in the US?  We don't bother actually teaching kids what drugs or alcohol or sex is -- just tell them to "just say no!"  Then we can blame them when they get raped!  Or they can feel extra guilty when they "fail" to "say no" when a friend offers them a beer, and "OMG LET'S ALL GET DRUNK NAO!!!"

Also:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMvPT6w21KY
7 years, 5 months ago
Heh, I find it funny that parents immediately equate alcohol with bad behavior in teens. Like anyone needs alcohol to be a giant cock.

My parents were pretty much like "drink whatever you want, just do it with us around so we can regulate how much you're having", and I apparently turned out okay.
Of course I'm a bit of an alcoholic (especially if there's Guinness or Shiner involved), but that's really just unavoidable family genetics.
I also think it's interesting that in every single fight I've gotten into, I was always sober. Even when I started the fight I was sober. Hell, all the bad stuff I did was when I was sober. Being buzzed made me /more/ well-behaved if anything.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have my step-sister. Her mom drank in front of her and basically went "nananana boo boo, you don't get any until your 21". Now she's obsessed with binge-drinking.
7 years, 5 months ago
Yeah, I've never understood violent drunks... personally, I'm a pretty happy drunk. In fact, it seems like most of the people I know of my generation (here, that is) are very amiable when they get plastered. Playfighting notwithstanding.

It's not alcohol that makes people act like cocks. I think aggressive drunks learn their behavior from the aggressive drunks around them, and how much that aggressive behavior is accepted or expected by their peers is a big factor. I know that sounds a little pretentious, but basically: I've gotten drunk at parties and such in my teen years, sometimes around violent criminal trash (long story) and I definitely saw a lot more drunken aggression around them than whenever I got drunk around my "real" friends.
In other words, they're going to be dick-blisters anyway, but the alcohol just makes them a little more volatile.

The way society is progressing, I think we're going to see less violent drunks and less people drinking to cope with depression, at least in the middle class. At least I bloody hope so.

I just looked up Shiner, as they don't export to here. They look like they produce some great stuff; I know what I'm trying when I'm next in the States. I've recently started drinking craft beers almost exclusively - expensive, but if you're going to get blasted, do it with something good I say.
7 years, 5 months ago
Yeah, I think that if someone is already exhibiting aggressive behavior that alcohol will intensify that emotion. It lowers inhibitions, but it won't make you act completely out of character.

And Shiner Bock is made very close to where I live, so it's a staple around here. Unfortunately, I only started drinking it recently. My dad introduced me to craft beers and exports. If all you've had is piss-water light beer all your life, anything else is like 'drinking a porkchop out of a bottle' as my dad put it. Needless to say, I don't buy light beer anymore.
7 years, 5 months ago

Yeah, I pretty much always drank exports. The absolute cheapest stuff I drink is Miller Genuine Draft (Budweiser if I'm really slumming it) but that's an export here - heh! I can't remember the last time I bought it though. Had it at a friend's when we were watching a sport event. I mostly drank imported or premium lagers, then I tried an American IPA at a pub once and decided to branch out. So glad I did.
Funnily enough, I was seriously going to write a journal about this topic just after I finished this one. Might do that anyway.

Your dad has a way with words. I agree 100%.
7 years, 5 months ago
"There is nothing censorship can do that proper education can't do better. Nothing."
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