Should parents be allowed to drink alcohol at sports day?

Should parents drink alcohol at sports day? [Photo: Getty]
Should parents drink alcohol at sports day? [Photo: Getty]

A mum has turned to the Internet to gauge the reactions of other parents about drinking alcohol at sports day.

It’s June, which can only mean one thing. Sports day! Children across the country are donning their coloured T-shirts, honing their skills with eggs, spoons and sacks and slapping on the sunscreen.

While some parents relish the whole sports day spectacle, for others, the stress of dropped batons, three-legged topple-overs and came-last melt-downs is enough to drive them to drink.

But not everyone thinks that’s ok, and one mum has taken to parenting site Mumsnet to find out other opinions about cheering on children with a glass of fizz in hand.

“Have just returned from a very hot primary school sports day,” the poster wrote. “A group of parents decided to crack open a few cold cans of Pimms at about 11am. AIBU to think that this is totally out of order at a primary school sports day?”

“I mean I know it’s not cans of super brew but still I would never dream of watching my little ones in the sack race while getting sloshed in the sun!”

The mum finished her post by saying she’d love to find out what others felt about the subject and other parents were quick to offer their own views.

Some could see nothing wrong with parents having a tipple at their child’s sports day.

“I think it’s quite nice actually. Celebrating the start of the summer holidays,” one parent wrote.

“PTA runs a Pimms tent at ours! No one gets sloshed. Some people have a couple with a picnic,” added another.

“I think each to their own, I wouldn’t judge someone having a Pimms or a cold lager for that matter. In the same way I don’t judge someone for having a bag of crisps instead of carrot sticks,” another parent commented.

But other parents found the whole idea of drinking alcohol at a school event completely unacceptable.

“I have been to a lot of sweltering primary sports days and never seen anyone openly drinking alcohol. I wouldn’t think it was ok,” one mum commented.

“I’d be appalled,” wrote another mum. “It’s not as though anyone would be fine with the teachers joining in. It sends a pretty shitty message to the kids. And frankly it doesn’t matter what they’re drinking. Alcholism is ugly. Children shouldn’t have to be embarrassed by adults.”

“I honestly hate the culture of alcohol being at EVERY single social event,” another parent added. “It’s an unhealthy habit and not one I want my children to be exposed to.”

Drinking alcohol at sports day: necessary or not acceptable? [Photo: freestocks.org via Pexels]
Drinking alcohol at sports day: necessary or not acceptable? [Photo: freestocks.org via Pexels]

The debate comes as it was recently revealed that more primary school events are serving alcohol than ever before. A recent survey revealed that primary schools applied for permission to serve alcohol to parents at more than 8,000 events in 2013.

But some experts have raised concerns that this could lead to children picking up dangerous drinking habits.

Commenting on the findings, Debbie Bannigan, chief executive of Swanswell, the charity that compiled the figures told the Independent: “If primary school children are led to believe that alcohol is an important part of every social occasion, we shouldn’t be surprised that they then expect to drink at their own social occasions as soon as they’re independent enough to do so.”

Tracey Crouch, Tory MP for Chatham and Aylesford, who chairs the committee, said: “So often we forget the effects of our actions on the perception of children.

“Granting alcohol licences at child-focused events taking place in primary schools suggests to children, at an extremely impressionable age, that alcohol is needed to have fun.

“Alcohol is so visible elsewhere that I don’t think it needs to be on school premises as well, and I would very much support a change in licensing to a presumption not to licence.”

And it seems witnessing their parents drink could have an effect on the way children consume alcohol in later life. A survey by Ipsos Mori which questioned 5,700 teenagers in England revealed that children who regularly see their parents drink are twice as likely to binge on alcohol themselves.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation report found that one in four 13 to 14-year-olds had been drunk more than once, compared to just over half of children (52%) aged 15 to 16.

Those who said they had seen their parents inebriated were twice as likely to have been drunk several times.

But is regularly seeing your parents drink, the same as having a quick drink to cope with the drama of sports day? Mum-of-two Lisa* doesn’t think so.

“Sports day is dull as hell,” she says. “It’s not that exciting watching children throw beanbags in turn. An if your child isn’t particularly sporty the whole thing is painful as well as boring.”

“Though I’d never get drunk, a small Buck’s Fizz helps you get through it. You can pass it off as orange juice, which means you avoid the judgement of teachers and other parents and it also means the kids won’t actually see you boozing.”

Do you think parents should drink alcohol at sports day? Let us know what you think @YahooStyleUK.

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