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Dutchess_III's avatar

Would you ever serve your children "Near Beer?"?

Asked by Dutchess_III (28260 points ) March 24th, 2014

Near Beer is a non-alcoholic beer.

I had dinner with my sister and her husband several years ago. They tend to drink beer with their meals. They gave their kids, ages 10 to 15, Near Beer. I was a little taken aback but I’m not exactly sure why.

There was another time when we were moving Mom into an upscale retirement home and their youngest daughter scampered outside and returned with a beer in each hand. I wasn’t so much shocked that they’d sent her to get beer (not something I would have done, personally, but whatever) but she was walking through a retirement home with the beer in plain sight.

What are your thoughts on this?

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159 Answers

Symbeline's avatar

I would not. Kids are growing up, and they need good stuff, like milk. I’d give them something good for the body to drink, and I’m pretty sure ’‘near beer’’ isn’t it.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

“Near-Beer” is not zero alcohol. There can be 0.5% normal beers are 4% to 5%.
Answer your question – - No I would not serve to a minor.

Cruiser's avatar

No….never. Kids brains are still developing up until they are 19 years old and the last thing I want is my kid to develop a fondness for drinking even near beer at that age.

ragingloli's avatar

Why would I give them such foul tasting sewage?
I would give them only the finest wines.

Dutchess_III's avatar

OMG…it has alcohol in it??

Coloma's avatar

No. What’s the point?
I let my daughter have about ⅓rd of a glass of champagne on new years when she was 16, to toast with the family party crowd. A milestone of age, her first adult New Years hangout.
Glorifying drinking around young kids is a no no.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Yes, if I was in competition for the worst parent ever. That’s wrong on so many levels.

janbb's avatar

Waht age are we talking about here?

cookieman's avatar

Hell no. Only the real stuff for my 11-year-old.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What’s crazy is my youngest sister went on a jag about 15 years ago, claiming I was an alcoholic. She was a self proclaimed “recovering alcoholic.” Hell, she was claiming EVERYONE was an alcoholic. The stupid part is I hadn’t seen her in 10 years, and I wasn’t drinking at all at the time because I was preggers with my first! She had no IDEA what my drinking habits were! Well, we all just blew her off, but a few years later my other sister, the one in my post, got very, very angry with me and started playing the “You’re an alcoholic” card on me. They drank FAR more than I did, and did shit like I posted above, but I’m the one with a drinking problem. Right.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@janbb In the details I said 10 – 15. What happened to your penguin??

hominid's avatar

- I wouldn’t serve anyone – including adults – “near beer” in my house.
– While I still haven’t worked out my full approach to alcohol and my kids, I don’t necessarily find the concept of allowing my children to try a very small amount of wine or good beer with dinner when they are older teenagers that bad. The people I know who have the most healthy relationship with alcohol are people who were allowed to drink occasionally in the house as a teenager. The “this is f*cking rebel shit” attitude was stripped away. It was as rebellious as cranking James Taylor on your mom’s stereo.
– I suspect the hyperbole to find a safe home here in this thread (“worst parent[s] ever”?? Really). But I’m wondering how people feel about parents who allow their kids to eat donuts and other unhealthy shit that is seriously affecting their health and their lifelong eating habits?

Dutchess_III's avatar

But they weren’t older teens, @hominid. The youngest was about 10. Maybe younger.

hominid's avatar

@Dutchess_III – I think the “near beer” thing is absurd. I wouldn’t do it for many reasons. I just wanted to respond to the ridiculous “worst parents ever” stuff. Check your cabinets people. I suspect there’s a lot worse crap in there.

KNOWITALL's avatar

It’s kind of weird. Of course I had a taste of real beer and thought it was disgusting, still don’t like it a whole lot. Remember the candy cigarettes?

jca's avatar

No I would not.

Seek's avatar

Fake beer doesn’t enter my home. Ew.

I’m not opposed to letting the kid have a sip or two of the real stuff on a special occasion. Not like my grandmother did, spiking my own supposedly virgin eggnog behind my back. THAT wasn’t fun.

janbb's avatar

@Dutchess_III sorry I missed that detail. And Pengy is just on vacation for a few days so she asked Frodo to step in.

I’m with @hominid as usual. Not something I would do but I don’t see it as a “worst parents ever” situation. Near beer is usually drunk by people who like the taste of beer but want to avoid alcohol.

RocketGuy's avatar

My friend and I talked about having a “drunk party” where we get out kids drunk in a safe environment, so they know what to expect. Our wives think we are crazy. My girls too. I told them that a sign of a good friend is one who will hold their hair back when they hurl.

And as @ragingloli might say: give them the good stuff. I’m thinking Racer 5.

ucme's avatar

Stuff sounds vile & that name, very weak.

hominid's avatar

@RocketGuy – Every year in high school, my friend would have a New Year’s Eve party at her house with her mom there. Her mom was concerned that kids would be drinking in the woods or driving and being unsafe. So, she provided a safe environment where there were rules. Once you arrived, you were not allowed to get leave. She didn’t take keys – but everyone respected the rules, so everyone followed them. I’m still friends with her today. She will occasionally have a glass of wine, but is generally disinterested in alcohol.

Cruiser's avatar

@ucme There is a N/A beer made by Erdinger that is far better than a good percentage of the fully leaded American brews.

ucme's avatar

@Cruiser Yeah, but the name Near Beer sounds ridiculous.

jca's avatar

When I was in high school, my best friend came from a very traditional Portugese family. When she would have a party, her parents would buy a refrigerator full of beer and we’d all go there. I don’t know if there were any rules on driving – I don’t think anybody drove at that point because we were like 14 or 15. We would stay there all night, sleep over if we wanted, and play records and hang out. Now her parents would go to jail for doing something like that. What they were trying to do was to get her to stay home and not go out and drink.

bolwerk's avatar

No, I would only give my children real beer, though it should only be allowed in moderation.

