Alcohol in the House

Updated on March 28, 2011
H.X. asks from San Clemente, CA
42 answers

Both my husband and I grew up in strict Christan teetotaling homes (no alcohol whatsoever) . We both drink moderately and my husband has one drink most days. However, lately as my daughter is old enough to know what we are drinking, I'm feeling like we should not have alcohol in the home. I think it was good for our parents to model this for us. Obviously teetotalers are by default not going to have alcohol in the home. But i'm wondering, for you moderate drinkers, anyone considering taking alcohol out of the home as a good example for your children?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for your responses. Somewhat what i expected, but a little surprised not to find at least a small percentage removing alcohol from the home. I admit, alcohol was very alluring to me, not having it around. Though my parents let me taste it when on rare occasions it was around. I admit that in my heart of hearts, I'd rather my kids not drink at all. I had a sister who the first time she got rip roaring drunk as a 14 year old , was raped by a friend. Her battle with alcoholism raged and was agrrivated by the after math of the rape. All my relatives on my mother's side are one of two categories: teetotalers or drunks and nothing in between. I fear the alcoholism that rages on my side of the family. I fear the level of intoxication and drunk driving that went on between my husband and his brothers as teenagers (they all ought to be dead or in jail). Dear God it scares the hell out me.

Featured Answers

T.K.

answers from Dallas on

No. We are light to moderate drinkers. Setting a good example for us means having alcohol in the house and drinking repsonsably. That's the lesson I model.

9 moms found this helpful

M.F.

answers from Denver on

No. I tell my daughter that it is a grown up drink, and when she is a grown up she can try it.
No reason for me to not have a glass of wine just because she is there.
My grandmother is so much a tea-total person that my grown mother used to hide her wine and beer when my grandmother would come to visit us!
I never understood WHY my mom and dad should have to hide things in their own house because of a guest, or in this case a child.
No, I will not stop having a bottle of wine in my fridge.

When I was 17, I would not stop bugging my parents about letting me have a beer, so finally at one point they let me get drunk. The next morning, bright and early, they took me out to breakfast at a greasy pancake house and ordered eggs and stuff. By the time we left I was so sick I threw up in the parking lot.
It was a LONG time before I wanted to get drunk again. LOL :)

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S.C.

answers from Fort Wayne on

I don't think it's necessary to ban it completely from the house. My husband and I both like to drink. My kids have seen us drink. We don't get sloppy drunk in front of them, but they know that Mommy likes a glass of wine and Daddy likes a beer. If anything, by showing that you can have one or two drinks and stop is what's setting the good example. As long as you're not slamming down drinks all day every day, then there's no harm.

3 moms found this helpful

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R.K.

answers from Appleton on

How will your child learn responsible drinking habits if they never see them?

12 moms found this helpful
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S.B.

answers from Kansas City on

I think it's perfectly fine for you to model moderate drinking to your kids. You want them to see people drink responsibly or their first experience is going to be kids in college getting blind drunk.

11 moms found this helpful

A.W.

answers from Kalamazoo on

Nope - everything in moderation. I feel the same way about junk food.

8 moms found this helpful

M.H.

answers from Raleigh on

I may be in the minority, but I actually think it is good for your children to see you drink once in awhile. I think it shows how one can drink because you like the flavor, and drink responsibly in front of them. Now grant it, most of our wine is aging at our house right now, and the bit of hard liquor we have is in a deep dark corner of a cabinet and hasn't been touched in well over a year, but I still don't see a problem with it as long as you explain that it is never touched and you show responsibility when you drink.

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T.V.

answers from San Francisco on

AFTER READING YOUR "SO WHAT HAPPENED"

Fear nothing, pray about everything!

Blessings....

Moderation in all things. Would you prefer your husband have his ONE drink a day in a bar? Trust me before long, it would be more then one. I see nothing wrong with keeping adult beverages in the home. We set examples for our children by the way we conduct ourselves.

Blessings.....

