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Parents Panel: Do you have rules about drinking around your kids?

A couple of glasses of wine, or nothing at all? Our panel weigh in.

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AS PART OF our weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way.

Having a child tends to reframe your attitude to alcohol for more reasons than one. First, tending to a cranky toddler while you’re nursing a hangover is no fun, and second, you want to ensure your kids grow up with a measured attitude to drinking.

But for most parents, that glass of wine every once in a while is a much-needed way to relax and unwind. So is there a balance that works when kids are involved?

This week, we asked our panel…

Do you have rules about drinking around your kids?

Here’s what they had to say…

Parents Panel All 7 - Copy Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly Source:

I never drink in front of them, even the oldest one: Drinking in front of the kids (22, 17 and 3) is something I never do, It was a choice I made when they were younger, I think it was being a single parent that felt I had to be in my full senses with them at all times. Even if we were all out at a social event together, I just wouldn’t feel comfortable having a drink in front of them.

My eldest had his first drink in front of me when he was 17 – we were on holidays, he asked and I said yes. I want them to have a healthy respect and understanding where alcohol is concerned.

- Denise Cumiskey

We know they are impressionable at this age: We almost never drink in front of the kids, but when we do, it’s normal, respectful behaviour. As the kids have grown to primary school age and became more impressionable, we have become more conscious about how we talk about drinking and how we conduct ourselves if we are drinking.

We are aware of the influence our behaviour has on the kids. The intention is to normalise it so that they don’t lose their heads around alcohol when they are a little older. But these days, if we get out four or five times per year, that’s about it.

- Alan Dooley

One drink, but never to the point of being drunk: To the most part we wouldn’t drink in front of our son (3). A glass of wine with dinner, yes, but that’s usually after he’s gone to bed. Personally I believe that it is not appropriate for children to be somewhere that adults are going to be drunk – afters of a wedding, a pub in the evening etc. We wouldn’t have drink at a child’s birthday party either, the party is for the kids!

- Olly Keegan 

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It’s not a concern while he is so young: As Charlie’s only two, this isn’t something we’ve really had to think about yet. We’ll drink responsibly in front of him and teach good habits, but I won’t really know until the time comes when he’s old enough to realize that we’re drinking.

- Kait Quinn

A couple of drinks on a special occasion: The only times we drink in front of our children (all under ten) are the rare occasions that we have dinner guests; on a very special celebration (i.e. a wedding) or the equally rare occasion that we go to a restaurant and neither of us is driving. In all those instances, drinking would be very light, a glass or two at the most.

- Ross Boxshall

We’d have some wine or beers on the weekend: The arrival of Clíodhna (22 months ago) definitely changed our lifestyle and our drinking habits. Though no longer wining and dining as we once did, we still enjoy some wine/beer on the weekend and will have a couple of drinks in the evening with Clíodhna around. I believe in ‘everything in moderation’ and hope to pass a healthy attitude towards drink onto Clíodhna.

- Riona Flood 

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