Why you need to talk to your kids about alcohol
This is probably going to be a very controversial post. That's okay though, I don't mind being different. Perhaps a little background would be helpful. My parents owned a tavern when my sister and I were growing up. We weren't allowed in the tavern but we went in anyway (rebels that we are and all) to play the arcade games when we got bored. Being stuck in a little apartment with your sibling who is 5 years older or younger than you can get boring or angering if you fight a lot over the television that doesn't get all that many stations.
There wasn't much to do outside but I spent a lot of time out there during the warm weather months anyway, usually with our family dog who also guarded the back door to the tavern. When you grow up seeing people drink and smoke and use profanity you would think that your parents would take a minute and explain to you that while that is inappropriate behavior that these people are adults and can act however they want. That didn't happen.
Mostly we were told the whole 'monkey see/monkey do' story and that what we saw we shouldn't do. We weren't told why really. We lived in a very small town where everyone knew everything about each other. Except for me. I had my own bubble to live in and didn't care much about what was going on outside of it. Not too much anyway.
Our parents did have drinking problems. I remember many times my father being carried up the stairs to be put to bed. I remember mom's 3 months on/3 months off type of drinking and during the 3 months off her arguing with dad over his drinking. First rule of thumb: If you drink, don't own a tavern. If you start drinking and own a tavern, sell it. Especially if you have children.
I don't remember a lot of my childhood. I'm fine with this because I didn't care much about what was going on most of the time anyway to be bothered to remember it then why bother going somewhere to drudge it all up now? Let's move on, shall we?
I have a 17 year old daughter, due to turn 18 this November. Over the years I have allowed her to take sips off of different drinks that I have had. I rarely drink as it is so I figured that seeing me rarely drink was a plus but letting her taste it, that's a bonus. She's tried different beers, wine coolers, flavored vodka, mixed drinks but never let her have any straight hard liquor. She's tried the hard lemonades and teas as well I think. One New Years Eve I even allowed her to have a Green Apple Smirnoff all to herself. She got a little tipsy but nothing more. I wanted her to know what it felt like to drink alcohol. Thanks to this sort of 'training' she has learned to respect alcohol for what it really is: a recreational drink.
She knows that when I go out I rarely ever have more than two drinks. I don't come home completely trashed and start yelling or cuddling or anything. I go take a shower depending on the time and then I crawl into bed and not sleep. That's the problem with me and alcohol, I don't sleep well when I drink. I lay there with my eyes closed, my mind fairly empty and ... nothing. Since this happens pretty much every time I drink, I don't drink.
Every parent should teach their kid how to respect alcohol and how to consume it properly. It makes me sick seeing these tv shows of college-aged kids (or even high school aged kids) and they are getting trashed to the point of holy crap they should be in the hospital for alcohol poisoning, there is no way in hell they should be standing upright let alone alive right now and other various ways of making it look exciting to get trashed to the point of blacking out.
It's especially important to teach daughters the importance of protecting their drinks. Teach them to drink only from a bottle (beer/flavored vodka or rum, etc) and to stick their thumb in it when not drinking. You teach them not to leave their drink somewhere and if they find it after doing so not to drink it. You teach them these things to save them from a horrifying experience that no one (women or men) should ever have to go through.
Take the time parents and you might have the benefit of never seeing your kid in the hospital for alcohol poisoning or something worse.