Is it bad for them? No. Does the idea piss off Amerikkkan prigs? Fuck yeah!

Dutchess_III's avatar

If they showed an interest in it, yeah. But to just serve it as a matter of course, and to a little kid (I consider 10 to be little) just seems wrong.

jerv's avatar

No, but I might serve it to an enemy; that stuff is nasty.

To those who are all, “I don’t want to glorify alcohol!”, making it off-limits will make alcohol more attractive, especially if they’re the least bit rebellious… which most teens are.

The, “Kids are still growing!”, crowd would be disgusted by most other cultures, and is ignorant in considering 21–25 “adult” since that’s when humans really stop growing, but I don’t hear any cries to raise the drinking age to 27.

Lastly, the,“I don’t want my kids to learn to like it or they’ll become alcoholics!”, crowd is confessing that they are bad parents, incapable of teaching moderation.

In short, I see no valid reason not to let a kid have some of the real stuff.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@jerv I agree. I had access to pretty much all alcohol and thought it was all disgusting, so when I was a teen I had no trouble saying ‘no thanks, I don’t like the taste of alcohol’.

We did dig wine coolers though..lol, by then we were 17 or up though.

rojo's avatar

Near Beer – For those who just really like to urinate.

janbb's avatar

@rojo Almost as good as Coors Lite.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Dang it. It’s running to extremes again. No one is saying be heavy handed about it, like, “You will NOT drink.” My point is, why would you serve it to a kid who is no where near the age of wanting to try it out? Why would you serve it when they didn’t even ask for it?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess_III That is kind of weird if they weren’t begging for a taste or something.

Blondesjon's avatar

I might if they needed something to take the edge off the near crack I’ve been letting them smoke.

Symbeline's avatar

@rojo I like to urinate.

jerv's avatar

@Dutchess_III “Nowhere near the age” assumes that the entire world has a drinking age of 21. Some places have no minimum, some have minimums of 12, so basically the issue there is that the question is a bit loaded since it’s so America-centric.

Symbeline's avatar

@jerv It’s only loaded if that was her intention, which I don’t think it was. :p

But yeah, one of the things I heard about the drinking age is that your brain stops making brain cells at about your early 20’s. Don’t quote me though.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Disclaimer: I do not have children.

I would never have near-beer in the house, because it’s gross. I would certainly let older children have wine with dinner occasionally; this is fairly common practice here (although the legal age is 18). It removes the mystique surrounding alcohol, and lets them learn that self-control is appropriate and required.

jerv's avatar

@Symbeline I didn’t think it was intentional, but I think it’s possible to accidentally ask a loaded question.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Jerv, I wasn’t referring to a specific age. I was referring the the curiosity factor. I’ve never had a 10 year old ask to taste my beer.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I never minded O’Douls. I love the taste of crisp hops and nothing beats that after working on a hot day. 0.5% is like nothing and there are known health benefits from hops. I wish they would make some better low alcohol beers cause I would drink it more often. I would not think twice about serving it but honestly most kids would rather drink coke and they are not getting that from me. That shit is actually bad for them.

longgone's avatar

@Dutchess_III “I’ve never had a 10 year old ask to taste my beer.”
Really? In my experience, it’s young children who are most curious about alcohol. I know the children in my family asked for a sip of whatever the adults were drinking when they were between five and about eleven. After that, not so much.

As to the original question: I would want my kids to drink what’s good for their bodies. On special occasions, though, I would absolutely give them some kind of fancy drink. If this near-beer stuff tastes like beer, though, I imagine many kids wouldn’t like it.

JLeslie's avatar

No. I wouldn’t forbid them to try it if it happened to be in a room or at a party (I would let them taste alcohol too) but I would never serve it to them.

Why would I want my kids to acquire a taste for any sort of alcohol? No thank you.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

“Near Beer”
So is that like Heineken/Budweiser? If I had kids, I wouldn’t let them touch my craft beer. Their tastes would be still unrefined and I’d rather have them guzzle a tub of cheap vodka than let them touch my pack of Sierra Nevada Torpedos with their plebeian hands.

jerv's avatar

@longgone Same here; young kids are even more curious than adolescents. So are pets; my cats have sniffed my beers too.

jca's avatar

Like @JLeslie said, giving a kid a taste because the kid is curious and actually serving it to them are two different things.

Darth_Algar's avatar

I was 7 and asked my dad if I could try his beer. He let me and one sip was all it took to turn me off from beer until I was pretty much grown.

cazzie's avatar

Near Beer is disgusting, but having said that, I have no problem serving a little bit of watered down wine or a taste of cider if they want to try it to kids 12 and up. Treating alcohol like some sort of holy sacrament (pun intended) only for grown-ups keeps its mystification and appeal alive in the minds of young people, making it some sort of stupid taboo that makes it cool to sneak behind Mom and Dad’s back and imbibe. Alcohol is an age-old beverage and every human on the planet needs to understand what it is and what it does and create a healthy perspective about it. I grew up with more European culture in my house than most kids and I now live in Europe, but the country I currently live it is, in some ways, puritanical about alcohol, but culturally, they are the biggest binge drinkers I’ve ever seen (and I’ve been in Australia, so that’s saying something). I would say Italy and France have a better culture in regards to alcohol.

rojo's avatar

@Dutchess_III I have had children ask to taste my beer and I am pretty sure it was around that age, although I could not swear to it. Each time they did, I let them and each time I got that sour, pouty look, the head shake and a great big “Yuuuuck” and they did not want a second sip.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie Just to make sure I understand your response, you are ok serving children watered down wine in their own glass? I think that is different than a taste. Letting them taste takes away the taboo-ness also in my opinion.

gailcalled's avatar

Decades ago, when I was 17, I spent the summer with a family who owned a small but really reputable vineyard in Burgundy. The 8-year old, the 10-year old and I always had watered-down red wine with lunch and dinner, just as we three had café au lait with breakfast. I would have been permitted to drink my wine undiluted but it gave me a headache. (We had our own glasses).