4 moms found this helpful

A.S.

answers from Spokane on

I think having it in the house and modeling the correct use (moderation) is the best way to go. The more you hide it from them, the more they want to know and the more they're going to experiment on their own. My husband and I drink very rarely. He might have a handful of drinks a week (at the most) and I might have one a month. I grew up with my grandparents having a well stocked bar and we never touched the stuff. It was the same with my husband. Now we have a very small liquor cupboard (my husband is such a snob and will only buy the expensive stuff; thankfully because that keeps it small) that is up high above our fridge. It's kept locked and there's stuff that lives on the fridge. So even if they were curious, they generally stay away from it.

We have let all of them try small sips. I spent a lot of time in Europe so I'm more of that mindset. But none of them really care for any of it (beer, wine or spirits) and my oldest daughter actually asked her father how he could drink the stuff because it tasted so bad. LOL If for some reason, when they are older & more curious, I'd rather have them get drunk at home where they're safe and I can take care of them vs. getting drunk somewhere where they could get hurt etc.

4 moms found this helpful

J.F.

answers from Philadelphia on

I grew up with an alcoholic dad with alcohol stocked constantly and did not drink until last year pretty much at 27, now J. occasioanlly...I think everything is fine in moderation, J. because you have a drink on occassion in front of her doesn;t mean shes going to be an alcoholic, J. like if you have snack in the house doesn;t mean shes going to be obese.....everyone needs to learn control...I never learned that! Also she should be able to see you have a good time together with and without it, J. keep it away so she can't get to it. My 4 year old has never seen M. drink b/c I don't drink at home , for no reason other than I won't drink alone...and she still is curious about it, bt being hit by a drnk driver didn't help. We were at the resatuant the other day and she screamed that she wanted alcohol so loud...J. because it's been on her mind with the accident...and she knew he drank alcohol..I guess shes J. curious...and she likes the reaction

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M.C.

answers from Pocatello on

I think that it is actually ok for you to have alchohol in the house. If your kids see that you can drink, with restraint... it will show them that drinking is not "all or nothing"- you show them you have the personal restrain not to get totally smashe every time you have a beer, the type of restraint you'll want them to have when they encounter drinking as adults.

That said, when your children reach highschool you need to brink up the issue of teen drinking, and your stance on the matter. (i am a ways from the teen years... but here is my mom's advice to me as a teen: she told me she did not approve of teen drinking AT ALL and she would not allow it in her home. She also said that if I ever did get drunk, she would rather come pick me up and bring me home than have me get in a car with a drunk driver... I wouldn't be spared consequences, but I would get in less trouble that if i had come home drunk...)

But all of that is for later on. Right now set a good example. Drinking is not inherently "evil". Drinking without moderation however- is a huge problem. Eating thirty pounds of chocolate and potato chips is not "good" for you either... but that doen't mean you cannot EVER have anything chocolate or bad for you, in moderation. Completely removing all of the "evils" of the world will give your kids the disadvantage by not allowing them to learn and understand self-control in the face of temptation. A lot of the people who died from binge drinking accidents when I was in college came from "liquor free" homes, and when they finally did take the risk of drinking, they had "all or nothing mindsets".

Good Luck- and Good job!
-M.

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V.W.

answers from Jacksonville on

Nope. We'd rather set the example that it's fine in moderation, like most everything else that is legal. We teach by example that just because it is there doesn't mean we have it out drinking it daily, or hourly or whatever. And when we do indulge, we don't wait until they are in bed or are not around, either. We teach them moderation.
They are 12 and 9, and it won't be too many more years before our eldest will be having friends urging him to try it. I hope he will see it as not a big deal, since he sees it in our house, and not as some "taboo" thing that he can't wait to try out.

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J.B.

answers from Atlanta on

No -I don't think it's necessarily a "good" example. Many kids find things that are totally banned from their lives and homes to be VERY attractive -especially when it's perfectly normal in other's homes. They're also definitely going to be confronted with booze at some point during adolescence, and I think it's best for them to realize it's a very enjoyable substance in moderation, but too much is terrible. If they grow up seeing their parents model responsible drinking, then it won't be this attractive taboo OR something they don't know how to handle when they're older. We love wine and beer, and our children don't think it's anything strange -they just understand that only grown ups can drink it because you have to know when to stop.

