Purim is just over two weeks away and while the kids are all busy planning costumes and mishloach manot themes, the issue of alcohol consumption must be addressed with the older ones. My two oldest boys are 14 and 13 and are already talking about the Purim parties they are going to go to at the houses of their Rebbeim (rabbis). Lenny (the 14 year old) says that there will be alcohol of all types out on the table and no one is policing what the bochurim (young men) drink. Up until recently Lenny was not interested in alcohol, the wine he drank on Shabbat made his head hurt – and I was quite happy not to have to think about him drinking. Recently he has started asking for a sip of my beer “just to taste”. However, most of his friends will be drinking on Purim, and I am sure he won’t want to be left out.
Our house is in no way an alcohol free zone. The kids know I drink beer occasionally, and on Shabbat I will have a scotch with the meal. There is no over-indulging. One beer or one scotch and I am done. If we drink wine, I may let them have a little, especially of the Muscato as they call that the ginger ale wine and I don’t see the harm in a few small sips. But they see at home that there is no line crossed. They see moderation, and self control.
If I ban the teens from having any alcohol on Purim it will have the opposite effect. I have had friends who have had to pick up their kids from a neighbour’s yard, where they collapsed paralytically drunk. Even worse, alcohol poisoning is a very real threat, especially if their consumption isn’t monitored.
Parents of older kids – how do you deal with this? Is allowing the boys to have even one drink going off the deep end? Can you trust a teen to stop at one? Do I close my eyes and let boys be boys one day of the year? (Not going to happen, not with me as a mom). When the kids are at our table for seudah, or at their Dad’s, we can limit their intake. Let them go to the Purim parties – what can we do? I don’t want to be a party pooper and not let them go. It is Purim after all!!
I do plan on talking to my kids, thankfully we have an awesome relationship that we can talk about everything, but I am wondering what message they will hear. All advice welcome.