Do I Drink Too Much?

It’s not something that I ever really thought about while my kids were younger. I could have a beer and not think twice about it, because they didn’t know what I was drinking. For all they knew it was water. But it wasn’t, and now they know what it is.

They now know that daddy drinks beer.

Maybe a picture of me and the boys was too much

It used to be some kind of joke that I drank beer. There was something about the kids saying the word beer that was kind of funny. Only it’s not really. The fact that they now associate me having a good time with word beer is not something I am very proud of. What was once a joke, now seems like anything but.

I don’t consider myself an alcoholic in any stretch of the imagination. I don’t need to drink it 24/7 and it’s not something that controls me, but I do like to drink. I have a drink while I’m cooking, I have a drink while I’m eating, and I have a drink after dinner. Sometimes it’s the same drink, but sometimes it’s three different ones.

I know a lot of parents that say having a drink makes them a better parent. I don’t know if that is a joke or if it is something they truly mean. Sometimes we do need to take the edge off, but the kids are obviously paying attention to everything that we do. I don’t know that letting the kids know that mommy or daddy needs to have a drink every now and then is the right message to send.

I’m not saying that I need to completely stop drinking, but I do need to do a better job of not letting the kids know that I am. Every now and then it’s funny when they try to order a beer at a restaurant, but I know that it’s kind of sad too. The fact that they relate any sort of drinking to me is not a good thing.

Do I drink too much?

The fact that I am even asking the question leads me to believe that I probably am.



The Beginning
About Daddysincharge

After 15 years as a News Photographer in the fast paced world of television news, I am now knee deep in Legos and laundry as the stay at home dad to to little boys. It was my choice to stay at home, so don't look at me like I am some kid of freak show. We're all parents just trying to raise our kids the right way. Some might be better at it than others, but if our kids love us for who we are, who cares.

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  1. Left Coast Dad says:

    How often? Every evening? Most of the day on weekends? Chances are you do need to cut back. We did. We cut back our consumption to a couple of nights a week, and pretty much after the kids went to bed. During the summer we’ll have a beer with BBQ, but that’s it for the most part. Of course there are exceptions. Point is, if this has come up, then the answer is “yes”

    • It’s not every night, and it’s not all day on the weekends. Its just enough to question how the kids portray me. Since I did ask the question, chances are I probably do.

  2. James Hudyma says:

    This is such a great question. On one hand, I should be able to enjoy a beer without guilt. On the other, I don’t want my kids thinking daddy “needs” a beer (even though I sometimes do).

    Then there is the question of whether or not having a drink in front of your kids is so bad. Kids shouldn’t drink coffee yet we gulp down barrels of the stuff every day. I guess the key is probably moderation and circumstance.

    • As much as they joke about me needing a beer, they joke about my wife needing coffee. You’re right, we would never question that beverage. It’s like asking if we eat too much bacon. That would never come up.

  3. Brandon P. Duncan says:

    Well, I gotta say I’m closer to being on James’ side with this one.

    I’m not a fan of hiding things from kids. They have to learn that there is a separation in what they can do or think is ok as a kid and what is acceptable as an adult. There’s an age limit for a reason (a topic for a whole other post).

    Do I think it’s ok to get sloppy drunk with your kids around? No. Do I think you need to be justified to drink whenever you feel like it? Absolutely not. If you are responsible about it—having a “DD” or NOT driving at all if you’ve even had one outside a meal—then you are setting a much better example than if you don’t do it in front of them at all.

    If YOU hide, THEY will hide. Monkey see, monkey do. If you do it responsibly and don’t glamorize it, chances are, neither will they. Don’t take their intelligence for granted. EVERYTHING is a teaching point or has learning value.

    • I won’t hide it, i just need to be more aware of it. I’m not one to get sloppy drunk with the kids around, but I am not one to shy away from drinking altogether.

    • “If YOU hide, THEY will hide. Monkey see, monkey do. If you do it responsibly and don’t glamorize it, chances are, neither will they. Don’t take their intelligence for granted. EVERYTHING is a teaching point or has learning value”

      GOOD POINT! I had a friend over for a few drinks(only drink occassionaly) and couldn’t find a bay-sitter. Than I began thinking… do I really need a baysitter for a few drinks?? Why did I feel guilty having a casual beverage in front of my child. It has bugged me ever since, so thanks for the comment brandon 🙂

  4. I’m with Brandon. The last paragraph in particular is powerful.

    My children, six and four, know that I enjoy the occasional beer. I do have stretches where I will have one every night, sometimes two. It’s never been hidden or masked.

    Of course, at some point, we can expect a child to ask for a drink. Perfect teachable moment. I tell my son when he’s 21, if he chooses, I’ll be happy to have a drink with him. I’m looking forward to that day. You have to set expectations and rules early… I’ve been consistent with my message of what’s right and wrong since my son was four.

    My children also see me being responsible about my drinking. Again, refer back to “monkey see, monkey do.” Even after just one beer, I will always hand the keys to my wife if we have to drive. They may not understand why now, but I suspect that one day they’ll be prone to the same habit.

    There’s a lot to be taken into consideration with your question. I hope you find the answers your looking for.

    • I’ve told the kids that they are not old enough and they get that. There will be a day too, that I sit down and have a beer with them. My dad drank when I was a kid. After a long day of work he would head to the bar to unwind and he would come home, eat dinner, and fall asleep in the basement. That’s not something I have ever done, but it’s something that I need to be aware of.

  5. There’s something to the direction this conversation took in the comments re: monkey see, monkey do. As Brandon P said if you “do it responsibly and don’t glamorize it, chances are, neither will they.”

