The other day I was talking with my brother in law, and the issue about whether to give our children soda was a good idea or not.

He suggested that I should switch it for something else the first time he tastes it (wine, or something that would taste awful to him) so he associates that taste with it, and doesn't want it anymore.

Do you think it's a good idea to do this?

asked 20 Nov '09, 00:13

JJJ's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%

edited 20 Nov '09, 06:06

Sabrina's gravatar image



I changed "coke" to "soda" for better generlization. :)

(20 Nov '09, 06:08) Sabrina

+1 Excellent question.

(20 Nov '09, 06:15) Emi

I wish I could accept more than one answer :)

(20 Nov '09, 14:08) JJJ

You mention wine specifically - the US doesn't have guidelines on alcohol consumption for children, so if you want health advice regarding alcohol and children you might try an EU health system, such as the UK's Dept. of health, as it's legal there for children to drink alcohol under certain conditions. They mention a guide specifically for this in the article, http://www2.newsbbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7805793.stm - but I haven't yet found the guide mentioned. At any rate, be aware of the law and risks when giving a child alcohol.

(20 Nov '09, 20:48) Adam Davis

It would be just a taste though

(29 Nov '09, 22:20) JJJ

No, I really wouldn't recommend doing that because someone else ( other family members) at some stage, may make it available to him without you knowing or realising and that would be confusing.

We decided with my husband that we wouldn't drink Coke Cola anymore after our daughter was born. But then at around the age of three, whilst she was staying overnight with my motherinlaw we learnt that she had been given Coke Cola to drink.

We were furious, because, diluted or not it had undermined us. She liked the taste, and asked for it at dinner times, so instead of trying to convince her otherwise we drank Coke Cola for a very short time, (diluting hers with water) and gradually we stopped drinking it altogether.

Now that she is 5, we can comfortably explain our point of view to her, and she trusts what we say. If we are drinking wine and she asks what it is, we explain it, if she asks to taste it, we let her. We don't drink Coke Cola because we choose not to.

In my opinion the biggest hurdle is going from 0-4 years and not being undermined by "well meaning others", about choices you and your partner have made regarding your child.


answered 20 Nov '09, 07:04

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

It's an interesting idea but I don't think I'd feel comfortable doing it with my child. Maybe it depends on how you feel about the Little White Lies question.

BTW, I was never allowed to drink caffeinated beverages growing up and now the only one I actually like is Chai. I think all the cola drinks taste disgusting.


answered 20 Nov '09, 00:42

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Kiesa ♦
accept rate: 26%

I wouldn't do that to my kids. To me it's lying for a very poor reason. If my daughter asked for a soft drink and I don't think she should have it, I offer her milk, kool-aid or juice.


answered 20 Nov '09, 01:15

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%


Aside: if the main objection to soda is the empty calories, kool-aid or juice is not necessarily a much better alternative, from a nutritional standpoint.

(20 Nov '09, 02:09) lgritz

It is partly because my children do not need the caffiene in a Coke - I'm a little more lenient with Sprite. But also, I am addicted to cokes because my parents made it too available to me at too young an age. I'm working to get over it, but I don't want my children to develop the same addiction.

(20 Nov '09, 03:53) mkcoehoorn

There are good reasons to avoid soda even aside from the caffeine -- they are a HUGE source of extra (and empty) calories that nobody needs, especially kids. And the diet sodas are possibly just as bad, but for other reasons (the artificial sweeteners each have good reasons to doubt that they're good for you).

You don't say how old the children are. If they are below a certain age (basically when they would find it on their own or at friends), then you control every last thing they eat and drink -- you don't need to lie or to make it taste bad, just don't give it to them! If they are above that age, then lying is even worse, because they'll catch on pretty fast when they try it elsewhere.

My 3-year-old understands that sodas are "adult drinks" just like wine/beer/alcohol/coffee, and that was enough of an explanation for him, he didn't need to taste it to know it wasn't something he's allowed to have, and he doesn't pester us about it. We just don't keep it in the house, and if he sees me have an occasional soda when out, the usual explanation seems to suffice. I wouldn't necessarily hesitate to let him taste a sip, if he really really wanted to see what it was like, but I sure wouldn't let him have one to drink!


answered 20 Nov '09, 02:08

lgritz's gravatar image

accept rate: 14%


What you are really railing against is immoderation. We allow our children to drink soda (6, 6, 4, 1) but they are allowed one sip a day and half a cup of Sprite on special occasions. Are they going to balloon up because of that sip or turn into caffeine fiends? No, and what's more they're learning a valuable lesson about being moderate.

(20 Nov '09, 19:11) bbrown

Yes, definitely -- a sip here and there won't hurt, it's the immoderation that is the problem, as you said.

Though there is a subtlety -- I'm trying to take advantage of the few years I control everything he eats (which, at 3, is ending soon, and surely will be long gone by the time he is 6) to shape his tastes toward healthy foods. I'm not worried about ballooning up NOW from an occasional soda, but I am trying avoid his developing a "palette" that makes him crave them later.

(20 Nov '09, 19:36) lgritz

@Igritz, I feel the same way. Since I now control the food that my daughter eats, I also want to teach healthy eating and shape tastes. I am trying to avoid all "junk" food as much as possible as I feel, why introduce her to things when she does not yet know the difference. It's already getting more difficult but I am determined to keep trying.

(22 Nov '09, 02:26) Tammy ♦♦

We rarely have soda in the house so it isn't really a problem for us. However we do drink coffee, wine, other "adult" drinks. I just would say that it is an adult drink for when she is older.


answered 20 Nov '09, 14:28

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accept rate: 3%

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Asked: 20 Nov '09, 00:13

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Last updated: 20 Nov '09, 14:28