Meet mum giving her children alcohol at the age of 13! : Evewoman - The Standard
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Mum explains why she gives her children alcohol at the age of 13

ALSO READ: Five ways to include your children into your social life

What happened when you had a drink – a proper drink – for the first time?

Were you in the park with a four-pack of Fosters and a 2l bottle of Strongbow? Did you chunder in the bushes and fall over?

Britain's relationship with booze is well-known. Go to any town centre on a Friday night and you'll see how we do it. It is not by half measures.

 

It may be that this is because we're denied liquor, as least legally in bars, until the age of 18. Some believe that over-strictness leads to youngsters becoming too eager to try alcohol.

 

As soon as they're given the opportunity, they go wild.

ALSO READ: Eight ways to deal with rebellious teens

On the continent, a lot of young teenagers have a glass of wine with dinner, or a beer in the evening. That's what Shona Sibary is doing with her children.

 

Shona, a 47-year-old journalist well-known for her (unfounded) hatred of Devon and insistence that 'all mums prefer sons', appeared on Good Morning Britain to defend her decision to give her kids booze from the age of 13. It's proving divisive. Some think she's responsible, others do not.

 

Shona argues that she's teaching her kids to drink in moderation.

 

Mum to Flo, 18, Annie, 16, Monty, 14, and seven-year-old Dolly, Shona says her children will never get drunk to the point that they're "vomiting and staggering", because they'll already know their limits.

ALSO READ: Reasons you should have alone time with your children

 

"You wouldn't get into a car without learning how to drive and what I'm doing for my children is, by giving them small amounts on special occasions, they're learning how their bodies react to alcohol with food," she said.

 

"Therefore they're in a far better position when they go out with their friends to know what they're capable of drinking."?

 

A doctor appeared on the show to challenge Shona's liberal approach. Co-guest Dr Richard Piper warned that letting kids enjoy a tipple too young could have the opposite effect.

Dr Piper, from the charity Alcohol Concern, said Shona could be putting teenagers at risk.

 

"An alcohol-free childhood is the best childhood," Dr Piper said, citing the UK's Chief Medical Officer. "Some children may be able to cope with a different situation but for the majority of children we've looked at that is pretty good advice.

 

"If you're giving children alcohol to teach them you may be leading them to harm. The earlier people start to drink the more likely they are to have drinking problems later in life. That's evidenced."

 

Shona held firm. She said her methods have been influenced by her own mum, who died of alcoholism in 2015. She said there's a difference to be learned between enjoying a drink and becoming reliant (of course, it's not always that simple).

 

Shona added: "My situation's slightly different because my mother died of alcoholism two years ago, so my children have seen the abuse of alcohol up close and personal, but that hasn't changed my approach.

 

"Most of us drink to make ourselves feel better in the evening, but people with an alcohol problem drink to stop themselves feeling bad. There is a massive difference and my children know that difference."

The mum said that her children understand that a glass of wine is good with food, and drinking is fun in social situations. But abusing alcohol is always unwise.

Are there legal factors?

Shona isn't doing anything illegal. In the UK, parents can allow their kids to drink at home over the age of five, and with a meal at a pub once they're 16.

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