It was part of the culture. I never saw anyone drink beer, but after all, it was Burgundy. It seemed that everyone I met had a vineyard. They would have used near beer to feed the pigs.

bolwerk's avatar

In general, alcohol is less of a threat to children than sugary sodas and candies.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@JLeslie said, “No. I wouldn’t forbid them to try it if it happened to be in a room or at a party (I would let them taste alcohol too) but I would never serve it to them.

My thoughts exactly. Thank you. This wasn’t a question of “tasting.” They SERVED it to them as their drink for the meal. They could have just as easily given them tea or water or what ever to drink, but they gave them Near Beer. I don’t understand it.

Not sure where your comment comes in @bolwerk. What do sugary sodas and candy have to do with alcohol? Unless you’re thinking sugary soda or alcohol are the only options people have to serve their kids at meal times.

bolwerk's avatar

@Dutchess_III: people go into conniptions of moral hysteria about the mere abstraction of children having a sip of wine or beer, but give not the slightest sweet damn about virtually unregulated consumption of processed foods and sugary sodas/candies that actually is wrecking children’s health for real. I don’t see a problem with any of those things – candy, alcohol, potato chips – in small doses, but the moral hysteria is kinda hypocritical.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I agree.

However, in regards to this question, we weren’t talking about a sip. We were talking about an entire can of Near Beer handed to them. I didn’t even realize it actually HAS alcohol in it, which is even worse. Why would you serve any amount of alcohol to your ten year old? Why? Why not give them milk or water to drink?

I never had pop around my house, and certainly never served it to them to drink with their meals.

bolwerk's avatar

@Dutchess_III: if you open a container of milk or juice, it will have alcohol in it after a day or three. Probably more than near beer.

I would serve alcohol to my 10-year-old, under direction and supervision, so its effects are understood. More likely, my experience as an 8-year-old when my mother did that to me would result: I thought it was nasty, and refused to have more than a sip.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My kids thought it was nasty too. But obviously my sister’s kids didn’t think it was nasty. They just drank it.

And it’s not just the alcohol content that I had a problem with. It’s the message that it sends like, “This is what you do when you’re an adult.” Why would you want to give them that kind of message? If they’re going to drink, they’re going to drink. Why almost make it a rite of passage that they WILL drink?

bolwerk's avatar

@Dutchess_III: why do that with anything then? The notion that drinking alcohol is some kind of sinful indulgence should be dispelled. So should everyone’s lack of nuance surrounding the issue: alcohol exists in nature (natural produce, juice, even milk) period, probably to the point that quantities of alcohol that exceed “near beer” are normal. Alcohol can be manufactured intentionally or unintentionally to make wine and beer, something that nearly every society consumes in some manner, and which are healthy parts of a balanced diet. Nothing, short of grotesque overconsumption, so far is likely to be meaningfully harmful or threatening to anyone without a genetic predisposition to alcoholism, even children. Then there are distilled spirits, which pretty much exist for no purpose other than to promote intoxication – these are poisonous in relatively small doses, even to adults.

Either way, unless you live off the grid in a prohibitionist colony, they’re going to get that message anyway. But I don’t think you letting them explore it is what will send it.

cazzie's avatar

So what if they do drink as adults? At least it will be un-romanticised and demystified. They most likely will drink, but they won’t feel the need to sneak behind their parent’s back. I have an issue with the quality of drink of choice, but did you know that if you want a high security clearance for the military, they don’t trust people who don’t drink because those people don’t know the effects alcohol has on them or their tolerance levels. Knowing the effects of alcohol creates a person who knows their limits and can make informed decisions, hopefully. Drinking is not ‘getting drunk’. Let us just make that a clear point.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I just don’t understand you guys. I’ve said I don’t have a problem with letting the kids take a sip. That pretty much demystifies it. Why go out of your way to push alcohol in any amount on your children?

jca's avatar

I think a good question to ask is “is it illegal to give alcohol to minors” and I am guessing the answer would be “yes.” Different states probably have different laws.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Of course it’s illegal, but it’s not like they could ever be caught. This is more of a moral / parenting question.

jca's avatar

I know, @Dutchess_III, just a question that came to mind with the discussion above.

I see that it’s not illegal in 29 states, under certain circumstances (with parental supervision, in places where alcohol is not sold, etc.).

Dutchess_III's avatar

Huh. Change that. Looks like it’s legal in Kansas if they’re with their parents. Still doesn’t change my mind though.

When my husband and I started dating my son was about 15. He went to the lake with us. A friend of my husband’s was there too. He was trying to push me into letting Chris drink, saying a kids’ first time of being drunk should be with his parents. Chris had not asked to drink, BTW. This was just the idiot’s idea, out of the blue. I said “Absolutely not.”
As I got to know the guy better it became clear that he had a real drinking problem. In fact, his friendship with my husband disappeared when the guy hit me when he was drunk.
He also had NO relationship with his children, hadn’t seen them in years.

bolwerk's avatar

@Dutchess_III: I don’t see who said anything about pushing alcohol on children in the first place. Why push anything on your children?

Dutchess_III's avatar

They serve them alcohol to drink with their dinner. The kids didn’t ASK for it. Mom and Dad drink beer and they give the kids kid-beer. The kids aren’t going out and buying the beer, the parents are. Then they offer it to the children. If that’s not pushing, I don’t know what is.

cazzie's avatar

they are not getting the kids drunk. Can we please just establish that as a fact?

bolwerk's avatar

@Dutchess_III: if the kids have the right to decline, it’s not being “pushed.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s not about getting them drunk @cazzie. It’s about the whole concept. Why would they even want to DO that? What can they be thinking?

Yes, it is being pushed, even if they have the right to say no @bolwerk. Pushing is not the same thing as “forcing.” I’m sure the kids had never even heard of Near Beer before their parents brought it home, just for them. I mean, I had never heard of it myself.

