Giving young children low-alcohol beer is not normal

The American actress Kristen Bell (40) became discredited this week when she told her two daughters of 7 and 5 to drink the low-alcohol beer O‘Doul’s (0.4%!). Bell sees no harm in it. But doesn‘t this normalise the drinking of alcohol? WOMAN colleague Vala will at least find something of it.

Where smoking and drug use are seen as addictions that need to be eradicated and where we have to keep children away from, alcohol is still a generally accepted stimulant. Not that we think it is okay for our adolescents to have a (coma) drink when they are 14, but having a drink once in a while, or getting drunk at a party, well, that is part of it.


Drinking is part of it. In life. If you don’t drink, you quickly become ‘boring’, or ‘faint’. But alcohol, too, is actually just a drug. Certainly in recent years, more and more is known about the dangers of alcohol for health and especially about its negative influence on the (immature) brain. Experts advocate a total ban on alcohol for adolescents. So not that one beer on Saturday evenings either, because they ‘do it somewhere else anyway. Just not. Point. Drinking is bad for you. And learning young is done old.

I never understood why some parents let their adolescents drink anyway. Why should a 15-year-old have to sit on the couch with a beer in the evening? We all know that all stimulants, be they tobacco, drugs or alcohol, are bad for you. Your job as a parent is simple: you don‘t give that to your child. You don’t have to teach them to ‘deal with it’, what you have to teach them is that they shouldn‘t use it because it’s bad for you.

Small step

By giving your child such a stimulant yourself, you teach them exactly the opposite: that it is therefore normal to use it. A 7-year-old child who drinks a bottle of beer, even if there is no alcohol in it, will logically find drinking beer normal. The step to beer with alcohol is then a lot easier. That is not overprotective parent nonsense, that is just psychology.

Some things in life are part of being an adult. Like drinking alcohol, smoking, or taking a pill for once. Even then all those things are bad for you and you shouldn‘t do them. But adults are usually able to make their own decisions and choices. Adults must and can take their own responsibility, but they can only do so if they have learned it from their parents. By letting your children drink beer, you don’t teach them that.

Poor parenthood

Children should drink lemonade, perhaps soft drinks now and then, and especially water. They should be allowed to see that their parents drink alcohol now and then, but they should also learn that this is something for adults and that they too should only do so in moderation and in a responsible manner. That will teach them how to deal with that sort of thing.

After all, no matter how old-fashioned they may be, they still follow a good example. And pushing a bottle of non-alcoholic beer into your toddler‘s hands is no longer even a bad example, but little else than bad parenting. I’m not under the illusion that my children will stay off the drink until they are 21 (or, if it‘s up to the Jellinek: 24), but at least they won’t get it from me. Not even alcohol-free.

Glass of orange

My son (10) would probably like a Radler 0.0, because that‘s like lemonade after all, but I don’t need to see my child with a beer. He can keep that magic for his student days, so I don‘t have to see it. On Saturday evening he can have a glass of orange and he has to make do with it. And when I have to pick him up from a school party in a few years’ time, he will be waving.

Because drinking is not part of it, drinking is bad. Just to use a recent winged phrase: ‘Let’s not make normal what isn‘t normal’. And children drinking a beer is just not normal.