Children and drinking age

Morocco is one of the big producers of red wine. But by law Moroccans aren’t allowed to drink it. Anyone caught drunk in the street will be prosecuted. Strangely enough, there are pubs in all cities, groceries and supermarkets where all sorts of alcoholic drinks, from beers to whiskies are sold. Still there is another kinds of drink (eau de vie) brewed privately and sold to those who can’t afford the price of whisky. This kind of privately brewed drink can be a health risk as it is made clandestinely in unhygienic places.

There are few Moroccan families that have alcohol available at home where children can see adults drink like drinking a glass of water. Up to now, there aren’t yet widespread risks of children tasting alcohols. But in disadvantaged areas, there are very young children (mainly) who are addicted to glue sniffing.

Coming to children experiencing alcohol with or without their tutors’ consent, tutors, especially parents should set the example to them by not bringing alcohol in large quantity and displaying it all the time in the kitchen or the living room. Adults shouldn’t drink in front of the children. When the atmosphere gets “merry”, the children become curious to taste that drink.

Parents should learn to be closer to their children. It’s not enough to provide them with the daily necessities, education and a governess that can make sure all is well. Parents should learn to have moral authority over their children through persuasion and by setting them a good example.

Another point, today’s children are exposed to many facets of life through the media and the outside now growing more and more complex. Such an exposure is good for them as it will help them to cope with life later. However they need guidance from their parents and teachers on how to avoid falling in great risks with dire consequences. As for drinks, they should know that their body isn’t fully developed to absorb alcohols without effects on their organs. A drunken child becomes irresponsible, careless about his/her studies. They can indulge in behaviours that can get them in trouble with the law. There are cases of children who killed their peers under the influence of drink or drugs. Parents should introduce children to the literature dealing with the negative aspects of drinking at all ages. If possible, they should take them to centres where alcoholics are receiving treatments and the patients should be willing to share their experiences with them as a way to deter them from attempting to touch any sort of drinks. Children should be trained on what is the best for them to eat and drink to keep healthy. They should have activities through which they can spend their energy. It’s actually boredom, curiosity and the desire for adventure that make them fall in this temptation that can end into pathological addiction.

As the law prohibits selling alcohol to minors, this means children get hold of it through adults who buy it. They get hold of it at home or from an adult. As it is dangerous, it should be kept under lock and key. Putting bottles in the fridge from which children lay hand on food will be a temptation to open a bottle and taste it. There is also the desire of children to imitate adults and to brag among themselves about being defiant and risk taker.

And finally, there is still the issue of children experiencing drugs or teenage pregnancies. That’s another subject.

Listen to BBC WHYS show on this subject.

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1 Comment

  1. Anonymous said,

    November 18, 2007 at 7:53 am

    There are two issues being discussed here.

    As a resident of Marrakesh for sixteen years, I see far more Moroccans buying wine, beer, and whiskey, and in larger quantities than I ever see Westerners buying. Furthermore, many Moroccans are drinking inside bars (except in n
    The second issue is that there is no alcohol education in Morocco, neither from parents to their children, nor in school. While the society frowns on it, those who do choose to drink do so by drinking up to ten beers in an hour, or consuming an entire bottle of wine as fast as possible in order to get drunk. Just about everyone driving a car after midnight is extremely inebriated, contributing to a high number of traffic accidents and deaths. Part of the reason there is no education is that people see education of youth as “giving permission.” The type of education of youth as you suggest here would probably be a happy medium, as few parents are mentioning it at all to their children. The teenagers and young adults are getting their opinions from friends. I commend you for attempting to tackle this issue and bring attention to it on the part of parents.

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