Recently, we went to dinner with a group of friends. For the first time ever, our almost 4-year old realized that beer exists. We don't have it in the house, and he had never noticed it anywhere else before.
He kept asking us what our friend's drink was. He is in the "why" phase, so there were a lot of questions. We explained to him that it is a drink for grown ups, just like daddy's soda. Our son has never pushed trying soda, so it was easy to group them together in this instance. Then I got to thinking about his future.
Eventually, both of our children will begin going to friend's homes. Those friend's parents may have alcohol in the home. Our children may be tempted to try it. If they doesn't understand what they are drinking, there could be serious consequences. As adults, when and how much they drink will be a decision that they will have to make. As with all adult decisions, we want to instill in our children the ability to choose their own path with as much information and clarity as possible.
So, although we don't have alcohol in our daily lives, it will still exist in our kids' worlds. When do we begin to discuss it? How do we bring it up naturally? How much do we reveal about our past with alcohol? How to we navigate allowing our children to grow up and make their own decisions while still trying to protect them from repeating our mistakes? There are so many difficult questions. With all things in life, we will strive to give our children the foundation they need to be able to make informed decisions while having the autonomy to make their own mistakes.
In this moment, I will give us the time and grace to find the right path. I do know that these conversations will be important in shaping their understanding of their own relationship with alcohol.