BackTalk:Caffeinated Kids

9 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

Do you let your children drink coffee? What about caffeinated soda? What about those energy drinks, like Red Bull?

On this weeks show we explore this topic.

I say in the piece that when I was growing up I drank coffee all the time. My step-father's family was Italian and it was just customary for everyone, including the children, to have a cup of coffee after dinner. For the children it was mostly milk with a little coffee added, and a lot sugar. It was also served in these small jelly jar glasses. As the years went on gradually the coffee became less milk and more coffee. Even now all of these years later drinking coffee out of a glass mug makes me nostalgic.

The same family also served wine during dinner to all the kids. So, you know, take that for what it is worth.

I allow my teenagers to drink coffee in the morning. My one child with ADHD it helps to settle down and focus while we wait for his medication to kick in. My other son just likes to grab a cup of coffee and sprawl on the sofa with it until he is fully awake.

The younger children don't regularly drink coffee, though I will allow them to have sips here and there and when they have to be up exceptionally early for something I'll give them a small cup. For my younger children I treat coffee the same way I treat soda. It is okay now and then. Anyone who knows me in real life will tell you that I am not one of those parents who is afraid to tell my children, "No." I am allowed to have either because I am an adult and one of the benefits that you get as an adult is the ability to make choices about things that are not afforded to you when you are a child. Otherwise what would be the fun of being a grown-up, right?

Having said that, I rarely drink soda and usually only have one cup of coffee in the morning.

When my children say that when they grow up they are going to do anyything they want I laugh because I remember thinking that adulthood would be a free for all. Apparently my children are going to drink soda, pausing only to throw candy into their mouths while riding mortorcycles without helmets.

More links about caffeine and children.

Thoughts While Running

Who knew Red Bull was so dangerous? Yikes. Personally, I hate seeing kids drinking these. Even more so than I hate seeing kids drink diet soda.

Hannah Keely

Every now and then, I will let my tweens and teens enjoy a cup of coffee. Like their mom, they LOVE the stuff! The rule is they can't have more than three cups in a week, so there is no danger of developing an addiction (and no matter how you want to put it, needing caffeine is an addiction).

Mommy With An Attitude faces criticism for giving her kid coffee.

Who wouldn’t let their kids have a Starbucks sample? Secret Agent Josephine pays the price:

The thing about Starbucks yesterday, was that they were giving out little itty bitty samples of java chip ice cream. The containers were so small and cute I couldn’t resist letting my nieces devour one between them. The problem with that was they also packed a punch of caffeine and we payed and payed and payed for that mistake the rest of the day. Kids plus caffeine equals not a good idea.


My son has been drinking coffee since he was a toddler. When he turned 3, we finally made him have his own cup. I most enjoy giving him a double-dose and then dropping him off at preschool.

Shortly after my son turned 4 we went to Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans and my son ordered a cup of the chicory coffee. Perhaps it was the elegant Frenchman who served the coffee from a silver pot, but my son just couldn’t get enough of the stuff. We had to cut him off after five cups.

Day By Glorious Day

This week, I did not brew coffee for my 5 year old. Twice.

He does not beg for coffee, then like to add creamer to it and drink it out of a mug, just like his coffee-addicted parents.

Please do not judge me if you see my 5 year old walking around sipping coffee out of a travel mug. It's decaf, okay?

Type A Mom

Another interesting BlogHer article on studies that show energy drinks make teens engage in risky behaviors.

Megan's Munchies

Asks the question:

Is there an age at which you think kids should be allowed to order the regular coffee drinks? If you have children, do you let them have any coffee? I am very curious to hear what everyone has to say.

Over 40 commenters weigh in on this question.

Hope you've enjoyed BlogHer Backtalk! The video production crew is taking the summer off. Let us know what you think BlogHer should try next!

More from parenting

by Erika Janes | in 4 hours
by Amelia Edelman | 20 hours ago
by Jennifer Mattern | 3 days ago
by Katie Smith | 4 days ago
by Sa'iyda Shabazz | 6 days ago
by Lindsey Hunter Lopez | 7 days ago
by Caitlin Flynn | 7 days ago
by Kelly deVos | 9 days ago
by Ronnie Koenig | 10 days ago