It’s the same thing with pop and junk food. The kids aren’t buying it. The parents are buying it and making it available to the kids. That’s pushing it.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m with @Dutchess_III Letting them takea does demystify alcohol. My parents let me taste if I was curious, nothing was taboo, and alcohol was not really presented asan adult drink. Basically, my parents rarely drank, especially my mom. My dad would drink at parties now and then, or try a glass of wine if it was suggested to him. No one in my family drank regularly growing up, and I am glad.

All kids eventually hit a point where they want to be like grown ups, I am very glad the message in my family was basically void of alcohol being related to being a grown up. I did know it was something we kids were not supposed to do, but I didn’t see it as some exciting think adults got to partake in that I was left out of.

When my friends started drinking in Jr. high, I didn’t think it was an adult cool thing to do, I thought of it as a thing my friends were doing that they shouldn’t.

Alcohol being natural means nothing. Most drugs are from nature.

I have read that actually alcoholism in Europe is quite high, and that they might want to believe drinking a glass of wine with dinner every night is just cultural, it actually in fact too often is alcoholism. Many of those people would be pretty uncomfortable without their regular alcohol. If you look at death rates related to alcohol countries like France are more than double America.

Alcohol to me is not the same as candy and soda regarding children. Sure it is better if kids eat fruit, vegetables and drink water, but alcohol is just never ok to me to serve children. It’s not that I think a little water downed wine will hurt the child in the moment, I worry about the long term consequences.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Dutchess_III “They serve them alcohol to drink with their dinner.”

Let a kid drink a few glasses of grape juice or milk throughout the day and they’ve consumed as much (and likely more) alcohol than you’ll find in those “near beers”. Mountain out of a molehill.

JLeslie's avatar

@Darth_Algar Do you have any information you can link regarding how much alcohol is in grape juice and milk? I have never heard of such a thing.

How much alcohol is in near beer is not the point. The point is the flavor and the habit. @Dutchess_III and I have both said trying alcohol is not taboo for us. I’m going to guess the kid who drinks near beer at ten regularly has more of a chance of being a regualr beer drinker as an adult than the kid who grew up without beer in the house in general. People who drink beer regularly won’t care though, becuase they think beer is just fine, and most regular beer drinkers I know tell me how they can drink 3 and not feel a thing.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Again, it isn’t even the alcohol. You’ll notice in the details I said it was a non-alcoholic beer. I didn’t know that it actually had alcohol in it until the first comment.

I’m still wonder why they would even do that.

Seek's avatar

http://www.alcoholfree.co.uk/what-meant-alcoholfree-a-5.html

Orange juice can often have the same alcohol content as “Near Beer”.

gailcalled's avatar

When, as a 17 year old, i was living with my French host family and drinking watered wine as my beverage of choice, they said that they had a surprise treat for me. Maman presented me with a glass of milk, having been boiled and with a coating of skim on top. I finally had to admit that it was undrinkable and we Americans drank it refrigerated. They said that they could not have imagined a more disgusting drink.

Seek's avatar

Hell, if the kid licks the measuring spoon after doling out the vanilla extract for his chocolate chips cookies, he got about the same amount of alcohol as in one of those bottles.

jca's avatar

To me, the issue is not the alcohol content in the “near beer” it’s the bottle of beer, or the inference of having a beer with dinner or as a drink that you have in the house. Why do that? Why not have water or juice or milk in a glass and keep it at that? Why make it like when we’re home, we’re drinking beer, even if it’s non alcoholic?

It’s like giving kids candy cigarettes. Let’s pass out some candy cigarettes and all mimic smoking. What kind of lesson would that be teaching?

Darth_Algar's avatar

@JLeslie

You’re not aware that fruits produce ethanol? Really? And the sugars in milk can break down into alcohol, granted it may be a negligible amount, but it’s still there.

Seek's avatar

Sometimes I have a beer with dinner.

… what’s the difference? I’m still modeling having a beer with dinner.

I assume when my son is an adult, he’ll also occasionally have beer with dinner.

I hope by that point he’s more interested in good, flavorful beer that he drinks for the taste, instead of American lagers, but that’s up to his own pallette.

My problem with Near Beer is that it’s gross. Not that it looks like an alcoholic beverage.

JLeslie's avatar

@Darth_Algar How often do you drink alcoholic beverages? Not counting juice and milk and other soft beverages.

Yes, I am aware. I can’t see comparing an orange juice to an alcoholic beverages unless it has fermented for a long while.

Seek's avatar

And candy cigarettes were tasty, too. Though, probably worse for my teeth than my psychological health

Darth_Algar's avatar

@jca *“To me, the issue is not the alcohol content in the “near beer” it’s the bottle of beer, or the inference of having a beer with dinner or as a drink that you have in the house. Why do that? Why not have water or juice or milk in a glass and keep it at that? Why make it like when we’re home, we’re drinking beer, even if it’s non alcoholic?
It’s like giving kids candy cigarettes. Let’s pass out some candy cigarettes and all mimic smoking. What kind of lesson would that be teaching?”*

Unlike cigarettes alcohol has been a staple of humankind for tens of thousands of years. Often times alcohol was better to drink than the water available. And serving “near beer” (or “small beer”, as it has also been called) to children was a fairly common thing. I suspect it’s only because of today’s oversensitive “won’t someone please think of the children” culture that it’s become an issue.

And personally I didn’t start smoking because I had candy cigarettes as a kid. I started smoking because pretty much every damned adult around me smoked. My parents, all my grandparents except one, most of my aunts, uncles, everyone my parents hung around with, just about every adult in my life smoked.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@JLeslie “How often do you drink alcoholic beverages?”

Relevance?