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C.N.

answers from Baton Rouge on

No. My daughter saw me drink and she saw me drink RESPONSIBLY. She saw me have ONE glass of wine, not get commode-hugging drunk. By the time she was old enough to understand what alcohol was, and what effect it had on people, she was old enough to understand that it was not to be trifled with, but used with care.

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K.B.

answers from Detroit on

I know I am coming into this a little late, but just wanted to say that we don't see drinking as a bad thing. My husband has a couple of beers every night. Once in a while I will have a glass of wine with dinner, or a cocktail if we go out. Our DD is 3, and my stepsons are now 16 and 17. For the teenagers this is how life has always been, and they have never seen us drink to the point where we were actually drunk and impaired. DD knows that there are just certain things that are for grown-ups only, including coffee and sushi (we tell her the same thing about soda).

Once at a 4th of July party, years ago, my DH had me drive home just to be safe, because he had been drinking and I had not, and we had the boys with us. As far as we are concerned, we are modeling good behavior - everything in moderation, and when you think you've had too much, let someone else drive.

For the most part, I think if you forbid something completely, you make it just that much more alluring, and the children will never see how someone can drink responsibly and be okay. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. But for those who have issues with alcoholism, obviously, that is a different story. It's an addiction and a disease, but you can also get addicted to virtually anything.

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C.B.

answers from Kansas City on

i think that responsible use - at your home, in moderation, IS a good example for your children. i think in many cases if you put a stigma on something and absolutely forbid it 100%, then when kids get older, guess what they'll turn to in their rebellious phases.

like others have said, i drink a glass of wine occasionally. if my son asks (and often he doesn't) i tell him it's a grownup drink. that's the end of the discussion. but then my son never gets soda, rarely juice, and hardly ever flavored milks, either. in general we are water drinkers. he knows some things are not good for kids, and some things are only ok sometimes.

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R.J.

answers from Salt Lake City on

we have alcohol in the house the "hard stuff" is locked in the bar in the basement but there is almost always some beer or wine in the fridge. Everyone we know drinks so it is not unusual for us to offer a soda or beer or wine when people visit. My parents had it in the house although they didn't drink much. It is not unusual for me or my husband to have a glass of wine or a beer after a hard day. I don't think it is bad for the kids if it seen as normal. I don't think they are as tempted just like the kids that their parents don't have candy or sweets around so when they go somewhere that does the overdose on the stuff.

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A.S.

answers from Detroit on

I don't see an issue with the occasional drink. I would have a problem with my kids seeing someone drinking a case a night in our home.

We have alcohol in our home, but I MIGHT have 6 alcoholic beverages a YEAR. My husband keeps his beer out in the garage... He drinks often but not in the house. While he's tinkering in the garage.

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B.B.

answers from Missoula on

I have a 3 year old, and he was seen both my husband and I drink wine, beer and cocktails. He knows that sometimes mom and dad (as well as other visiting adults) have "grown up" drinks. I don't see any reason to hide our drinking from him, it is nothing scary or shameful. We don't drink excessively, when we do drink is is 1-2 drinks for me, possibly up to 3 or 4 for my husband. I would rather set an example for our kids about what is an appropriate way to consume alcohol than to pretend it doesn't exist by banning it from the house.

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L.U.

answers from Seattle on

My parents rarely had alcohol in the house. I have never seen either one drunk, and acohol has never been something that I have been interested in. However, I have one brother who drinks quite a bit and one who is a recovering alcoholic. The other two drink on occasion. I don't think it matters if there is alcohol in the house or not...what you REALLY want to watch out for are the people your children are hanging out with. Her friends will probably dictate whether or not she tries to drink or do drugs.
L.

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N.R.

answers from Boston on

I agree with Victoria. I think if it's forbidden then they are more likely to go behind your back and be sneaky when they get older.

