Author Topic: can a host restrict certain guests from food/drinks?  (Read 8216 times)

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Yvaine

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Re: can a host restrict certain guests from food/drinks?
« Reply #30 on: July 19, 2013, 11:56:50 AM »
Kherbert, your neighbor reminds me of a roommate I had. She didn't want to drink alcohol or be involved in any way. I thought this was completely reasonable, so I always drank at someone else's place and didn't come back to the room until I had sobered up. I would always enter the dorm quietly without turning the lights on so that it wouldn't be a problem for her. She never woke up once.

Despite this, she still had a problem with me drinking, and seemed to think that I was an alcoholic. This made no sense, as I really didn't drink all that much. Most of the time, I would hang out with my friends, have a couple of drinks, and not be drunk at all. She had a very black and white view of the whole thing, and her in mind, anyone who drank even once a week was an alcoholic.

She was also pretty sheltered about alcohol and clearly uneducated about how it worked. She did not understand that there were levels of intoxication, and that you could be a bit tipsy and giggling without being completely smashed and passing out. One night, I crept back into our room after a party. As usual, she didn't wake up. The next morning, she tried to trick me into thinking that I had a problem, saying that I had busted into the room yelling at the top of my lungs, waking her up. Obviously, this didn't happen. She kept insisting that it did happen, saying that since I had been drinking the night before, there was no way I could have remembered what had really happened. Since I knew that I hadn't done anything wrong, I continued to ignore her objections. We didn't last much longer as roommates.

Some people have very strange ideas about alcohol!

I have a friend who can't drink very much at all - as in one drink makes her tipsy - but she can't wrap her head around the idea that others can drink more than her and not have the same results.  So if anyone has more than one drink she'll start making comments about how they are really going all out or partying a lot, for example to another friend who had a glass of wine at dinner and then ordered a beer later on in the evening.  There was no convincing her that they weren't drunk.

I have one of these too. One drink and she's drunk, two drinks and she's asleep. Anytime she sees anyone have more than 2 drinks in any setting, she thinks they need an intervention.

lakey

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Re: can a host restrict certain guests from food/drinks?
« Reply #31 on: July 19, 2013, 12:07:53 PM »
As a retired teacher, this incident bothers me for reasons other than etiquette. It is normal for kids to want to do things that they are not supposed to do. It is the job of the adults in their lives to teach them to follow rules, laws, and standards of conduct. By telling twenty something cousins that they can't drink because there are teen-agers present is promoting the idea that the teens can't be expected to make the right decision when there is temptation.

There is always going to be temptation to break rules, laws, and standards of conduct and they need to learn to deal with it. This get together was an opportunity for them to learn to follow the law. And kids are intelligent enough to understand the difference between under-age drinking and legal adult drinking.

RingTailedLemur

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Re: can a host restrict certain guests from food/drinks?
« Reply #32 on: July 19, 2013, 12:21:19 PM »
The discussion about legal and under age drinking raises an interesting point for me.

Here, it is legal for anyone over the age of 5 (yes, five!) to drink alcohol at home or in a private residence.  What do you do then?  Can you have a house rule of a higher age cutoff?

Knitterly

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Re: can a host restrict certain guests from food/drinks?
« Reply #33 on: July 19, 2013, 12:41:21 PM »
The discussion about legal and under age drinking raises an interesting point for me.

Here, it is legal for anyone over the age of 5 (yes, five!) to drink alcohol at home or in a private residence.  What do you do then?  Can you have a house rule of a higher age cutoff?

I think it is up to the parents in that case, and not the host.  It is the host's job to abide by the local laws governing alcohol consumption, not to parent the children of their guests.

So if the local laws permit younger children to sip their parent's beer, then it is not up to the hostess to say they may not do so.  If the host or hostess does not want to allow this, then their option is not to provide alcohol at all.

If a family from the US visits a country with different alcohol laws than their own, they may abide by the local laws without being rude or doing anything wrong.  It is entirely on the parents to make the appropriate parenting decisions regarding alcohol consumption within the context of the local laws.

Edited to add:  The host/hostess may have a family rule about alcohol, but I don't think that should necessarily extend to the chidlren of their guests anymore than a bedtime decision would.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2013, 12:43:25 PM by Knitterly »

EllenS

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Re: can a host restrict certain guests from food/drinks?
« Reply #34 on: July 19, 2013, 02:48:33 PM »
The discussion about legal and under age drinking raises an interesting point for me.