JLeslie's avatar

@Darth_Algar The amount of alcohol does matter in terms of the body’s ability to get rid of it. When we drink a beer, wine, or hard liquor, the alcohol content is higher than say an orange juice, so we are affected. The blood alcohol ratio goes up because the liver can only clean us up so fast. Trace amounts of alcohol are easily processed by the body and the alcohol has no effect.

The relevance is if you drink every day or every time you go out, of course you think it is fine to drink, and might be more inclined to think near beer is fine for kids, because you have no worry if it sets them up to be beer drinkers as adults, because if your normal is adults drink beer regularly, then no problem. I don’t assume you do drink regularly though, which is why I asked.

jca's avatar

@Darth_Algar: Oftentimes, alcohol was better to drink than the water available. Yes, but that’s not the case now.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@JLeslie “The relevance is if you drink every day or every time you go out, of course you think it is fine to drink, and might be more inclined to think near beer is fine for kids, because you have no worry if it sets them up to be beer drinkers as adults, because if your normal is adults drink beer regularly, then no problem. I don’t assume you do drink regularly though, which is why I asked.”

I’ll put it this way – the amount of beer/liquor I’ve consumed in the past decade could probably fit into a gallon milk jug or less.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@jca ” Oftentimes, alcohol was better to drink than the water available. Yes, but that’s not the case now.”

I dunno. I’ve got some foul tasting water from many public water systems.

jca's avatar

@Darth_Algar: Is there nothing else to drink other than near beer or water?

Darth_Algar's avatar

@jca

Yes and that’s rather beside the point of my snide comment on public water systems.

gailcalled's avatar

During the Passover Seder, many Jewish children are offered sips of the wine…Manischewitz (kosher for Passover). That is enough to make teetoltalers of them all.

And as I already said, many cultures find the thougth of drinking very cold cow’s milk repulsive. .

Dutchess_III's avatar

Also, look at the second example in the details. The parents seem to have beer with them every where they go.

JLeslie's avatar

@gailcalled So true. LOL.

SpatzieLover's avatar

All I can add to this conversation is this:

I grew up in a family where I was allowed to takes sips of wine, beer (yuck) and other alcoholic drinks as a kid. I was also allowed to try to make smoke rings by taking a hit off from my sister’s cigs as a small (toddler) child.

I grew up in a tavern (that we own).

Neither my sis or I drank more than half a drink out as teens. We both prefer to be the sober driver when going out with friends/family.

Personally, I wouldn’t have Near Beer or any other faux alcoholic beverage as a choice to my child or any adults I know. I’d prefer that my son try a sip of an actual alcoholic beverage if he is curious.

Since I was a small child I have been served champagne at New Year’s, wine at Church/weddings/family gatherings, sips of my parents drinks when out to dinner, etc.

Personally I’m not a huge fan of alcohol. I’ve never been drunk. I’ve never had more than 2 drinks when out. It just doesn’t interest me. Part of that disinterest, IMO, came from my parents allowing me to try things.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yup. No problem letting the kids try things. This went beyond that, though.

JLeslie's avatar

@SpatzieLover Do you agree with @Dutchess_III and me that a sip or a try is different than kids being given a whole near beer in lieu of some other beverage?

Cruiser's avatar

Being an alcoholic and INTJ I had to find out why I became addicted to alcohol. Addictions are a pleasureable experience gone horribly out of control. The pleasure response is what allowed man to evolve and survive. Cave men did not have the internet to research the plants and animals that were good for survival and the ones that would poison you make you sick or worse.

So this pleasure response is what tell the brain….oooh that tasted good and did not make me sick lets remember that item. The brain accomplishes this by producing Dopamine which is more powerful than heroine. But the brain only does this when the pleasure is greater than expected. Where the becomes an addiction is when one does it either too many times or to excess or both. So what happens is when something pleasureable happens….like say a kid sucking down a near beer and that .5 % acohol is more than enough to set off this pleasure response especially to a 10 year old brain….the mid brain sends this powerful drug dopamine to the frontal cortex where this pleasureable experience is permanently recorded for later use. Dopamine now triggers the frontal cortex and says “hey…I really want that again….it does this by sending glutamate back down to the mid brain where the mid brain says OK….go get it. Each time this pathway is activated by this pleasure response it becomes more and more hardwired to repeat this pleasureable activity and when it becomes an addiction that pathway is now like a canyon in the brain and will forever be etched in the brain always attempting to get the brain to send a powerful enough signal to repeat that pleasureable act and why addiction recovery is so dang hard for so many.

I would never offer my kids near beer to drink with a meal for the above reason. To taste what it tastes like is one thing and been there already done that with my teenage boys. In fact there is a six pack in the garage that my wife will share with my soon to be 18 yr old so he is not the only kid on campus next fall who has not had a beer or two.

So if saying it’s ok to let a kid try a beer why not then let that 10 yr old have sex too? Hell when I was 14 I wanted to have sex with a girl way more than I wanted to have a beer. And because adults drank beer and had sex I too wanted to be a grown up but I knew having sex was something I was taught to respect and I knew I was not ready to be a parent either so I waited. Same with drinking….I waited until I was 18 when it was legal to drink.

Bottom line is kids brains are simply not developed enough to handle the mental consquences of drugs and alcohol and sex.

@Dutchess_III If we are all still here 10 years from now let us know if any of these kids developed drinking problems.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I had whole wine coolers at the ages labeled above in the details. A wine cooler has more alcohol than a Near Beer.
Personally I see no difference in a sip of actual alcohol vs. an entire drink of faux.

It’s their parenting choice. They choose to offer a beer-like beverage with dinner.

Again, I’d prefer to give my own child a small version of a real drink. Or a large version of a virgin drink. Near Beer and products like it are too disgusting for me to even consider having. I’d prefer to talk in terms of actual alcohol.

