Is it ever OK to be drunk in front of your kids?

Filed under: Celeb Kids, Celeb Parents

By now most of the Internet has seen the horrifying, sideshow-ish video of David Hasselhoff, shirtless and shuffling his mouth haphazardly toward a Wendy's burger. His daughter is taping him, berating him for his drunkenness and pleading with him to stop with the alcohol, already.

I hesitated when I first saw the video, because my feelings toward alcoholism are both raw and undeniably biased.

I grew up in an alcoholic household. Though my Dad has been sober for more than 20 years, I still remember the vague feeling of panic, of understanding something was not quite right in our family, something that I couldn't control. I remember feeling that my solid, strong father was sometimes a different person, someone I didn't understand and didn't want to know. I am proud of him for making the decision to put his family before the drink. I think I am a better, healthier person for it and I have the utmost respect for him.

Because of my background, though, I have always had mixed feelings about alcohol. I worked in bars for most of my early twenties, freewheeling with multiple late night ciders after long shifts, getting drunk with my friends for fun, sometimes ending up in precarious situations I'd never have entered into sober. Alcohol was as intrinsic to my fun as shopping with my girlfriends and dinners in overpriced restaurants.

Since the day I became pregnant, though, something changed. I suddenly vividly remembered my childhood and my fears and my need for strength in my parents and my perspective of alcohol as an accessory to fun disappeared. Fun was Nolan's gummy smile. So much more beauty could be seen in his dimpled arms than in the straight line of too much red wine in several long-stemmed glasses. My old self would have thought my new perspective lame, my new self was grateful for the sudden clear-eyed view.

I still have the occasional glass of wine, sometimes two, but never four or five. First, I couldn't handle Mothering an almost-two year old with a hangover. Second, I feel I have a responsibility to be clear minded and present for my son. I am not knocking social drinking, I think there's a place for it and that parents have a right to a couple drinks with friends, wine with dinner, whatever. But when it gets to the point where you can't aim a hamburger accurately toward your mouth, there's an issue.

I was surprised to see many commenters on the David Hasselhoff video saying that his daughter was whiny and irritating, to let the man be drunken and debaucherous, already. I disagree. I don't believe that that degree of drunkenness has a place in front of a child. Admittedly, I am very biased.

What do you think?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.