Page last updated at 19:27 GMT, Thursday, 29 January 2009

Your stories: Alcohol ban

A selection of alcopops bottles

Children under 15 should never be given alcohol, England's chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson has advised.

Sir Liam Donaldson has also called for parents to supervise any older children given alcohol.

Ministers and doctors in the UK are worried by rising rates of both binge-drinking and alcohol-related liver disease. The British public will be asked for its views during a consultation period.

Here are some of your views.


My daughter has just turned 14 and my husband and I allow her a glass of wine or Baileys as an occasional treat. My husband and I are not big drinkers but we do enjoy a drink with a meal out or at home as a treat.

We want our daughter to drink responsibly and see us enjoying a drink. We want to show our her that alcohol should be enjoyed and not seen as just a means to get drunk so we teach her about wine, where it comes from and how to enjoy it.

Alcohol is out there and teenagers can easily get their hands on it. In Rochdale, we have a big problem with kids getting drunk on street corners. The problem comes from parents who fail to set a good example themselves.

In Rochdale, we have a big problem with kids getting drunk on street corners

As a medical student I am fully aware of the dangers of excessive drinking but if you drink in moderation and have a healthy attitude to alcohol from the start then it doesn't have to be a problem.

This kind of advice from the chief medical officer patronises responsible parents. I think the government should leave good parents to continue doing what they are doing, it's the out of control kids with terrible parents that are the problem!


Having a little wine at Sunday dinner was considered normal when I was a child. Unfortunately, this regular "taste" of alcohol created a strong liking for it which eventually led to a serious drinking problem.

As teenagers we sneaked drinks from our parents and then binged.

The children would clear away the plates and glasses and we'd finish their wine
After Sunday lunch when the adults had gone for a walk, the children would clear away the plates and glasses and we'd finish their wine. At weddings when no one paid too much attention to the punch bowl, we took full advantage. It was fun, I loved the buzz and before too long I couldn't imagine being without it.

I had a strong desire to experiment and the peer pressure was enormous. We had courses in school on health and the danger of drugs but we laughed them off. After all I was a bright student and always the top of my class in everything. No one ever talked about the long term effects and the danger of forming a habit I would later find hard to break.

Man carrying drinks tray

I went through an extreme period of drinking and taking drugs as a teenager and the problem continued right into adulthood. More than 35 years on, I am finally free of alcohol addiction.

I have raised my kids to live without alcohol. Aged 21 and 16 they don't want or need alcohol, and are happy without it. If they wanted to go to a party where there would be underage drinking, we discussed it first but ultimately I didn't allow it. It was a risk but it has worked. They are both mature, level- headed kids with lots of friends.


I have been drinking since I was five or six. At that age, it was very weak shandy or very watered wine and only on special occasions. As I grew up, I learnt that alcohol can be enjoyed socially. I have never had any problems with abuse or addiction.

In contrast, a friend of mine had a very strict upbringing and was banned from touching any alcohol.

If you tell kids they can't do something, then they will want to do it
On his 18th birthday he went out and got completely drunk, ending up in casualty with his stomach pumped. It didn't stop there and by twenty he was in rehab. A young life wasted.

My own daughter is two and my approach to alcohol will be the same as my parents. If you tell kids they can't do something, then they will want to do it. That will create a mystery around alcohol.

I think Sir Liam Donaldson's proposal is na´ve. If you ban alcohol, children will find a way to get it when you are not watching. That is when you might get a call from the police telling you your kid is unconscious after drinking four litres of cider.


I am in my mid-thirties and have four kids. My wife and I work very hard to bring our children up properly but there are small percentage of parents who just can't be bothered. When I hear about young children being introduced to alcohol - in some cases as young as eight - it is just wrong.
Drinking isn't for those who aren't ready

Children grow up too quickly and think they can make adult decisions but they can't. Drinking isn't for those who aren't ready; there is too much risk to your health and wellbeing and kids can quickly find themselves in trouble.

My mother was alcoholic and started drinking heavily from her teenage years and throughout her life. It damaged her and affected my whole life.

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