One married couple have disagreed over their daughter’s consumption of alcohol (Picture: Getty)
One dad has been left furious with his wife after she allowed their 16-year-old daughter to drink a glass of wine as an evening treat.
Whilst watching a film together, her daughter asked if she could try some of her mum’s glass. Accepting her request despite her otherwise ‘strict’ pre-existing views on alcohol, chaos ensued when the father found out.
‘Last night, I (F46) had a glass of wine while watching a movie with my daughter (F16), and she asked me if she could try some’, the mum’s Reddit post read.
‘Normally, I’m strict with my children when it comes to alcoholic beverages, but I didn’t think a little wine would hurt, so I poured her a glass. I told her that this would be a once-in-a-blue-moon exception.
‘My husband (M48), on the other hand, was not okay with this. When he came into the living room and saw her with the wine in her hand, he lost his mind.
‘He started shouting at me, asking why the hell I let her drink alcohol underaged, and said she could easily become addicted to it. I immediately felt bad and apologised, but my husband is still pissed with me over this. I don’t think he trusts me anymore.’
The comments were largely sympathetic to the mum’s perspective, with one arguing that this presented a ‘safe, controlled’ environment through which to introduce her child to alcohol.
‘You want her to learn healthy habits and drinking in moderation with you right next to her removes a lot of the appeal of alcohol’, one comment read. ‘You’re taking away any lingering mystique or stigma. If it’s not forbidden or an “adult thing” she’s not allowed near/trusted with then it loses a lot of the appeal.’
‘Keeping it as some kind of forbidden fruit until she’s 21 only makes it more likely she’ll hide it from you’, they added.
Others pointed to the fact that, outside the US, the drinking age is lower than 21. Indeed, in countries like Germany, drinking both beer and wine is legal at 16 – but drinking harder spirits is outlawed until the age of 18.
‘I used to live overseas, so the drinking age is lower there. 16 is perfectly fine to have a glass of wine, another chimed.
‘In fact, having a glass in front of a parent really takes the fun and mysticism out of drinking.’
However, not everyone was understanding.
‘Plenty of us would say that this is exactly the healthiest way to teach older kids to have a responsible relationship with alcohol before they leave home and are on their own’, another wrote.
‘But she is underage and you have a coparent who this should have been discussed with. I think to deny them any input on a decision like serving alcohol to your minor child for the first time was a mistake worth apologising for.’
What does the law say about underage drinking?
‘In the UK, Someone aged 16 or 17 and accompanied by an adult, can drink (but not buy) beer, wine or cider with a meal at a licensed premises (except in Northern Ireland). But it’s illegal for people this age to drink spirits in a pub anywhere in the UK, even with a meal.
’16- and 17-year-olds who work in a licensed bar, restaurant or shop can serve alcohol, as long as the licence holder or bar manager has approved the sale and it’s in line with any other restrictions set out in the license.’
Source: Drink Aware
Earlier this year, some of the biggest drinks brands in the UK launched a campaign urging parents to discuss underage drinking with children.
Although levels of underage drinking in the UK continue to fall, 71% of young people between the ages of 11 to 15 said their parents or carers are their main source of alcohol.
A study by Community Alcohol Partnerships last year into parental attitudes towards alcohol supply found 53% of parents have allowed, or would allow, their children to have an alcoholic drink. This goes against official health guidance.
The organisation also found two-third of parents would like to have a source of advice in keeping kids safe from the risks of underage drinking, and only 13% feel they already have such a source.
Kate Winstanley, director of Community Alcohol Partnerships, told Metro.co.uk parental supply of alcohol to children is a ‘complex subject area’ which ‘needs to be tackled sensitively.
‘The health advice is also relatively complex with different advice for different age groups,’ she said.
‘Parents face considerable challenges in setting boundaries and navigating conflict with their teenage children – they need help and support during a challenging period of parenthood.
‘The key finding of our research is that most parents are simply not aware of health advice that an alcohol-free childhood is best.
‘Only one in three parents are aware that health advice on pre-adult drinking exists and fewer than one in 10 understand what this is.’
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Normally, she has a ‘strict’ approach to alcohol.