Here, it is legal for anyone over the age of 5 (yes, five!) to drink alcohol at home or in a private residence.  What do you do then?  Can you have a house rule of a higher age cutoff?

I would serve the parents and if they want to let their 5-6 year old sip, or water down a glass of wine, that's their business. However, if the parents were giving a small child full servings of alcohol, I would ask them to stop (and probably investigate whether child endangerment laws could intervene).  Even hospitality has limits.

As far as the original question, agree with pps' that it would not be rude to ask as a family favor, but definitely rude to refuse to serve some guests and not others who are all legal.

Reminds me of a party DH and I attended at his CW's home.  It was a summer cookout at a large family farm, with a pavillion in the backyard.  The whole department was invited, and port-o-potties were set up on the lawn.  All well and good, until I had to go inside to ask the hostess something, and realized that *some* guests were allowed to use the indoor toilet - but only people the hostess really liked.

Tea Drinker

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Re: can a host restrict certain guests from food/drinks?
« Reply #35 on: July 19, 2013, 04:03:17 PM »
It seems to me that if the aunt wants to set a good example for your cousins, she's the one who should abstain from drinking. If their parents want to set a good example, they can abstain.

Even if the rule they want to have is "don't drink around people who are over twelve but below legal age, because it might tempt them," that only has a chance of working if everyone obeys it. Someone who wants that as policy needs to keep their children from situations where they might be tempted; in this case, that would have meant the busybody aunt finding those cousins' parents, and letting them know "there's beer here, you folks might want to take the kids home." Such parents could, of course, host a party and put the word out that they don't want alcoholic drinks in the house.

The rule the aunt seems to want is "we get to have fun around our/those kids, but you don't."
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Danika

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Re: can a host restrict certain guests from food/drinks?
« Reply #36 on: July 19, 2013, 04:18:29 PM »
How about this situation, because it caught me off guard.

We have friends whom we have over to our house occassionally, and they reciprocate. Their family as well as ours have as many adults as children. In the past, their kids and ours have only wanted hotdogs, and the adults have wanted hot dogs as well as hamburgers. So whenever we cooked enough hamburgers to feed everyone, we've been left with a ton left over. This past weekend, DH and I decided to cook fewer burgers than we have in the past. I budgetted 10 hamburgers for 4 adults, and then had way more hotdogs because I assumed that's what the kids would eat.

When we were going to start eating, the guests' kids wanted hamburgers. It made me uncomfortable, but I was caught off guard so I said "Oh, I assumed the kids would be eating hotdogs, so I didn't make enough hamburgers. Let's let the adults take the hamburgers first and if there are enough left, the kids can have them." Our guests seemed fine with this, but I wonder if I should have just let the kids have what they wanted, since they were our guests, and had there not been enough burgers, I would have just had to eat hotdogs, even though I'd been looking forward to hamburgers.

NyaChan

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Re: can a host restrict certain guests from food/drinks?
« Reply #37 on: July 19, 2013, 04:50:02 PM »
How about this situation, because it caught me off guard.

We have friends whom we have over to our house occassionally, and they reciprocate. Their family as well as ours have as many adults as children. In the past, their kids and ours have only wanted hotdogs, and the adults have wanted hot dogs as well as hamburgers. So whenever we cooked enough hamburgers to feed everyone, we've been left with a ton left over. This past weekend, DH and I decided to cook fewer burgers than we have in the past. I budgetted 10 hamburgers for 4 adults, and then had way more hotdogs because I assumed that's what the kids would eat.

When we were going to start eating, the guests' kids wanted hamburgers. It made me uncomfortable, but I was caught off guard so I said "Oh, I assumed the kids would be eating hotdogs, so I didn't make enough hamburgers. Let's let the adults take the hamburgers first and if there are enough left, the kids can have them." Our guests seemed fine with this, but I wonder if I should have just let the kids have what they wanted, since they were our guests, and had there not been enough burgers, I would have just had to eat hotdogs, even though I'd been looking forward to hamburgers.

Personally, I would have let the guests - which includes the kids - eat what they wanted.  As the host, my desire to eat the hamburger is not as important as the guests getting what they wanted to eat.

Jocelyn

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Re: can a host restrict certain guests from food/drinks?
« Reply #38 on: July 19, 2013, 04:56:37 PM »
I have two stories that are kind of like this.

