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Queen under fire for giving kids wine

Rebecca Martin · 17 Oct 2011, 16:39

Published: 17 Oct 2011 16:39 GMT+02:00

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The Queen said in an interview in daily Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) that she is worried about Swedish teenagers' drug habits and has done her best to teach her own kids a healthy attitude toward drinking.

”Of course you get called old fashioned. I think all parents recognise that situation,” said Queen Silvia to SvD.

The Queen spoke out about raising children in today's harsh world, saying that there are many pitfalls and that she found it important to get to know the parents of her children's friends.

”If we knew each other we could share the same principle rules and guide the kids the same way. Otherwise it is common that the kids say 'But he's allowed and she's allowed...', she said.

The Queen went on to remember how the topic of drinking was brought up during the planning of a particular party for the teenage kids at the Drottningholm palace.

After calling the other parents for their input, the Royal parents decided to serve one glass of wine, followed by soft drinks.

”Some thought 'Well, they're confirmed so of course they're allowed some wine'. Others said 'No, we really don't think that's a good idea' and others said 'Perhaps one glass', said the Queen to SvD.

”So that's what we did,” said the Queen.

Story continues below…

However, the Queen's admission has sparked criticism from Sweden's temperance movement IOGT-NTO.

”It might seem harmless to let teenagers have a glass of wine. And it probably is, during that precise moment. The risky part is the gesture that says it is OK for teenagers to drink alcohol,” wrote Anna Carlstedt, chairwoman for the organisation, in an opinion piece in SvD.

Rebecca Martin (rebecca.martin@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:21 October 17, 2011 by missjane30
I see nothing wrong with this...my parents allowed me to have wine with dinner when I was a teen, and I think it helped my relationship with alcohol. Because I was allowed to have it I wasn't trying to "score" it, and wasn't binge drinking like so many teenagers do.
17:25 October 17, 2011 by David S
I used to work in alcohol and other drugs research, and the research is clear on this - Sylvia is absolutely doing the right thing, assuming all the adults aren't getting blind rotten drunk. Teenagers who learn to use alcohol in a controlled family situation are far less likely to abuse it outside of that situation.
17:29 October 17, 2011 by JulieLou40
I too don't see what the fuss is about.
17:38 October 17, 2011 by Gabin
Vive la Reine et le Bourgogne,.,
18:08 October 17, 2011 by spy
The Swedes have a weird view of alcohol, many think that drinking during the week makes you an alcoholic whereas getting fall-over drunk at weekends is quite normal. I think it is fine to expose older children to limited amounts of alcohol and I think Sweden should sell booze everywhere in order to demystify the entire experience.
18:24 October 17, 2011 by Opinionfool
Haven't the French done this for centuries? Introducing their children to wine at the dinner table in moderation mostly. Why shouldn't the Swedish royals, who were after all French, have taught their children how to be responsible over drink.

We don't hear too many stories of drunken Frenchies falling down in the gutter. Whereas we do hear many stories of drunken Swedes ... good grief even their elk do it and get caught on camera in trees blind drunk.
18:26 October 17, 2011 by Douglas Garner
My parents would give it to us kids on Christmas and New Years Eve... this is when we were between 2 and 14 and in hopes that we would fall asleep!
19:01 October 17, 2011 by Svensksmith
As long as she didn't give them surströmming.
21:51 October 17, 2011 by dizzymoe33
My mother is from Germany and for special occasions my brother and I were allowed what we call Wine spritzers for these dinners. Only one that was enough just a little bit of wine with some 7UP in it. Because of this I was slowly introduced to alcohol and when I became a teenager I wasn't out there getting stupid drunk like most of my friends. I learned the responsibility of using alcohol at a earlier age which helped me make better decisions about how much or not at all I wanted to drink. I see nothing wrong with this.
22:06 October 17, 2011 by P.Sturm
My family is of Norwegian and German descent and a small glass of wine for kids over 5 on special occasions and holidays was a tradition on both sides of the family (toast the newly-weds, etc.).
22:53 October 17, 2011 by glamelixir
Pffff, well, I guess she was just iniciating her kids in the local traditions. Her duty as a queen.

For all of you that justify giving alcohol to children as a way for them "not to abuse alcohol in the future", all the logic behind this is crap. Alcohol abuse is related to inhereted and cultural issues.