So far, my son is disinterested. Luckily, like me he prefers to witness people drink versus actually imbibe. Knowing his personality, that’s probably how he’ll remain.

ragingloli's avatar

@Cruiser
I had the occasional glass of sparkling wine as a kid, and now I never drink, safe for special occasions.
You waited until 18, and you are an alcoholic.
Conclusion…

dxs's avatar

I’ve never heard of near beer before. So since it has similar content to drinks such as orange juice, that must mean that minors can buy it and legally drink it, right?
I have no intentions of drinking it anyway. I’m just curious.

JLeslie's avatar

@Cruiser With everything you wrote I would think the best idea is for your children to never drink. They probably have a likelihood of having an alcoholism gene, and they might have picked up behavioral patterns from you. Between the two it probably makes them more susceptible to alcoholism than the average person.

Seek's avatar

@dxs Don’t expect laws to make sense.

I can get carded buying a table red, but not for buying something labelled “cooking wine” two aisles over in the grocery store.

Same store will check my ID for purchase of Sudafed.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SpatzieLover Did your parents provide you with the wine coolers to drink?

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yes. I’d request the flavor, or put them in the shopping cart if we were shopping for a camping trip, etc. If out to dinner, I’d order one. In my state if a parent is with you, you may order an alcoholic beverage.

JLeslie's avatar

@SpatzieLover Do your parents drink regularly?

SpatzieLover's avatar

My mom is a social drinker, and will have a shot of Peppermint Schnapps at home occasionally. She has never been drunk in front of me.

My dad was an alcoholic who bought our family tavern ;) He did attempt to curb his drinking behaviors in front of his children. He was able to control it back to that of a social drinker in our presence. He did not believe in having alcohol in the home. He preferred all consumption to be social.

My step dad drank socially.

My husband rarely drinks. His parents were the type that didn’t allow their kids to drink in their home….So, when my husband and his brother went to college together they drank heavily their first year away. My husband less so than his older brother, but it was heavier than what I’d feel comfortable with. His older brother, I’d say, is on the cusp of becoming an alcoholic. I am uncomfortable with the level he drinks at, particularly at social events, in front of his kids.

Cruiser's avatar

@ragingloli I am not sure how that correlates in any way. There are far more alcoholics in your country per capita than mine and kids there legally can drink at 16.

JLeslie's avatar

@Cruiser I think the point is you are repeating the same pattern you experienced with your son. Why do you and your wife think that his outcome will be different than yours? I don’t say that in a condemning way, you might have a good reason. A lot of parents think it is good to drink with their kids so they learn how much they can handle and what it is like. I don’t know what I feel about it. Doing it in some sort of official way is a little odd to me, odd that I would not do it that way, but again I think a lot of parents do it like that. I make no judgment, except to say that I think some sort of official date where children now feel they can drink it usnusual from how I was brought up. There was a legal age of course, but all my friends drank way before that if they wanted to, so it was irrelevant to me. My high school boyfriend’s family all let teenagers drink at the parties. I could have been doing shots of scotch like the rest of them at age 15 if I had wanted to.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I’m not a parent so I think I may be missing something here but can someone explain why this is so frowned upon? If this stuff is non alcoholic then why is it any different to letting your kid drink coke or lemonade? I agree that you probably shouldn’t allow it with every meal as it probably isn’t the healthiest of beverages but, in moderation, is it a problem? I’m trying to figure out if it is any different to my grandmother giving us lemonade with a tiny hint of wine in it on special occasions when my brother and I were kids.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Because America.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Ok, I just read all the answers and I can see everyone’s point to a certain extent but still don’t think this is that bad (I also don’t have a problem with candy cigarettes, I loved them as a kid and yet have NEVER had a whole real cigarette, I have had one drag.) If they are allowing the kids to drink this stuff as much as your question implies then I would imagine they will be really bored of the taste by the time they are adults anyway. From about the age of 12 years old I was allowed to have a small glass of something (usually wine which I dislike for the most part now) with dinner every so often. My relationship with alcohol is non existence apart from an occasional whiskey!! at worse, in the UK we would call this parenting “technique” chavvy or pikey which is similar to what the Americans call redneck!!

JLeslie's avatar

@Leanne1986 Are you saying giving kids near beer is redneck? I want to make sure I understand what you meant. I think of it as redneck or working class also if I was going to stereotype. I didn’t jump to that stereotype when first reading the question, but if someone asked me to guess what type of family is doing this sort of thing that would be my answer. Not that I think all rednecks or blue collar workers would do this, nor do I think white collar wouldn’t, but it would be my generalization.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Actually, Dad’s a HS history teacher, Mom is a high level manager at Boeing (now Spirit.) It strikes me as a red neck thing to do too. Sending an 8 year old scampering through a retirement home with a beer in each hand for her folks strikes me as redneck too. Oh, my sister would DIE if she heard this!! She considers her self so high class and doesn’t associate with those she considers ‘lower’ class. Which would be people like me. :(

OpryLeigh's avatar

@JLeslie Being from the Uk and not the US I can’t be 100% sure what is redneck behaviour, I can only go by what the media has taught me about rednecks but, like I said, in the UK this would be stereotyped as Chavvy or Pikey behaviour and if it also brings to mind redneck behaviour then they are obviously very similar stereotypes.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Rednecks can be cool. My husband is a redneck, in a cool sort of way. When we first got together we were at a lake, getting kind of drunk. He had me drive his Suburban while he and his friend “surfed” on top of it. Redneck.

I came up with a plan once to buy the frame of an old pontoon boat. I said we should rebuild the wooden bed and then fix our pop up camper onto it and take it to the lake. Wanted to start a Redneck Yacht Club.

bolwerk's avatar

@JLeslie: no matter where you are, wild yeast will infect almost any open container with the right mix of sugar and nutrients. Some things, like soda, may be too acidic.

@Dutchess_III: call it what you will, I don’t really see the problem with letting kids have an incidental beer anymore than I see a problem with them having dessert. It was probably normal until the libservatives took over in the 20th century and decided everything that deviates from their beliefs should be banned and punished with prison. People who don’t want to are free not to do it.