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C.C.

answers from Sacramento on

Well, my 8 year old knows how to mix a dry martini, and an excellent one at that, so I guess you know my answer to that question! I think the more you forbid something, the more curious kids are about it. Obviously we don't want our kids drinking at this young age because that would be bad for their brain development, but I refuse to make it a taboo subject. You shouldn't get DRUNK in front of them, but modeling having a drink every now and then and not getting drunk and not making a big deal of it is a GOOD thing to model. Just my two cents.

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E.P.

answers from New York on

Haven't read other responses but I'll add my 2 cents worth. I come from an Italian family and there was always alcohol in our home and at our dinner table. My father would have maybe 4-6 oz of red wine almost every night with dinner. He never drank much of anything else and I can honestly say I've never seen him even tipsy. As children starting from a pretty young age, we were offered an oz or so of wine mixed with our soda when we visited with our Italian relatives which was most Sundays growing up. Sometimes we had some, sometimes we didn't. Alcohol was never an item that held much mystery for me and my 2 sisters. We didn't drink much (if at all) when we were in our early 20's. No secret drinking like our HS and college friends.
We are all grown now (age 44-50) and NONE of us are drinkers of any sort. I might have a sip of something once a month if that and I do mean a sip. My older sister might have a glass of wine once in a while and same for our other sister. My 11 year old sees my husband have a few oz of wine with dinner some nights and she understands that a little wine can be good for you but too much of anything isn't. Responsible drinking is a good example to set for your children (unless maybe you have a history of alcoholism in your family in which case that may not be a good idea).

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C.W.

answers from Las Vegas on

No, most teens are going to be around it. If it's not talked about and she doesn't know what it looks like or what have you, then she's going to be more likely to drink with friends. I drink occasionally, mostly at restaurants, but I'll keep it in the house and educate her on responsibility, alcohol, and keep tabs on how much there is just in case. Honestly, it is actually healthy to drink one drink every day.. it releases stress... no joke I found that out and was like what! My dad drank a 6 pack every night (he had a tolerance and wasn't a "drunk" drunk) and when I was a teen I didn't go under peer pressure with alcohol.... it made no bad effect.

I agree with Robyn, I actually am a social drinker so when I drink at home alone I drink 1 or 2 so I will probably make an effort to keep it in the house so she can see that you don't have to binge drink you can drink 1 or 2 responsibly.

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R.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

I kind of feel like they are going to be immersed in it pretty hardcore once they get to the high school age and I would rather them know that "binge drinking" is not the "norm" and that some people can responsibly have only 1-2 drinks and not 12. We keep our alcohol in a high cupboard although if we have wine we usu never finish the bottle in one sitting so sometimes it is in the fridge. It is so hard to say how your own children will react to having, or not having alcohol in the home... some kids whose parents never ever drink go "nuts" with it and others whose parents drank constantly never do. I do feel weird drinking around my kids for the most part and will usu only have a drink with my husband after they go to bed or when we are out on a date or w/friends. I don't ever want my kids to pick up on subtle (or not so subtle) differences in the way I am acting/talking etc and think, "Oh it is because she drank a beer now she is acting weird" - ya know?

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R.M.

answers from Seattle on

I think drinking responsibly is a good example.

Would never dream of not having alcohol in the house.

R.

1 mom found this helpful

A.G.

answers from Houston on

I grew up without alcohol in the house and by my teens i was looking everywhere i could to get it, thats just me.

Setting an example is something someone has to live, If you feel you never want your kids to drink, then neither you or your husband should drink. But you can also teach that alcohol, at home is ok for adults in moderation. This is more realistic.

My husband and i drink in front of our kids,we are very relaxed about it, my daguhters knows what it is and what it does. Most adults do it, and if i do it im not going to hide it from her and make it taboo.

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C.T.

answers from Dallas on

Absolutely not. I think it is good for kids to see parents who like a drink once in a while to see how alcohol is handled responsibly. I grew up in a home with no alcohol and boy did I not learn to drink responsibly as a teen and young adult. Thank goodness God was watching out for me all those years. I like a drink on occasion and will teach my children how to drink responsibly. Will they? I hope they will remember my words and actions and put them to practice. I don't think removing alcolhol from my home will teach them any better.