    I’ve never thought about it that way. Interesting point.

    Then when JW talks about his dad coming home and falling asleep in the basement I also think about how different our situations are today as involved dads. The different things we have to consider, like this topic.

    I’m in exactly the same boat as you, JW. We are big fans of wine with dinner and I can tell the 5yo is starting to notice and comment about it more often. Just like my wife and I are trying to use our phones less around the kids, we are doing the same with wine/beer. I also don’t subscribe to the “having a drink makes me a better parent” theory, I simply subscribe to the – you know what, I’m having a beer right now because I want to – theory.

    Great topic, important topic. It’s definitely something I want to do less of around the kids and something we should all reevaluate from time to time.

    • I guess it really can go with anything. Kids know exactly what is going on around them as much as we think they are oblivious. They are like sponges when it comes to our behaviors and if we do things responsibly they are sure to pick up on it.

  6. If you let your kids see you drinking “responsibly” and continue to be conscious and have these concerns, they will turn out just fine!

    I do have a similar worry with the amount of coffee my kids see me drink. My son knows the sound of the milk steamer and will run into the kitchen yelling COFFEE!!!

  7. Careyanne B says:

    I’m not sure i agree with the comparison of coffee to beer or wine. While neither are terribly healthy, one doesn’t impair your driving. I am not a big drinker. I’ll have something on holidays, or if the husband and I go out, but I think if kids see it enough to associate you with beer, then maybe it’s too much. We as parents have pretty good instincts and as the earlier poster said, if you’re asking the question then you probably have already perceived the answer.

    I also don’t know that I follow the line of thinking that it’s a teachable moment when your kids see you too drunk to drive and hand the keys over to someone else. What that means is that you’re just “too drunk”. I don’t think my kids need to see me make that choice in order to one day make it for themselves. My parents rarely drank in front of us growing up and we never had issues with our drinking getting out of hand.

    Again, just another POV.

    • I want to clarify, at no time do I get or have I been drunk in front of my children. My comment of giving the keys to my wife after one (1) beer is based upon my conviction of responsibility and respect for those in the vehicle.
      And, yes, your children do need to see you making responsible decisions so that they may make them one day themselves. Clearly, a responsible decision is to not get drunk. Another is showing responsibility to not drive a vehicle even after consuming one beer.
      Reading thru the comments, no one has ever suggested that getting drunk is a teachable moment for children.

  8. A concerned Friend says:

    Yes. As another person said, if you are asking yourself this question, the answer is definitely yes. Great news is once you ask yourself this, YOU have the ability to change your behavior. Set yourself a goal. Could you have a beer or two only two nights a week, instead of 5? Could you limit a beer to only when it’s shared with friends/others? Are you drinking because you need it, or now out of pure habit?
    I agree with Monkey See Monkey Do. But it extends far beyond beer. It’s watching TV. It’s sitting at the dinner table with your phone in your hand. It’s in how you treat other people–are you warm and kind or cold and distant?
    Thanks for asking yourself just a difficult question and sharing. We can share our thoughts, but remember, only YOU can change your behavior.

    • Daddysincharge says:

      You are so right “friend” it’s everything. We are our kids greatest learning device.

  9. This is a really interesting topic. I tend to agree with what seems to be the consensus on here. If you moderate your drinking, which it seems like you do, then I don’t see a problem with having a few drinks once in a while. I also think hiding it and not drinking in front of the kids is unnecessary. In fact, having a drink or two in front of your children at a BBQ could be beneficial. Showing them that you can drink moderately and responsibly is, in my opinion, being a good role model. Very delicate subject though and interesting post. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Daddysincharge says:

    Showing them I can do anything within moderation and responsibly is key.

    • That is very true, moderation and responsibility are two values that you want your children to learn from you no matter what the situation is.

  11. AskAGreatDad says:

    At this point In time, if I do have a drink, I make sure its in a glass. As long as I keep it in moderation, at their young age, they would not think its anything but a beverage. As long as the consumption doesn’t impare your abilty to be a father, I say you are fine. now when they are older it may be a little trickey. I try to just buy cans as well, so if I am seen pouring one, it doesn’t look like its something special, as bottle may glorify.

  12. I can’t say that you drink too much, but a few concerns struck me as I read. Of course, the first is your struggle with the whole idea of drinking infron of your kids. If you felt there was nothing wrong with drinking infront of your kids, this post would have never happened. However, you don’t have the same wonderment about whether or not it’s good to teach your children to look both ways before crossing the street. Here you have assurance that teaching your kid to look both ways before crossing the street will lead to a lifetime of good behavior, safety, and over health. The same can’t be said for drinking. Even though moderation may be an acceptable thing for some families, all it takes is ONE drink for an alcoholic to learn they cant drink in moderation. Can you say for certain that neither of your children will ever become an alcoholic (God forbid). Based on that, as hard as it would be for you to do, I not only woldn’t drink in front of them…I’d teach them NEVER to drink. It’s not necesarry to get by in this world and it prevents one from discovering that they are an alcoholic.

    Second, even if you are not…and never will become a fallen down dead-beat drunk of a dad, once your kids are old enough to know classmates whose parents do struggle with alcohol, they may see you drinking a beer (innocently) and fear that that could become their daddy someday. Why take the chance of instilling unnecesarry fear into their little hearts. Their home should be always a place of refuge and safety no matter what.

    Those are my two thoughts on the subject…I wish you well in your soul-searching…my advice in light of my two concerns raised…Gatorade:-)

This is what I think...