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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Do modern parent see coffee for kids as “in” now?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26783points) September 6th, 2012

When I was a kid coffee was in the realm of adults like liquor. Parents would not serve us kids coffee and we were discouraged from partaking of any. These days with iced coffees like Double Choco Moca Lattes with whip and extra caramel drizzle, etc, they seem more like milkshakes than coffee, and while at upscale coffee houses (such as the one with the green logo with a woman with a star crown) parents buy these for their kids, or you see the kids get them on the way to middle and high school. So is coffee for kids “in” now, that it is OK, or has no health risk for kids? When I was a kid we were told to avoid coffee because all the caffeine was bad for us. Maybe it was just brewed coffee, and iced coffees or better?

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22 Answers

marinelife's avatar

“In both kids and adults, too much caffeine can cause:

jitteriness and nervousness
upset stomach
difficulty concentrating
difficulty sleeping
increased heart rate
increased blood pressure

Especially in young kids, it doesn’t take a lot of caffeine to produce these effects.

Other reasons to limit kids’ caffeine consumption include:

Kids who consume one or more 12-ounce (355-milliliter) sweetened soft drink per day are 60% more likely to be obese.
Not only do caffeinated beverages contain empty calories (calories that don’t provide any nutrients), but kids who fill up on them don’t get the vitamins and minerals they need from healthy sources, putting them at risk for nutritional deficiencies. In particular, kids who drink too much soda (which usually starts between the third and eighth grades) may miss getting the calcium they need from milk to build strong bones and teeth.
Drinking too many sweetened caffeinated drinks could lead to dental cavities (or caries) from the high sugar content and the erosion of tooth enamel from acidity. Not convinced that sodas can wreak that much havoc on kids’ teeth? Consider this: One 12-ounce (355-milliliter) nondiet, carbonated soft drink contains the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar (49 milliliters) and 150 calories.
Caffeine is a diuretic that causes the body to eliminate water (through urinating), which may contribute to dehydration. Whether the amount of caffeine in beverages is enough to actually cause dehydration is not clear, however. It may depend on whether the person drinking the beverage is used to caffeine and how much caffeine was consumed that day. To be on the safe side, it’s wise to avoid excessive caffeine consumption in hot weather, when kids need to replace water lost through perspiration.
Abruptly stopping caffeine may cause withdrawal symptoms (headaches, muscle aches, temporary depression, and irritability), especially for those who are used to consuming a lot.
Caffeine can aggravate heart problems or nervous disorders, and some kids may not be aware that they’re at risk.”

WestRiverrat's avatar

Good iced coffee is brewed. I think they are just more available and parents just don’t like to deny their kids so the kids get more than is good for them.

Just like soda was a once a month treat when I was a kid, now it is an every day necessity for many kids. It is not any better for us, but it is there.

creative1's avatar

My 4 yr old always wants a coffee when I order one so I have them either make them a smoothie or some fruit drink and she will call it her coffee and then she is happy because she feels like she is being big like mom.

wundayatta's avatar

I can’t make a generalization. I can say that my daughter, who is 16, recently told us they offered her coffee at summer camp, and I think she tried some, but is not desirous of drinking it all the time. But she’s probably old enough to start “using.”

I’m 56, though, and I I have only been using for a few years. Most of my life I have avoided coffee in favor of chocolate, which also has caffeine, but not as much. It has only been since I’ve been sick that I’ve needed to have coffee, since my meds seem to make me much sleepier all the time. I actually fell asleep driving a few months ago. It has made me much more cautious, and more willing to use coffee.

gailcalled's avatar

Did you drink sodas as a kid? They are also loaded with caffeine.

It is, except for rare occasions, a bad idea, for both the caffeine and the other stuff (sugar and corn syrup and artifial flavoring).

However, I remember when I lived with a French family years ago. There were two youngsters there, aged 6 and 8. They (and I at 17) had strong seriously-brewed café with equal amounts of laid every morning for breakfast. (They also had watered wine with lunch and dinner.)

JLeslie's avatar

I think Americans still see coffee as an adult drink. It is a very cultural thing. Other cultures don’t limit coffee in the same was as in the United States. Similar to @gailcalled pointed out, other cultures treat it more like coca cola, some families allow kids to have it some don’t, but it wasn’t so much of a taboo, more a family decision.

