Dallas Willard writes in The Divine Conspiracy, that our actions convey what we believe. Getting people to change actions without changing their beliefs is pretty darn futile. One of my wants is that young and middle-age parents let go of the infatuation with alcohol. Why? Because it can create an infatuation with alcohol in their children. Let me try to change beliefs about this.
I cannot count how many open 12-Step meetings I have attended where a recovering alcoholic begins his personal story with the tasting of his parents’ beer or mixed drinks at the age of six, eight, or ten and he or she fell in love with alcohol. Sometimes the parent allows that taste and sometimes it’s snuck. Often there is a home culture of giddy excitement about liquor and sometimes it’s just a given that alcohol is the center of the meal, event, evening. It’s hard to remember that kids can’t distinguish between the “We’re just goofing around” or “We really do revolve our world around alcohol.” As you know, they imitate us without understanding the intent or content.
Knowing these things, when I hear talk of Mommy Juice and see boutique sections dedicated to women preoccupied with drinking wine, it makes me sad. Jokes about children saying cute things about alcohol in relation to themselves make me cringe. It’s not a judgement thing — it’s a please-don’t-do-that-because-I-really,-really,-really-want-you-to-raise-a-drug-free-child thing.
In her book, Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget, Sarah Hepola describes her little girl modus operandi of secretly drinking the beer out of the bottles in the home fridge. That progressed to an artful practice – for years. It didn’t go well from then on as you can imagine from the book title.
“First and foremost, parents need to lead by example. Through your behaviors and actions you are constantly communicating to your children. Parental actions like their own drinking, smoking and drug-using habits are the main lessons parents deliver, enhanced by the occasional conversation.” Ross B. Brower, M.D., assistant professor of clinical health and an attending physician at the Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York said at “How to Raise a Drug-Free Kid: The Straight Dope,” conference.
I want to change your beliefs because if you can avoid being the parent of a child abusing alcohol and other drugs, I want you to avoid it. There are things you can do, and not do – no guarantees, but a lot that statistically throws fuel on the fire — or on the spark. And we don’t know who has the spark. We do know the earlier a child drinks their chances of being an alcoholic increase than if they wait until 21. There’s a great reason for that law.
“Watching me, watching you. Is your drinking influencing your kids?” is helpful info. I would add, is our attitude toward drinking influencing our kids? It is. It does, that’s just a fact. I hope it becomes a belief. Not that you care about my alcohol opinions, but I’m not against it. I just see where it can go and I’m not sure it’s worth it.