Should children be allowed to drink coffee?

Inspired by this thread and the fact that I am soon going to be molding and shaping a young life, I wondered if children (and I do mean CHILDREN, being aged 16 or younger) should be allowed to drink coffee.

On the one hand, to a lot of people out there, coffee provides a much needed caffeine fix and tastes wonderful, either black or mixed with cream, sugar or what have you. There are true coffee lovers out there who simply wish to pass this love on to their children by teaching them to drink coffee at an early age, which they believe is GOOD for the children.

Then again…it seems we are raising generations of caffeine addicted children who can’t function without the highs caffeine provides them, as well as the sugar. I realize that coffee isn’t the only culprit, that it can come from sugary sodas too.

Is it really good for a child’s development both mentally and physically to drink coffee? Is there any proof that it retards brain function and/or growth?

I do not drink coffee. I do, on occasion, drink soda. But not regularly. I don’t plan to raise my kid to be a soda drinker. If they like it, fine, it’s a treat from time to time but not something we’ll keep in the household 24-7.


I was once babysitting my girlfriend’s 3-year old daughter, and made the mistake of letting her drink caffeinated cola. Never again!
I think it’d be fine for kids to drink decaf, but children don’t need any more supercharging.

Aaron gets positively hyperactive when he gets a few sips of his Gramma’s Diet Pepsi. I shudder to think of what would happen if he got caffeine in any larger quantity.

That said, caffeine is not a healthy substance for kids (or anyone, really). It’s addictive and has been linked to a host of problems, including restlessness, anxiety, and depression. (See this site for more information.)

For adults, three cups of coffee (about 250 mg of caffeine) is an acceptable dose. For children, it’s different. From the previous cite:


I sipped coffee sitting on my granfathers knee back when I was 2. Not everyday of my life, but everymorning I stayed there. No harm seemed to come from it. I drank at most a half cup then. I remember when I was 3 and older I was allowed a cup of coffee with meals at a restaurant as long as I behaved. When I was in 6th grade I started drinking one cup of coffee with breakfast. I loved the taste of coffee, with cream and sugar. I don’t think that it is that harmful for a child to have the occasional cup of coffee. As far as effects on behavior, make it clear that if it negatively affects their behavior, they won’t get it.

Decaf/coffee sure…otherwise definitely NOT. No sodas at my house either or tea. Water, some juices (Mostly cranberry & similars) sugarfree koolade, powerade/gatorade, milk, etc.)

Occasionally a coke once in awhile, okay, maybe, but not in place of healthy drinks.

and you have to eat your vegetables, do your homework, use manners and …

and in bed early as well…yeah I know I’m a (insert profanity here)
plus you gotta have good grades and well you know the rest. :wink:

Caffeine is one of the most inncous drugs there are.

It’s cheap, only lightly addicting (sure you gotta face a days worth of coffee headaches, but it’s not like heroin or anything), has no well documented bad effects in normal doses (and very few even in very high doses) but is proven to improve concentration and focus. It is a wonderful morning ritual, provides time to relax and focus, keeps you warm, and is yummy yummy yummy (to me at least).

I’d have no problems letting my kids have some as long as it didn’t send them bouncing off the walls. I don’t believe in feeding my children some “special diet” while I go around slurping sodas and downing gummi bears. Should I have kids, I’d feed them what I eat- a moderatly healthy diet where nothing is forbidden in reasonable quantities. I guess I was raised on such an unhealthy diet (and didn’t die, explode, or even develop unhealthy habits) that I see anything as an improvment. I’m not a big fan of the “porclein doll” school of child rearing.

Ummm…I’m getting off topic. Coffee is alright with me, although I wouldn’t suggest the idea to them except as an occasional morning ritual.

I started drinking coffee when I was 12. A few cups a week. Around the same time I started to calm down and mellow out (used to have a horrific temper). I’m not claiming any sort of connection between the two, just saying that it definitely didn’t have any sort of negative affect on me.

I didn’t drink soda except as a rare treat until I was about 15. Once I hit high school I was drinking about 4 cans a day, though :slight_smile:

I was allowed to have some coffee (about a half a cup at the end of family dinners) when I was 7 or 8, and I shortly decided I didn’t really care for it and switched to tea.

IF the child can drink it in moderation without problem, I don’t see a problem with it. But it’s up to the parents to set limits and teach what moderation is.

If a parent won’t let a kid drink coffee because of the caffeine but allows “super-size” sodas for the kid they’re hypocrites.