Last night, I had some friends over, and I offered liquor/alcohol as well as non-alcoholic drinks. One of my friends is pregnant. I don't know her or her doctor's stance on drinking while pregnant. When I offered the others some beer or schnapps, I wasn't sure what to do about her. I offered them to her too. I probably should have stopped there, but I didn't want her to think that I'd forgotten that she was pregnant, so I added "if you want a sip, that's fine by me" but then I wasn't sure if that was coming across as judgmental or whatnot. She declined.

I think it would be the most polite thing to offer all the beverage options at the same time, no matter how likely you thought it was that some options would not be of interest to some guests (unless the guest has made an announcement that he or she will never drink X because of health or religious reasons). A general 'Beer? Schnapps? Soft drinks- we have Coke, Diet Coke and Sprite, plus sweet tea and lemonade' should work.

Snowy Owl

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Re: can a host restrict certain guests from food/drinks?
« Reply #39 on: July 19, 2013, 04:57:11 PM »
The discussion about legal and under age drinking raises an interesting point for me.

Here, it is legal for anyone over the age of 5 (yes, five!) to drink alcohol at home or in a private residence.  What do you do then?  Can you have a house rule of a higher age cutoff?

I would serve the parents and if they want to let their 5-6 year old sip, or water down a glass of wine, that's their business. However, if the parents were giving a small child full servings of alcohol, I would ask them to stop (and probably investigate whether child endangerment laws could intervene).  Even hospitality has limits.

As far as the original question, agree with pps' that it would not be rude to ask as a family favor, but definitely rude to refuse to serve some guests and not others who are all legal.

I'd agree on both counts.  I was allowed watered wine from a fairly young age (about eleven I think) but my intake was limited.  I wouldn't stop someone giving a 5 year old a sip of wine but I would be concerned if they were being given full servings of alcohol. By the time someone reached their teen years I'd be less concerned as long as they weren't becoming too intoxicated.  Obviously I speak as a Brit living in a country with a relatively low drinking age.  If I lived somewhere like the US with a 21 age limit I might act differently, I don't know.

I think in general it's rude to ask some guests not to consume alcohol to serve as an example to others.  I think first of all that's entirely the wrong approach.  Most kids know that those who are legally allowed alcohol may consume it and those who aren't don't and it's not exactly going to encourage mass drinking I'd have thought to see those legally old enough to drink doing so. 

I also think it's rude to offer different levels of hospitality to guests.  Either you serve everyone legally able to be served or you don't. 
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Raintree

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Re: can a host restrict certain guests from food/drinks?
« Reply #40 on: July 19, 2013, 05:00:20 PM »
Actually I think this aunt (in the OP's story) is likely reinforcing the kids' curiosity about alcohol, by making a big deal of it. I grew up with no restrictions on alcohol. By that I mean, the legal drinking age was 19, so I couldn't go out and buy it, or consume it in restaurants, or any other public place, but at home if the adults were having wine and I wanted some, I was allowed a small amount, like say, half a glass of wine. I didn't even want it until I was older anyway, because I thought it tasted horrible. But nobody made a fuss if I wanted to try it. That is how most of my family and friends operate with their children now. So turning 19 was no big deal as nothing had really changed except for the ability to buy it myself. And there was no sudden, "Whooa, now I can have alcohol, whoo-hoo, I want to get hammered now."

I can understand if parents don't want underage kids to drink in their homes, but I think banning the 20-somethings from having it in case the younger crowd sees, reinforces the mystery and wonderment surrounding alcohol.

Sharnita

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Re: can a host restrict certain guests from food/drinks?
« Reply #41 on: July 19, 2013, 05:05:54 PM »
The discussion about legal and under age drinking raises an interesting point for me.

Here, it is legal for anyone over the age of 5 (yes, five!) to drink alcohol at home or in a private residence.  What do you do then?  Can you have a house rule of a higher age cutoff?

The host could opt to have no alcohol at all or she could leave it up to parents

gramma dishes

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Re: can a host restrict certain guests from food/drinks?
« Reply #42 on: July 19, 2013, 05:17:10 PM »
...   Years ago, when I was a child, all my cousins around my age were boys. I was an average weight at this time. I had a mean aunt and she was watching us all one day. She went and pulled out a bowl (as in, it wasn't just there on the table, she had to go get it) of chocolates and candy. She offered some to each of the boys. When she got to me and I reached my hand out to grab some, she maliciously pulled the bowl away and barked at me "None for you. You don't need any." So she was deliberately shaming me.    ...


