“Mary had a little lamb, it went out for some grub. It forgot it had a daughter and it left her in the pub.”
That was one of the slew of insults hurled on twitter at British Prime Minister David Cameron today after news broke that Cameron and his wife had accidentally left their 8-year-old daughter in a pub after a lunch.
The mini “Home Alone” story, first reported by The Sun
tabloid, has not only triggered personal jabs. It’s also inspired a debate in Britain about how much drinking and parenting should mix.
There’s been no official confirmation that either parent had been drinking that afternoon a few months back when the Cameron family lunched with friends and inadvertently left the girl behind as they packed up and drove home in two separate cars.
But, since journalists have previously reported that Cameron enjoys wine with his Sunday lunch and since it’s more of a tradition there to linger over plentiful lunches, many have assumed fuzzy thinking had something to do with it.
The incident’s embarrassment is heightened by the fact that the government had recently approved a program of parenting skills classes for young parents. Cameron has also recently been criticized for imposing a “nanny state” for, among other initiatives, creating a service for parents to receive regular text messages offering parenting advice.
But what might the nanny say about drinking while parenting?
The question over parenting and alcohol tends to emerge in the United State in the later hours, when family get-togethers and barbecues involve beer and wine.
It’s most troubling when driving (without security detail at the wheel) is involved..
Late last year, the Traffic Injury Research Foundation released a report showing that drunk-driving arrests of women had increased 36 percent from the previous decade. Analysts pointed out that the average female drunk-driver is older and better educated than the average male drunk-driver suggesting that mothers — and the “wet” playdate — may be a part of the trend.
When driving isn’t involved, the line between “relaxed” parenting and “drunk” parenting is more vague.
Does good parenting, along the lines that a skills class might teach, involve abstaining from alcohol during family events? Does the age of the child or the situation make a difference?
When drinking socially around children, how do you decide how much is too much?