As a counterexample, my parents never gave me alcohol, moreover, they didn't drink themlseves. I am 37 years old and I do not drink alcohol, and don't see any kind of neeed to do so. Even back in my "teenage rebelious years".

By saying that it's ok that kids drink a bit of alcohol under their parent's approval is to somehow admit that drinking alcohol is a universal behavior that every adult had, and it is not so. Why is it necessary to drink alcohol for a toat in a celebration? It is somehow ridiculous that society can claim such generalization so easy.

We could also introduce kids to smoking at home, as they probably will try it on their own later....NOT.
01:32 October 18, 2011 by Grokh
well if media criticizes her then they should severely criticize all of sweden, because damm people drink way too much here.

and i lived in madeira island, we drank alot there but personally id get totally wasted once a month or even longer periods, in between i wouldnt touch alcohol, I do believe that here people not only get hammered but also have alcohol in a daily basis and that makes the organism way more used to it which then develops alcoholism. and i think thats one of the problems in sweden, they drink alcohol as if its soda, hell even soda is deadly if you drink it everyday for years without countering with exercise to burn the empty calories .

my parents never forbid me to drink when i was younger but i wouldnt touch alcohol even if offered. if you raise a kid well to the point where he is well informed and aware of things thats halfway to prevention , kid will someday try some stuff and eventually will see no big deal out of it.

honestly i find the whole idea of alcohol stupid, its way more exiciting doing things sober, if youre drunk u do things you wouldnt when sober, imagine the rush of doing them sober ;D lol
02:16 October 18, 2011 by bira
Ridiculous, if I wanted to let my children have a glass of wine during festive occasions it should be my business, I don't see why the government has to meddle in everything!
11:07 October 18, 2011 by EtoileBrilliant
That's because the Queen comes from a nation of sensible drinkers.

Swede's get so self righteous about even the smallest quantity of drink in the bloodstream when driving yet completely ignore the use of mobile phones.
11:12 October 18, 2011 by robban70226
Nothing wrong with that, Maybe somebody can teach them that normally people have a drink sociably, not the Swedish way of drinking until they make fools of themselves and pretend that nothing happens next day, Teenagers here are already loaded with home-brew during the weekends, hypocrites and naives those who criticize a glass of wine
11:23 October 18, 2011 by Dr. Dillner

I agree, it should be your business, but this is Sweden where it is very common for the State to know better than you and take over parts of your life; socialistic nanny-state.
13:41 October 18, 2011 by anonymous4
I feel the Queen has acted correctly! She has shown that alcoholic beverages exist and how to use them in moderation at an early age. Also, she has shown that alcoholic beverages are for special occasions and not to be a sloppy drunk. A picture is worth a thousand words. Looking at photos of her and her children shows health, not body abuse by alcohol.
13:47 October 18, 2011 by Miss Kitten
Someone already mentioned that children in France are given watered vin ordinaire at dinner. No big deal. And yes, I realize this is Sweden, where alcohol is heavily demonized and sold very grudgingly.

Whenever one asks why Systembolaget is still needed one gets a history lecture about how the people of Sweden at one time were drinking themselves into poverty and death and that, therefore, we need the government to control the sale of alcohol.


As a result, there exists an alcohol-related paranoia (hysteria, more like) where even the mere mention of breaking up the alcohol monopoly or even extending its opening hours causes people to panic and immediately produce statistics showing how many more deaths from drunken driving and alcohol poisoning would result from such changes.

Sorry, I know all this has been said before. I'll get my soapbox now. But seriously, there's no harm at all with letting the kids have a little bit watered wine now and then.
14:44 October 18, 2011 by cogito
Suddenly I like Sylvia.

@Miss Kitten. No sorry necessary. Say it loud and often, until they get it.
16:04 October 18, 2011 by Kaethar
Why the hell are people making this about Sweden? This is a temperance organization protesting. The next headline may as well be "Famous celebrity under fire for considering abortion" because the anti-abortionists are protesting it. :/
17:25 October 18, 2011 by amgraca
Queen Sylvia was brought up with a totally different culture from Sweden. She comes from a country drunk with sunshine, smiles, good food, good drink, all in the most appropriate measure. This is what Brasil is all about. In a hundred children in Brasil 99 are happy and maybe one is unhappy, though poor they might be. What about Sweden? I nerver met in there one single child who claimed to be very happy. Hapiness in Sweden seems to be at the level of a bad word. Queen Sylvia is very right in letting children, supervised and in small amounts, to drink a little bit of wine.Like with water, the problem is the limit.And there are people who drown, because they have drunk too much water, right? You can only discern what is your limit if you are used to drink wine. Not in any other way. And please believe me: repression in this feature does NOT work at all !