I'm curious.  Was this Aunt your Mother's sister or your Dad's sister?  And did you ever mention this incident to your parents?

If I knew my sister or my husband's sister treated one of my kids this way, there is no way that Aunt would be allowed to be around my kids alone again!!  That's not even a matter of etiquette.  That's just plain meanness!!

Danika

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Re: can a host restrict certain guests from food/drinks?
« Reply #43 on: July 19, 2013, 05:47:09 PM »
...   Years ago, when I was a child, all my cousins around my age were boys. I was an average weight at this time. I had a mean aunt and she was watching us all one day. She went and pulled out a bowl (as in, it wasn't just there on the table, she had to go get it) of chocolates and candy. She offered some to each of the boys. When she got to me and I reached my hand out to grab some, she maliciously pulled the bowl away and barked at me "None for you. You don't need any." So she was deliberately shaming me.    ...


I'm curious.  Was this Aunt your Mother's sister or your Dad's sister?  And did you ever mention this incident to your parents?

If I knew my sister or my husband's sister treated one of my kids this way, there is no way that Aunt would be allowed to be around my kids alone again!!  That's not even a matter of etiquette.  That's just plain meanness!!

This was my mother's sister. And all the women in the family seem to have eating disorders. Food was a method of control in my family and not for general nourishment. I still have eating issues today.

I did tell my mother about this right afterwards, and about all the other things mean aunt did on other occasions. My mother always brushed it aside and gaslighted by saying I was making a big deal out of nothing and she's sure my aunt didn't mean it that way and that I just misunderstood. I think my mother even said something contradictory like "Aunt is generous. You're allowed to eat anything in her house that you want to. But she's right, you don't need it. You don't need to get fat. It's ok for men to be fat but not for women to be fat."

gramma dishes

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Re: can a host restrict certain guests from food/drinks?
« Reply #44 on: July 19, 2013, 06:02:51 PM »
...   Years ago, when I was a child, all my cousins around my age were boys. I was an average weight at this time. I had a mean aunt and she was watching us all one day. She went and pulled out a bowl (as in, it wasn't just there on the table, she had to go get it) of chocolates and candy. She offered some to each of the boys. When she got to me and I reached my hand out to grab some, she maliciously pulled the bowl away and barked at me "None for you. You don't need any." So she was deliberately shaming me.    ...


I'm curious.  Was this Aunt your Mother's sister or your Dad's sister?  And did you ever mention this incident to your parents?

If I knew my sister or my husband's sister treated one of my kids this way, there is no way that Aunt would be allowed to be around my kids alone again!!  That's not even a matter of etiquette.  That's just plain meanness!!

This was my mother's sister. And all the women in the family seem to have eating disorders. Food was a method of control in my family and not for general nourishment. I still have eating issues today.

I did tell my mother about this right afterwards, and about all the other things mean aunt did on other occasions. My mother always brushed it aside and gaslighted by saying I was making a big deal out of nothing and she's sure my aunt didn't mean it that way and that I just misunderstood. I think my mother even said something contradictory like "Aunt is generous. You're allowed to eat anything in her house that you want to. But she's right, you don't need it. You don't need to get fat. It's ok for men to be fat but not for women to be fat."

I'm so sorry that happened to you. 

A few years ago I met a woman who apparently actually had been a little chubby in childhood and her Kindergarten teacher suggested to her parents that she was doomed to a life of bad health and unhappiness because she was too chubby and it would only get worse.  So her "problem" needed to be nipped in the bud, right now, at the age of five.  So her parents sent her off to live in a residential facility for "fat kids" who fed them basically nothing but salad and bouillon. 

She told the story of one day being out for recess (which did not include swings, slides, or other playground equipment but consisted pretty much of 'exercises') and seeing what she believed was her parent's car parked on a nearby street.  She looked over at the fence and saw her little brother holding onto the chain links and watching her.  She went over to him and they touched fingers through the fence and then her adult supervisor came over and grabbed her away.

Eventually her parents saw that she was miserable and they missed her terribly so they, against the advice of pretty much all the "experts", took her out of that place and brought her home. 

She was still struggling with weight as a full grown adult and feels that so much energy expended on "curing" her actually made her much, much worse by making food (or the withholding of it) the 'everything' -- reward, punishment, self-consolation.  Her little brother, who had started out with the same body shape she had simply got taller and filled in the pounds.  As an adult, he was thin.

Maybe your adults back then were also hearing the advice of those same so called experts.

It was the saddest story.