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J.S.

answers from Boston on

I've never considered doing this. I think it's fine to model responsible, moderate social drinking among adults. I try to avoid extremes in all areas - my children know that alcohol is for adults only and that drinking when you're young can lead to life-long problems (we have plenty of alcoholic relatives to serve as living proof of this) but that if you wait until you are of legal age to drink and do so in moderation, you can enjoy a drink or two among friends and have it not be a problem. Now that our kids are older (the oldest are 13) we are keeping the alcohol under lock and key but don't hide the fact that we might have a cocktail or glass of wine every now and again.

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M.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

i wouldn't take alcohol out of the home. my children are 4 almost 5 and 13 mos so they aren't that interested in what we may or may not be drinking. as they get older i guess we will model drinking responsibly...but who wants to be lit when your kids are up?...

B.M.

answers from San Francisco on

Personally, I think it is important to model responsible behavior as much as possible. If you drink moderately and aren't abusing, I think that is the best situation of all. A child can see that it is something to be enjoyed in moderation, it isn't a scary taboo thing. Kids will be exposed to (offered, tried etc) alcohol at an extremely young age. If they think it is completely taboo, they may be more inclined to try it. And they wont know how to handle it responsibly. Obviously, there is no 'right answer' or 'one way' to handle the situation but if you and your husband are responsible and moderate with your drinking, I think that is perfect behavior to model. Also, talk to your children about alcohol and drinking. Don't shy away from it, let them know how to handle it properly and why it isn't for children (their brains are still developing late into their teens, for instance).

An important topic indeed, good for you for trying to be conscious of your actions. Good luck.

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V.M.

answers from Erie on

I have asked this before and gotten the same response, and unfortunately as hubby argrees with everyone else, it is still in my home.
for me, it is a question of availability, I would rather not stock it in the house. for me if we know we will be having a dinner party and want to buy a few bottles of wine and model that for our children, or have one glass of wine with a meal at a nice resturant again show our children that the limit is one then well.. ok, but i just don't want it left out.
I was the biggest goody two shoes ever, but my parents divorced and dad started keeping a jug of wine in the fridge and I"m sure he would have gladly poured me a glass if i had wanted, instead i would sneak some on the weekends i spent with him. I'll tell you right now if it wasn't there i never would have tried it or been sneaky.
thinking about this really makes me realize how uncomfortable i am with my youngest having access to this, it's just her personality to push the limits my oldest would never think twice if we said it was for grownups.
Since i know i can't win with hubby maybe if i buy him some sort of locking bar thing for his birthday it would atleast be harder for them to get into. although we all know parents can never ever hide anything completely.

D.B.

answers from San Antonio on

I can understand your concerns when you have a history of alcoholism on your side of the family. I don't have an easy answer for you. My mother was very strict about no booze in the house yet my brother started drinking and driving at 16. So it didn't really matter that it wasn't in our house, he knew it was out there anyway.

I have 5 children and we have usually had some form of alcohol in our home, usually wine/beer. We don't drink to excess but lately I've noticed my 23yods has been drinking too much. NOT because we've had it in the house, but because he can & does buy it AND he's on medication where he shouldn't be drinking. I think he finally got the message last night when he got very sick, at least I pray he's gotten the message.

I think you need to be on guard how your children see you drink. Is it when you come in the house stressed from work with the 'LORD I need a drink' kind of thing...or how many do you have per day. Do you drink alone or while cooking or do you only drink when company is over? Do you hide it when others are around so that it appears it's something wrong & shameful?

So keep talking with your husband about it, your fears, your concerns, your reasons for drinking & when you drink and see what you come up with. I don't know, but I'm sure there are books at your local library that might help you to talk to your children about drinking responsibly and how to conduct your home in regard to alcohol in the home with young children.

Best of luck to you both.

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K.S.

answers from Kansas City on

I grew up in a similar home, although it was my mom not allowing my dad to have beer in the house and she was ADAMENT about it. I always thought she was a bit overboard with her stance on drinking. We have alcohol in our house now and we always probably will. We rarely drink, but if we want a drink with dinner, I'm going to and I don't see the big deal. I also don't see the big deal in letting older kids have maybe a small glass of wine with our Christmas dinner.

