Should Kids Drink Coffee?? Let’s Find Out!

Do you remember the first time you learned about coffee?  No seriously….as a kid I was aware of soda’s, etc. but not coffee until late High School.  And I did not drink coffee until maybe late in college and that was only for staying up to study.  The reason I bring this up is my 12 years old is drinking coffee….be it at Mom’s house but she has started.  Is that crazy or not?

In High School, I remember being in the Midwest sweltering summer heat and my Step-Dad would come in from mowing the yard to drink a hot cup of coffee!  We use to make fun of him, “how can you drink hot coffee after sweating it out mowing the yard?”  For years we would laugh at him for this ritual.  After college, the “coffeehouse” craze started in the mid-’90s.  It was cool to head to a coffeehouse to sit, drink, and read the paper (yes, newspaper) or book.  Then Starbucks came along and the rest is history.  You cannot turn a corner without running into a coffee shop somewhere close.

As a long-distance runner, I laugh at myself now because I can clip off a 10-mile run and the first thing I want when finished is a hot cup of coffee!  I have no idea how or why I got to this point but basically I have become my Step-Dad.  I sometimes actually dream of waking up to a quiet house to have my first cup of coffee.  It has become a part of my life and I have to have at minimum 2 cups OR 1 large coffee and it HAS to be before 10am, no later.

Now when it comes to my 12-year-old, is there an age limit to start drinking coffee?  It feels so adult sometimes that I think coffee should have a law like cigarettes or joining the military at 18 years old.  Does it matter if they drink it young?  These seem like easy enough questions, but honestly, I kept saying to her “you are too young”, and she kept looking at me like I was an idiot.

So the research begins…and man is there a lot to read when you google “Is my kid too young to drink coffee?”  Well, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids aged 12 to 18 consume no more than 100 mg of caffeine per day, which is about the amount in a single 8 oz. cup of brewed coffee.   So really it’s a caffeine thing which makes total sense because to much caffeine can make, at least my child, bounce off the walls.  But there is also another factor when kids drink coffee and that is the sugar intake.  My child is not ordering an 8oz black coffee.  Nooooo, she is ordering something from Starbucks that looks like Dairy Queen should be serving it up!  Mocha whip, double whatever with a shot of get-it-done and triple whip cream topped off.  Much like soda’s, there can be a ton of sugar in what these kids eat and drink and coffee just adds to the variety available.
Fortunately, my girl does not like soda and drinks a ton of water.  But she does like her coffee from Starbucks every once in a while.  So after much reading, I am going to save you time and energy of googling this stuff up.  (I am being sarcastic if you cannot tell)  Basically, as with everything else in a child’s life, it comes down to moderation.  If your kid is sucking down coffee’s, or soda’s or whatever constantly, you might want to take control.  If coffee is a treat enjoyed once in a while, well then I think we are all going to survive until the next crisis like “I want a tattoo or god knows what else!

This has been Divorced Dad Does,


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