DEAR ABBY: We have out-of-state friends who have two daughters, ages 10 and 11. More than once I have seen the mother give her girls sips of her wine -- even hard liquor -- when she is drinking. We do not allow our children to do this. We have discussed drinking in moderation with them, but only when they are of legal age.
My problem is, this friend and her family will soon be coming here to visit. She has now informed me that she'll be bringing a bottle of wine for her girls to drink. When I asked her not to because I'm not comfortable with it and my kids aren't allowed to do so, she started arguing that mine don't have to. Then she said that she wouldn't bring a bottle for her girls, but would let them have some of hers. She argues that this is common in Europe.
This situation has me uncomfortable. Am I being unreasonable? -- OLD-FASHIONED IN THE U.S.A.
DEAR OLD-FASHIONED: Unless your friend and her family LIVE in Europe, please wake up to the fact that she is trying to rationalize her own alcohol problem. While some parents allow children an occasional sip of whatever they (the parents) are drinking, they do NOT bring along an extra bottle "for their children"!
This indicates to me that the girls are doing a lot more than "sipping." What you have described is a family in serious need of an intervention, because your friend's behavior is child endangerment. She's jeopardizing her children's health. My advice is to tell her you would prefer no alcohol in your house -- period. I'm betting it will cause her to cancel her plans to visit.