Mum Defends Letting Her Kids Drink Booze From The Age Of 13

For many of us, especially Brits, our first experience of getting smashed came from raiding our parents' drink cabinet while they were out.

Now one mum has defended her decision to actively give her kids booze from the age of 13, arguing that letting them drink small amounts is as responsible as helping them learn to drive. Wait, is that right...?

Credit: ITV

Forty-seven-year-old journalist and mother-of-four Shona Sibary appeared on Good Morning Britain last Friday, saying that she's teaching her kids to drink in moderation.

However, a doctor who appeared on the programme alongside Shona warned that her liberal approach to letting her kids having a tipple could actually have the opposite effect.

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

"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."

Shona's approach to her kids drinking has been influenced by her own mum, who sadly died of alcoholism in 2015.

Shona believes that educating her children about the difference between enjoying a drink and becoming fixed on it will stop them following the same path. You can't fault her reasoning, whatever you think of her method.

"'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," she said.

"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."

Shona went on to explain that her kids understand that you can have booze with food in a social environment and enjoy it without abusing it.

good morning britain
good morning britain

Credit: ITV

What Shona's doing isn't illegal - in the UK parents can let their kids drink alcohol at home if they are over the age of five, and with a meal at a pub once they are 16. However, kids cannot buy alcohol themselves until they turn 18.

But while Shona believes she is helping her kids, her co-guest Dr Richard Piper of the charity Alcohol Concern said she could actually be putting them at risk of developing drink problems later.

"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."

Hey, at least they're not downing blue WKDs in the park. Yet.

Featured Image Credit: ITV

Chris Ogden

Chris Ogden is a journalist at LADbible. He graduated from the University of East Anglia with degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing before completing his NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism. Chris has previously written for the independent culture magazine The Skinny, among other publications.

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