Life as a parent can be incredibly rewarding, but often just as stressful. Balancing work, your kid, and other activities can easily become overwhelming. As such, it’s understandable if you want to have a drink or two to unwind, but it’s important to know how to manage your drinking.
If you like to have a drink or two but worry about how to manage and balance your alcohol consumption and your parenting duties, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’ll talk about how to manage your alcohol consumption while being a parent, so that you can continue to take care of the ones you love while still enjoying a drink or two.
The Balance Between Parenting and Alcohol
Many people believe that alcohol and parenting don’t really mix, but like most things in life it’s about moderation and awareness. Often, we turn to alcohol as a way to cope with the stress and anxiety associated with being a parent. Our parenting break is a chance to kick back and relax with some alcohol. In many cases, alcohol is our harmless antidote to parenthood’s stress.
However, as our children grow, many biological, psychological, and social changes occur. Children’s development depends heavily on their parents.
It is possible for parents to become unpredictable and inconsistent when they drink excessively, which can negatively impact their child’s development. We think differently when we are under the influence of alcohol. For instance, we might neglect our children’s needs, including their food, healthcare, and studies. It’s also possible that we may verbally abuse our children or punish them harshly while other times we may be more lenient.
Drinking can also affect how we monitor our children and establish rules for appropriate and inappropriate behavior. We are always watched by our children. Our children’s psychology, behavior, and coping strategies are influenced when we reach for the glass to cope.
The level of nurturing and emotional support we provide may also affect the emotional development of our children. Our drinking can cause us to be more emotionally distant, increasing the chances that our kids will develop troublesome behaviors. In contrast, adolescents with higher parental emotional support tend to be more mentally healthy and happy.
Drinking Responsible as a Parent
It’s important to have parents at home who drink responsibly to teach you good habits.
We know what it means to overstep the mark as adults. It is therefore important as parents to exercise self-control when it comes to alcohol. Additionally, it’s important that we always have sound minds in case of an emergency, especially when kids are young.
Children become more aware of boundaries of acceptable behavior as they grow and move through the tween phase. There is a strong interest among kids in what is happening around them and seeing how their role models use alcohol plays an important role in this.
Follow these tips to be a more responsible drinking parent:
Set limits for yourself
As long as you understand how alcohol affects the body, drinking can be part of a healthy lifestyle. However, getting drunk is easier than you think. Drinks that are considered standard include a can or bottle of mid-strength beer, 100ml of wine, and 30ml of spirits, but a regular drink in a bar or restaurant may contain more than one “standard” drink.
A great way to manage your drinking is by setting limits for yourself. You can try using a mindful drinking app to help you keep track of your drinking. Also, rather than topping up your glass, finish your drink before starting another.
Don’t drink in front of your kids
Drinking in front of children should be avoided if at all possible, but if you do drink, keep exposure to it to a minimum (and definitely don’t get drunk in front of them). As well as you, encourage your friends and family to be good role models, as their actions can also influence your kids.
Lead by example
Setting a good example and having open and frank conversations with them are crucial. You should demonstrate self-restraint and responsible drinking to your child if you don’t want him or her to think drinking to excess is acceptable.
Be honest with your children
Explain the importance of drinking moderately and why alcohol should only be consumed by adults. You may want to ask them what their feelings are about their parents drinking alcohol. How do they feel about alcohol? Reflecting on your own drinking habits, communicating with your kids, and setting future boundaries will help you to become more aware of your own drinking behavior.
You are likely to be challenged by your teen about your own drinking habits. For example, teens may want to drink alcohol at home, ask to take alcohol to parties, or drink with their friends based on your own habits.
Don’t make alcohol the star of the party
You shouldn’t drink alcohol every day, and you should encourage non-alcoholic gatherings with friends and family. Don’t let alcohol dominate a get-together, and show your kids that you can have fun without it.
Slow down with other alternatives
You can slow down your drinking significantly by alternating each glass of alcohol with a non-alcoholic option. Try out the following tips to drink a bit less:
- Try out a mocktail or alcohol-free beverage
- Drink a glass of water in between drinks, or to quench your thirst
- Drink low alcohol beers instead of the regular stuff.
- Sip your drinks rather than gulping them down.
Make sure to have a snack if drinking
Your stomach and small intestine are responsible for delivering alcohol to your bloodstream. As such, drinking alcohol with an empty stomach will cause the alcohol to enter your bloodstream more quickly.
Therefore, eating before and during your first drink is a good idea.
Alcohol and parenting are complicated partners, but you can still enjoy drinking so long as you understand how it impacts your children and you can do it in moderation. Preferably, you should avoid drinking in front of your kids in the first place, but if you do so it’s important you have an honest conversation with them about alcohol and that you show restraint. If you are looking for more resources on how to manage your drinking, consider checking out Sunnyside.