Is there anything wrong with a few drinks at a child's birthday party?
Is there anything wrong with a few drinks at a child's birthday party?

Why are you boozing at a little kid's birthday party?

A CHILD'S birthday party can feel hellish. And it's even tougher if none of them are your own.

You turn up to show support for family or friends and their tiny screeching hatchlings, and in return you enjoy some mixed lollies, a warmed cheerio and maybe some stale cake.

If you're lucky, you're catching up with mates and family and bantering over a snag or a cheap steak.

But are you having a beer, a wine or a scotch?

A few sneaky drinks at a kid's birthday party is not rare in Australia, but it makes me uncomfortable.

I say this as a guy who isn't a big drinker, but not anti-booze.

I rarely drink aside from a few beers at a work function or a few bourbons at a major celebration.
 

Do you have a few Milton mangoes when you're at a child's birthday party?
Do you have a few Milton mangoes when you're at a child's birthday party?

 

On the weekend I was at a resort with a fairly impressive pool and barbecue area that became a perfect shady spot for a kid's birthday party. Brightly-coloured balloons, glittery wrapping paper - no classic ingredient was left out.

And that included the esky of booze.

The men stood around - and we're talking about maybe 10am on a Saturday - with their Milton mangos, bantering about, in a cheery mood.

There was no misbehaviour, no drunkenness and although I wasn't paying too much attention, nothing untoward.

Everyone appeared relaxed and cheerful.

But it still made my stomach turn and my brows lift slightly.

ON THE OTHER HAND: Why aren't you boozing at a little kid's birthday party?

Alcohol is one of those great legal vices. Drinking, smoking, gambling. They are normal but they are dangerous.

A beer here and there, or an occasional wine is fine.

The industry ensures that everywhere we turn, we are encouraged to have a drink.

Supermarkets spruik their 2-4-1 deals on bottles of rum, billboards tell me that certain beers are sugar free and a vineyard tour and tasting is the perfect romantic escape.

We can't escape it, but should kids see their mum and dad having a beer at their birthday party? 

If every joyous memory kids have with their parents involves mum and dad holding a stubby or a champers, aren't we risking them having a dangerous and difficult relationship with booze later on?

Drinking becomes more than normal, it becomes more than just expected. It becomes the bare minimum.

And then when the 17-year-old heads down to schoolies to celebrate, is it any surprise they think guzzling a barrel of booze is the norm?

Are you having a bunch of friends over for an evening barbecue? No big deal to have a few beers - it's an adult situation, even if your children are hanging around.

It's probably good for kids to learn what responsible drinking looks like.

But at their birthday parties?

It's about them and not you.

So why did you expect a beer?

 

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