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Parents Encouraging Alcohol Swigging Tot

Mommy Dearest: Parents Encouraged Beer Swigging Child

Mommy Dearest,

On the Fourth of July we were sitting at the park waiting for the fireworks to begin when the families on a nearby blanket set up their picnic. One child who was no more than four-years-old started whining and said he wanted a beer instead of his juice box. His whimpers quickly became a full blown temper tantrum and though the mom refused to hand over the bottle, the dad gave in and opened the beverage! The boy took a few swigs and began screaming when his parents tried to take it away. To make matters worse, the father and his friends began snapping photos of the kid drinking, which undoubtedly egged him on. In the end, I think he drank about four or five ounces of the alcohol. I was in disbelief and wanted to call the police, but wasn't sure what to do. Am I overreacting?

– Teetotaling Mommy

To see the response from Mommy Dearest,


Teetotaling Mommy,

The drinking age in the United States is 21 so what you witnessed was against the law. While a child mistaking a beer for another beverage and taking an accidental sip is one thing, a father handing over a cold one for his preschooler to chug is quite another. Four or five ounces of alcohol is an awful lot for such a small child to drink. And, snapping photos and cheering the tot on is rather odd. I'm curious if the parents were also drinking? In any event, I think it's fair to step in and say something or contact authorities when you believe a child's well-being is in danger and this may have been such a case.

—Mommy Dearest

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Join The Conversation
nikkisoda nikkisoda 8 years
snarkypants I am a bit taken back by your comment about how drinking culture is different in Wisconsin. And that it isn't a big deal to hand your kid a beer. I really do not think that the midwest drinking culture is for giving kids sips of beer. I would never give my daughter a sip of beer. I do not care if she screamed for it! Letting your child drink sips of beer is wrong no matter what part of the country you are in. I would have called the police for sure!
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
Maybe its just me but I think its odd to have/want to have pictures of your child drinking (or pretending to drink). I don't get it, but I guess its just me.
FrankiLee FrankiLee 8 years
oops I didn't mean to make that face! I meant age seven or eight.
FrankiLee FrankiLee 8 years
I think a sip or two of alcohol when you're little isn't horrible. My parents let us try when we were young (I don't think when we were THAT young -- maybe 7 or 8). But the way the parents acted as you described? I think that is totally wrong. I also agree with some of the above posters -- the fact that he whined for a beer and screamed so much when they took it away is a little odd. Could he possibly have had more of it before that instance? Either way it is wrong to me.
bluepuppybites bluepuppybites 8 years
That many oz is a lot, but I believe my niece was that age when she drank a whole 12oz can while her mom was sleeping! The poison control said she would probably act weird then crash and sleep. I remember taking drinks when I was little, and nope didn't like it. I guess the thing I'm worried about is if they continue to give the child booze at home.
cheersdarlin916 cheersdarlin916 8 years
When my son was little he wanted to try a drink and I let him and he hated it and never asked again but I would never let him just sit and drink that much. I know I asked for a sip when I was little and my parents did the same thing and I did not like it and that was the end of it. I have pictures of my son drinking from a beer bottle also. I think lots of parents do but what I did was took an empty bottle and poured water in it and then took the picture. I knew it was safe and totally adorable. I would like to think I would have stepped in and done something but I am not sure. What you witnessed is not appropiate behavior on the parents side.
Chrstne Chrstne 8 years
I know people who would have sips of alcohol at a young age. My Russian friends used to have drinks at home all the time. Not as a four year old having big bottles, but definitely under the legal drinking age -- maybe by about 10 years. I do think that giving a child alcohol is a bad move to make, especially when it comes to getting them to be quiet. Who knows what kind of effect it has on them. They may end up throwing tantrums just to get buzzed or something. I would really think twice about giving it to a young child. While I do think it was wrong, I am not sure if it would be appropriate to call the police. I don't think they were trying to put their child in harms way. It was a lapse in judgement.
snarkypants snarkypants 8 years
i grew up in wisconsin, so the drinking culture is different there. i don't see anything wrong with the initial handing the kid the beer or the taking pictures. i have many childhood friends who have pictures of them taking a sip out of a beer and whatnot. personally, i would never do this to a child, but i can understand how maybe some parents don't have a problem with it. which is strange, but i understand. what i do have a problem with is the fact that they didn't stop after a little sip, and let him drink that much! that is crazy! i also think it's strange that the kid really really wanted to drink beer. it's almost like they had allowed him to drink it on enough occasions that he knew that he liked it! that's just sad.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
I would even go so far as to say that not only would it have been fair to call the police it would have been a civic duty.
runningesq runningesq 8 years
Definitely not overreacting. 4-5 oz. of alc for a small child is A LOT. I would have called the cops, I think.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
i know some little kids like the taste of beer but parents need to reinforce that beer is an adult drink this kid will be an alcoholic by the time he's 10 i would have called the cops (or seriously wanted to)
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