Antonio M Graca

18:29 October 18, 2011 by jvtx3232
My parents let me have been on New Years Eve when I was like 13 or 14. Big deal.
14:15 October 19, 2011 by Scansson
If these 'children' are under the drinking age to consume alcohol, then who ever is supplying the liquor, an adult in this case should be arrested.

Or is this a clear case of "Do as we say, Not as we do"?

I anything the 'Royal Famlily' is obligated to set the example for crying out loud.

Geesch : )
14:24 October 19, 2011 by jvtx3232
Whoops, I meant "beer" not "been" lol.

(Post #22 above.)
14:34 October 19, 2011 by soultraveler3
As long as the parents aren't getting sh#t-faced, there's nothing wrong with them giving their children a little bit of wine at home on special occasions.

I agree with the others who have said that this teaches children moderation and how to drink responsibly. It also takes the mystique and often, much of the desire away.

If this was a more common practice and if alcohol wasn't so restricted here, there'd probably be a huge drop in problems with alcohol in Sweden.

The drinking culture here is seriously screwed up. Many say or act like it's horrible to give children a little bit on special occasions or to have a drink after work with friends. Many of those same people think and act like it's perfectly okay and normal to binge drink every weekend, get so drunk that you fight, screw multiple people, make an arse out of yourself and don't remember anything the next day. How does that work??
16:39 October 19, 2011 by nmian
my mom always let us have a glass of beer or wine when we were 16-18 on a special event so what is the big deal & fuss.
21:50 October 19, 2011 by jvtx3232
Last night on the Wedding Show for Gene Simmons Family Jewels, Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed finally got married. Well, their teenaged kids were shown right on T.V. having alcohol at the reception! Big deal, they are underaged too.
23:12 October 19, 2011 by dizzymoe33
100 years ago it was normal for our great grandparents to be drinking by age 9-10 especially for the boys. The bottom line is people are going to do what they want to no matter what, so give your kids all the information you can and try to show them that if you are going to drink than be responsible.
00:29 October 20, 2011 by hughknows
Who cares what a 'Temperance Society' thinks??? It seems like The Local, and so I guess other Swedish media is always publishing stories about this group. Why should they have any media presence? A tee-totalling collective of course is going to criticize the least bit of alcohol consumption - no surprise there. What's actually abnormal is enforcing notions of complete sobriety on the public, ideas which are not held by the majority. What the Swedish Queen did is probably one the few practices she has engaged in that makes her family sort of 'normal'. Well done the Queen.
03:23 October 20, 2011 by jvtx3232
Really this is all about more boring "Royal Bashing." Dig up any little thing to cast aspersions on the Royals. Yawn!
03:34 October 20, 2011 by Bushyblondehead
German [[]]
12:13 October 20, 2011 by BrittInSweden
The legal drinking age in the UK is 5. It is common in France to have wine with meals even the kids.

It is down to the parents how they want to handle it.

This is not the end of the world that the Queen gave the kids a bit of wine.
16:33 October 21, 2011 by sureiam
What is the fuss............... "Swedes" controlling freaks!
09:36 October 22, 2011 by Observant
To complain about the actions of HM Queen Silvia this idiotic temperance movement, IOGT-NTO, should get the Government to change Sweden's drink-driving laws to a 0.0 level instead of its current 0.2 level.

THEN and only then would Sweden have "some" creditability in its drink-driving laws but as usual here in Sweden the Swedes have double standards in EVERYTHING.

The Queen was totally correct in allowing wine to be served in ANY measure she sees suitable.
15:51 October 23, 2011 by Larry Thrash
The anti-royals are at it again.
18:14 October 26, 2011 by BritVik
Only those who are 'holier than thou' come up with such idiotic criticism.

As seen from the comments here, there ARE people with more sense.
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