It does make sense however that with more and more milkshake like coffee drinks kids might be more inclined to consume the product. I have never been a coffee drinker, but coffee ice cream is my favorite of ice cream flavors, and it always has been since childhood.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Absolutely. I don’t have kids myself but my niece and all her little friends LOVE all those high-caffeine drinks. I’d rather her have a single cup of my coffee at home mixed with a LOT of milk, than go to Kum N Go and get a Red Bull with her friends.

zenvelo's avatar

I think it is more a matter of availability. I started with coffee at home when I was 14, but it was hard to get coffee elsewhere. When I was a teenager we could get coffee out of a vending machine at school if you were brave, but it was dishwater. And you could get it at a coffee shop, like Lyons or Carrows or Sambos.

7–11 sold it too, but that was only for truckers and construction workers. Plus they didn’t open until 7 a.m.

YARNLADY's avatar

Not in our family.

gailcalled's avatar

Speaking of the evil spell-check, I was writing about café au lait and not laid.

Seek's avatar

Only for the immediate treatment of Asthma attacks.

A sad reality in my house.

Fortunately, my son says soda is “spicy”, coffee is “Mama Juice” and Daddy’s beer is “gross”.
Some things I just love about four year olds. I will, sometimes, let him join me in a cup of hot tea, but that isn’t often, and he only makes it through a few sips before giving up anyway.

DigitalBlue's avatar

My grandmother gave me coffee with milk as a treat when I was little. I let the kids have coffee with milk, which is about ¾ milk and ¼ coffee sometimes. They would have it every day if I let them, but I prefer that they drink water rather than anything else, and the coffee is a treat. I rarely let them drink soda, if it were solely up to me I would never let them drink soda.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I would hope not!!! My son used to ask for coffee when he was little. I have no idea why. I’d pour him a coffee cup of milk and add a dash of coffee to it.

LOL!! Gailcalled got laid!!!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Sorry…I can see those dingy parents giving their kids coffee…then blaming the candy bar/sugar they gave them for the hyperactivity!

Seaofclouds's avatar

We don’t even drink coffee, so we certainly don’t give it to our children. My oldest has asked for it in the past and I always tell him no.

zenvelo's avatar

@gailcalled That’s called a Freudian spell check…

gailcalled's avatar

@zenvelo; One really does have to be supervigilant (and not supervise) these days, doesn’t one, or two, or all of us?

muppetish's avatar

For my significant other, drinking a cup of coffee in the morning with his parents was always a cultural tradition of sorts. He gets a nasty headache if he doesn’t have one now and he doesn’t like going a day without it. His younger sister is okay without one, but she finds drinking it comforting (like a cup of hot chocolate.) I don’t know how young they started drinking it, though.

Personally, I wouldn’t allow a kid to drink anything caffeinated, except at special occasions. I drank too much soda as a kid and then cut it out of my diet in high school and have stuck more or less to that. I’m sure my body will thank me. (And I save so much money from not buying Starbucks!)

Dutchess_III's avatar

I HATE it when people hand their kids a pop and a candy bar. Hate it.

downtide's avatar

One cup of coffee contains twice as much caffeine as coke, ounce for ounce. It also contains far less sugar. I think I’d rather my kids drank one cup of coffee than two cans of coke.

momster's avatar

Maybe it depends on where you live. When I was a kid we drank almost nothing but soda and Kool Aid. We rarely had fresh fruit in the house and McDonalds or a tv dinner in front of the TV was pretty common. I started drinking coffee when I was in high school but long before then I was allowed to drink tea with caffeine whenever I wanted and my parents gave us wine at holiday meals. Those were the good old days when kids were raised “right.” You know, with Twinkies and spankings and riding bikes without helmets.

Now I live in a place where junk food is a big no no, everyone tries to buy organic and there’s more awareness and effort toward good nutrition. My kids only rarely have soda and we never keep it around the house. Fast food is also a rare treat, we have fresh fruit and veggies with almost every meal and even my middle schooler has never had coffee. Just because there are SOME parents who allow their kids to regularly consume crap doesn’t mean ALL or even MOST can’t say no to their kids or don’t pay attention to what their kids are eating and drinking. But it’s good to know all the people who don’t have kids are paying attention and can tell us parents what we’re doing wrong and where we’re failing because you know we’re all the same, just like all men are the same, all women are the same, all Christians are the same, all Hispanics are the same. lol

Dutchess_III's avatar

We rarely had fresh fruit in the house either. When we did, we never ate it! However, fast food was few and far between. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, like clockwork, fixed by my mom.

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