@Cruiser: ” There are far more alcoholics in [Germany] per capita than [the USA] and kids [in Germany] legally can drink at 16”: {{citation needed}} Most of the alcoholics I see in Germany are Americans or Brits!

Cruiser's avatar

@bolwerk Most of the people in my AA meetings are Germans and Brits. I happen to be of German descent in fact my great grandfather came to the US to open a beer garden in Chicago…here is the link you asked for.

bolwerk's avatar

@Cruiser: alcohol consumption != alcoholism. Fewer Americans drink, this is known. However, it’s perhaps the case that the fewer Americans who do drink are more likely to be problem drinkers. I don’t know for sure, just saying it’s possible.

Munich has vomit “urinals.” They’re probably targeted at English-speakers though. :(

JLeslie's avatar

@bolwerk It’s true that a lot of Americans don’t drink and so the stats are skewed if we count non-drinkers in the averages. But, it is also still true that more people die in Germany for alcohol related causes than America. If I remember correctly the US isn’t even in the top twenty, while many European countries are.

In America my friends who are alcoholics are primarily Irish, some are part German and some part Polish.

Seek's avatar

The simple fact of the matter is, the American puritanical approach to alcohol isn’t preventing alcoholism. We have plenty of alcoholics ourselves.

To find a country with no instances of alcohol deaths, you have to go to Saudi Arabia, where fermented beverages are outlawed, and they have arguments over whether orange juice is Halal.

JLeslie's avatar

Alcohol reated deaths.. The numbers are low for both Germany and US, but it’s still higher in Germany.

@Seek_Kolinahr I don’t know if I agree that Americans are puritanical in their approach. They just control the age of consumption, try to, but America is pretty gung ho when it comes to alcohol. Growing up in MD our laws were some of the most liberal for drinking and driving for the longest time, I figure because a lot of the politicans live in MD surrounding DC and they are driving drunk themselves. We are much easier than most western European countries about drinking and driving.

It would be interesting to know how often Mormons are alcoholics. A culture that is quite puritanical about the consumption of alcohol.

I do think children raised where alcohol is taboo for the children in the family, but the adults drink is possibly the worst combination for kids who when they finally break free they go wild. But, I have no real data regarding it, just what I have observed.

Seek's avatar

That is exactly the official American approach, though.

All adults should drink, but for children it’s a blatant no-no.

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^^ Well, according to my sister and her hubs, it would appear that they teach that all adults AND children should drink. Everybody should drink. That’s just what people do, every chance they get.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I agree most of America does that. Do you label that puritanical? I was questioning your word choice. I think of puritanical as it being taboo for everyone.

bolwerk's avatar

@JLeslie: how many people die is a poor measure too. Germany has pretty liberal consumption laws, but that could be a macabre tourist industry rather than anything having to do with Germans having drinking problems. Problem American drinkers who die in Germany would be counted in Germany’s statistics.

Also, “alcohol-related” always needs to be taken with a grain of salt. In the USA it means there is alcohol somehow tangentially present. A drunk pedestrian hit by a sober-driver is an alcohol-related fatality and alcohol-related car “accident.”

Anyway, not saying @Cruiser was wrong, just saying I’d be hesitant to draw any conclusions based on reported numbers that may have varying methodologies.

@Seek_Kolinahr: alcohol-related deaths in Saudi Arabia probably include state executions for drinking in the mosque.

@Dutchess_III: not going to say it’s something to instill in children – I wouldn’t assume anyone who does it is automatically Evil™ either – but people who can handle their alcohol probably should drink a little. It’s associated better health and longer life.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@JLeslie

Keep in mind that this nation did once outlaw alcohol for everyone, and still to this day there are many places (counties and local municipalities) where it’s forbidden to sell alcohol period, and even more places that allow alcohol sales but then put restrictions of it such as no sales on Sundays or on certain religious holidays. So yes, I’d say America is rather puritanical about it.

JLeslie's avatar

@Darth_Algar All good points, but I still say American for the most part is not puritanical on the topic. A lot of the blue laws are just stupid. You can’t buy alcohol until noon on Sunday. So? What does that do? Nothing. To me that sort of law is the typical hypocrisy of trying to present yourself as a good Christian and then doing all sorts of “sinful” things when people aren’t looking. At least, not the people you want to hide whatever it is you are doing from. Although, I do concede there is stillartsart of America who is puritanical about not only alcohol, but sex too, and I think they cause no harm than good, even though from the outside looking in I am moderate to conservative on the topics. I don’t mean politically conservative, I mean behaviorally.

Most Baptists I know do drink, they even dance a little, and I do mean the type of Baptists who are not supposed to do those things. However, my Mormon friends don’t drink. But, I don’t see any of my Mormon friends trying to stop others from drinking or trying to change laws. Maybe some Mormon groups do, but I would say it is rare.

My persective is that of a nondrinker. I rarely drink, and from my place in society America seems like a hot bed of people who drink too much. As a teen it was much worse, as an adult at least the drinking world is less likely to try to pressure me to drink. I have more than one friend who annoyingly must drink if we go out, who I don’t want to be the passenger in their car if we go out. Alcohol is way too important to them in my opinion.

In some societies the person who refuses to drink is not to be trusted, or looked down on as being uptight. There are all sorts of negative stereotypes put on people who don’t drink. The most common assumption as adults is people think we are alcoholics.

Do you think the drinking laws in America are in the hopes that adults will drink less or never learn to drink?

Darth_Algar's avatar

The drinking laws in America seem to use a lopsided logic that’s beyond me, so I wouldn’t presume to understand the reasoning behind them, other than the’re leftover sentiment from the old temperance movement. What I do know is that, like all prohibitional laws, they utter fail to accomplish whatever aims they may have and may even make the situation worse.

bolwerk's avatar

American drinking laws are probably a bumblefuck way to curb problematic consumption. What they probably end up curbing is casual consumption, however, because buying alcohol is made more expensive and/or inconvenient. Some states don’t let you buy alcohol at all, except in special stores. Some people aren’t going to drink because they don’t feel like making another stop; these people are probably not prone to being problem drinkers.