My mother was such a holy roller when it came to drinking and I have a bit of a rebellious streak in me, so I had my first drink at 14. I got most of my drinking over with before I turned 21 and don't really care to drink all that much anymore. I know exactly what you mean by the dumb things we did when we were younger and I am always so thankful nothing bad happened to me because of my partying.

My mother only preached to us about how bad alcohol was and never told us, it's ok if you are ever in a predicament, we'll come help you. It was always about the fear of what will happen to us if we were hanging around kids that drank and we'd better never even think of it.

I want to be different than that, so our children know that they can come to us for help and we won't get all bent out of shape over it.

I don't know, I guess time will tell, which method worked best. I have two brothers who drink on a regular basis (one is borderline out of control. He doesn't know when to stop when he starts) and myself and another brother drink only on occasion. So it iturned out 50/50 with my moms way of handling it.

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J.J.

answers from Milwaukee on

What I don't like is alcohol at kids parties or baptism parties. I don't see the need for it. I understand some people need it or have a better time with it but come on at a kids party? My BIL had a keg at his girlfriends baby shower and a big fight broke out between them and she took off. What a wonderful memory for her. I think the whole co ed thing was ridiculous to begin with when all the woman couldn't even fit. I don't drink at home. Maybe a drink with dinner when we go out to eat but people bring it over when they come for a party and I have to rinse all the bottles/cans out and throw them in the recycling. I hate it. I have a great time without it. i say anything and they pick at me. I don't even like my kids to drink energy drinks. They're a big no no for the kids in sports at our school.I have been seeing a lot of the Monster sweatshirts this week and I just nod my head. They do look neat but to promote it...na.

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L.M.

answers from Chicago on

I completely agree with DVMMOM, and wanted to add this. You should talk to your children early (before junior high, I'd say) about alcoholism and how it runs in your family and how it can be an inherited disease. They need to understand what they are dealing with in their family and it needs to be an open dialogue.

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X.X.

answers from Denver on

Both my husband and i drink socially, me more than him. But the only time we have alcohol in the house is when we have left overs from a party or the occasional bottle of wine for dinner. We don't drink every day. I don't want to model that to my kids that drinking everyday 'is a normal part of life.' Both dh and i grew up around parents that had a few drinks everyday, just because, and i know it was a reality check to us both when we left home that not everyone does that. Or has to do that. As a side note, dd is now 12 and hears a lot at school about the danger of drugs and alchohol. She does ask about it and i can see concern when we do have a drink at a social gathering, or wine with the occasional dinner. We use those as opportunities to discuss what responsible drinking is, and why you don't want to fall into the trap of doing it everyday.

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A.S.

answers from Dallas on

We have alcohol in the house in a wet bar area. On that same note all the bottles are in a locked glass cabinet and the only key to the cabinet is in a lock box in a locked closet and the only keys are our car key ring. The wet bar area itself is blocked off by baby gates and such. My husband and I don't drink much but when we do it is always after the kids are in bed and we make a point to never get drunk in front of them. My parents had alcohol in the house but because they taught my sister and I early about the dangers of alcohol we never had an issue.

E.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

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M.S.

answers from San Francisco on

For our family, we don't have any alcohol in the house by choice. Both my husband and I don't drink. We have family that have major issues with alcohol dependance and over use. So we decided a long time ago-to just not have it in the house at all. If someone brings some to dinner or whatever, no problem-but we don't buy it or drink it. I think for others it should obviously be put up in an area where small children don't have access to it and drink responsibley.

M

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S.H.

answers from Honolulu on

We have alcohol in the home.
Its fine.
The kids know, it is for adults, and not good for kids.

In some homes, it also cultural.

J.F.

answers from Dallas on

We have alcohol in our home. And all is fine...we don't drink every day and the kids know it is for adults, and not good for kids. They actually say that its nasty and dont ever want to drink lol...ok fine by me!! Just make sure they understand about it you know. HTH!!

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