How Often Do You Let Your Adolescents Drink Coffee?

By Tina Hudgins

Before I begin the argument on the subject principally discussing whether children should be allowed to imbibe coffee (and hence caffeine) it is necessary that I take a moment to point out that I'm not a physician, or a mental or health professional and offer only my input from the point of view of my experience and perceptions about the world and human behavior. Every person is entitled to their opinion, but I think a substantial portion of what is placed on the internet runs a risk of being thought to be fact when it should be treated as opinion.

Now that we've covered the mandatory liability section... I do not believe caffeine, coffee, or caffeine containing substances should be given to children, however, there may be an exception that I'll get to later. Coffee is a drug. It's one of the most culturally endorsed drugs in the world, but a drug nonetheless. I am of the opinion that allowing little boys and girls to depend on a substance may instill in them a subsequent pattern of behaviors that may create a path into substance problems.

I have the conviction that if most adults looked at their caffeine use realistically, and read the science that are floating around out there they would be alarmed to find out a few things. Chiefly among these would be the fact that after just a couple of weeks of habitual drinking caffeine no longer gives a surge of energy, but instead only restores your energy state back to what they would be if you weren't experiencing withdrawal.

This is also true of most drugs that induce any kind of subsequent crash, but I choose to emphasize it in regards to coffee because it's so often overlooked as even being a drug. Most men and women believe that the caffeine from coffee is different due to instinctual group-think, when in reality is remarkably similar (fundamentally) to other stimulants. The main difference is that coffee, for example, may have some health benefits. It supposedly reduces the chance of stroke in females, for example. In fact, a drug called caffeinol which is a cocktail of ethanol and caffeine has shown scientific merit for even reducing the damage from stroke.

The caveat in regards to children drinking gourmet coffee is that it is most likely a superior choice when compared to something as harsh as Ritalin. Both of these drugs are very strong as stimulants and since the effects of caffeine are quite similar in nature, but simply more understated it could be a safer substitute.

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