Dutchess_III's avatar

They aren’t so bad @bolwerk. Easy enough to work around them. Around here you can’t buy beer or liquor on Sunday so you just stock up on Saturday.

bolwerk's avatar

@Dutchess_III: which is probably exactly what problem drinkers do. A lot of other people who might like a drink are just gonna be like, eh, fuck it.

jca's avatar

12 states don’t sell liquor on Sunday.

6 states don’t allow alcohol tastings.

1 state does not allow alcohol sales on Election Day.

Source:

http://www.prohibitionrepeal.com/legacy/hall.asp

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think that one state might be Kansas! We don’t sell alcohol on any holidays, either.

jca's avatar

It’s South Carolina.

Blondesjon's avatar

“Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the Bible says love your enemy.” – Frank Sinatra

Cruiser's avatar

@bolwerk “I’d be hesitant to draw any conclusions based on reported numbers”

One thing that had me thinking is I see America(ns) as over worked and over stressed with not enough vacation time….maybe even throw in over in debt. I wonder what effect these things have on alcoholism/addiction and I wonder how the rate of alcoholism and or addictions can be correlated to those mitigating factors/pressures compared to other developed countries?? I know some countries extend lots of vaca time and according to my least fav source Wiki ,...German workers get 30 days “employment leave”...a whole month while US workers get none, zilch…zippo.

bolwerk's avatar

@Cruiser: what actually wouldn’t surprise me is a higher rate of severe alcoholism in the USA because of various social factors (e.g., higher poverty, maybe stress) and some genetic ones (Native Americans are especially prone) and a higher rate of unhealthy/problematic drinking in Germany. Having a daily bottle of wine with a dining partner just over lunch doesn’t seem out of step with the culture in Germany, and that might be on top of whatever you have after work. Probably not healthy, but also not something that will kill you very fast.

But I still see no way to compare based on available numbers. Which brings up another problem with @JLeslie‘s metric: alcohol-related death may not correlate very well to death by severe alcoholism, even if both countries use the same metric.

JLeslie's avatar

@bolwerk I’m pretty sure there is more alcohol consumption among people with higher incomes than without. This also translates into whites consuming more alcohol that other groups, and college educated consume more.

Just because something is the “culture” doesn’t mean it is a good idea.

I do agree that the statistics need to be explained further to make any conclusions. Deaths related to alcohol might mean the other driver who was sober who was hit by the drunk driver, I don’t know. Also, I have seen stats that moderate drinkers live longer than abstainers, but since people with money tend to drink more, that stat is only a correlation in my opinion.

bolwerk's avatar

@JLeslie: the study I saw said moderate drinkers live longer than heavy drinkers and abstainers, but the surprising part of the study was that heavy drinkers lived longer than abstainers. And they controlled for education, income, physical health (diet too, IIRC), and all sorts of other things.

Yeah, that poor people can’t afford to drink as much is probably a side-effect of sin taxes. Maybe another side-effect is that they die sooner. Kill ‘em for their own damn good!

jca's avatar

I believe I have read in numerous places (but since it’s late, I’m not looking for links now) that women who are moderate to heavy drinkers have higher rates of breast cancer than women who are light drinkers or who abstain.

cazzie's avatar

@bolwerk and even if abstainers didn’t live as long as those who drank, it would certainly FEEL longer. Cheers.

JLeslie's avatar

Well, I don’t know the real deal regarding drinking, health, and life expectancy. I am very suspicious of claims and studies that drinking is good for you.

bolwerk's avatar

@cazzie: sanctimonious abstainers probably enjoy driving everyone else to need a drink. :-\

@JLeslie: can’t comment on “good for you,” but that drinking is better for you than not drinking is probably about as close to ironclad as science gets. And that’s accounting for the fact that @jca is right too: there are still health tradeoffs like being more likely to get certain cancers, but probably, say, being less likely to get a heart attack.

jca's avatar

@bolwerk: The amount of wine that may help prevent a heart attack is not the “heavy drinking category” which is more likely to cause breast cancer. We’re talking two different categories of drinker here.

bolwerk's avatar

@jca: never said it was. But heavy drinkers do statistically live longer than teetotalers, so something (nobody seems to know what) is net benefiting them.

Seek's avatar

Moderate drinking is significantly beneficial enough to offset genetic predisposition to heart disease when coupled with a balanced diet.

Or so I was told by the genetic test thing I had done.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Then again my teetotaling grandfather lived for 88 years without any significant health issues until the cancer that claimed his life while my moderately drinking father is 56 and has already had two bypass operations.

Yes, I know, anecdotal evidence…..

jca's avatar

However, the salutary effect of moderate drinking may be overestimated owing to confounding factors. Abstainers may include former problem drinkers with existing health problems and may be atypical compared to drinkers in terms of sociodemographic and social-behavioral factors.

bolwerk's avatar

@jca: read the study. They controlled for a lot if not all that stuff.

jca's avatar

@bolwerk: I just read it briefly – it seems to confirm what I said above: ”@bolwerk: The amount of wine that may help prevent a heart attack is not the “heavy drinking category” which is more likely to cause breast cancer. We’re talking two different categories of drinker here.”

I am not saying don’t drink. I am saying don’t be a heavy drinker.

bolwerk's avatar

@jca: I don’t know how that overrides the much more intriguing point that heavy drinkers actually live longer than teetotalers.

jca's avatar

@bolwerk: Yes, it’s intriguing.

jca's avatar

http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/alcohol-abuse/features/12-health-risks-of-chronic-heavy-drinking

Not that a life of heavy drinking is necessarily a good thing, however.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Guess I’m gonna live forever!

jca's avatar

It may be a long life but not necessarily a good life :)

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