Cite, please? If it improves concentration and focus, it’s because you’re not going through withdrawal. As my link above indicates, however, in high doses, caffeine can cause depression, anxiety, tremors, nausea and vomiting, insomnia, and rapid heart rate. I myself have overdosed on caffeine twice in my life and have experienced all of these symptoms. And these were at relatively low doses of caffeine. (Once from two shots of espresso, the other from 250 mg of caffeine from No-Doz and Coke.) Moreover, there is a well-established link between caffeine and fibrocystic breast disease in women.


Sure it is. For an adult. I myself enjoy a morning cup on occasion.

It’s not just coffee, per se. It’s the caffeine. As I said, it takes so little an amount for Aaron’s behavior to change that I’d just as soon not allow him to have any at all. If that makes me a mean mommy, then so be it.


My nephew has drank black coffee daily since he was 3, and he doesn’t seem to have any problems.

Are you sure that’s not the sugar?

Considering that diet soda (which is all that Gramma or I keep in the house) has no sugar, I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet. In any event, when he does get sugar, he’s not nearly as hyperactive.


I started drinking sweet milky coffee around age 9, and went to black with no sugar when I was about 12. Never looked back. It’s never done me any harm. I siad it’s never dnoe me any harm!! Are you deaf or what?!?

I started drinking coffee several generations before I was born. Never caused me any harm that I can tell.

However, simply for behavioral issues, I don’t plan on letting my kids have any unless I can kick them outside for hours.

Oh yeah? Well I started drinking coffee when Sir Walter Raleigh first discovered it. I also invented the latte.

Should children be allowed to drink coffee? Only if they promise to brew some more.:slight_smile:

I also began drinking coffee regularly at an early age (9) and I don’t feel that it’s done me harm, in fact, I believe it helped with the migraines I suffered as a child. That said, I don’t allow my children to drink it except as a treat, perhaps once or twice a year. And at that time, they get half a cup with plenty of milk and sugar. It’s the idea of them being addicted to something I don’t like.

More anecdotal evidence:

My daughter’s seizures have reduced greatly in frequency since she has started the day with a big cup of coffee (her medication has remained the same or has been reduced during this period). My kids (14, 14, and 18) take after their mother in that they don’t like a large breakfast, with two of them and mom preferring coffee. I don’t plan on telling them that a cigarette or two rounds out that meal perfectly. (no winkie–I’m serious)

Yeah, I know they may be unrelated and she may be “growing out of” epilepsy but her grades have improved and she doesn’t zone out like she did, which I began to suspect might be related to a caffeine deficiency about a year ago. I don’t plan on telling any of my kids that amphetamines work better, either.

I drank coffee since I was 2. When I visited my grandparents, at breakfast I would sit on my grandfathers knee and sip his coffee. I remember from age 3 on being allowed a cup of coffee with my meal when we went to restaurants, but my parents cautioned me that if I had coffee and then misbehaved and would not go to bed, then no more coffee. It worked pretty well. I did not drink coffee everyday until I was 11, then one cup at breakfast.

Sure, why not…Irish Coffee, even better

and that Coke needs a little rum while were at it.

Hey son, ya gotta smoke I can bum offa ya.

Sis…bring me back one uh mom’s valiums while you’re back there willya.

Cool, the family that plays together stays together.

It kinda falls under the heading of your business for now I think. But give’m time, that’ll be considered child abuse too in time.

Malnutrition due to excessive caffeine intake = child endangerment

It is a trend that is having devastating results on our youth. The developing brain and body has to have a healthy stable diet to mature properly.

Candy bars and soda water will not meet the requirements necessary for a healthy mind and body.

People ask…what’s wrong with so many kids today. One reason: junk food, too much caffeine and sugar without a nutrional meal everyday.

We are killing our own children by allowing them to raise themselves.

Over the top, you say maybe for you in particular…but look around and then think again. Go see what kids are eating at lunch, everyday

Johnny can’t read…it’s no fu***ng wonder. His brain has been deprived of nutrition. Without his daily fix he can’t even stay awake in class.

Hey Johnny, what did you have for breakfast? A cup of coffee…chocolate donut

How about lunch…a coke and snickers…bag of chips

What’s for supper? McDonalds huh…cool

Sorry about the rant folks :frowning: The old teacher coming out in me I guess.

t-keela how does high caffeine intake lead to malnutrition. Cite please for that one, or are you just blowing steam?
I don’t doubt poor nutrition is a major problem, just that caffeine intake is a factor in poor nutrition, rather than a side effect of too many caffenated sodas.