When I first heard about this candy, my first thought was, "Gee, thanks a lot, Jelly Belly." The newest jelly bean flavor is beer. Yes, beer, the most child-friendly of all candy flavors. What's next, vodka tonic? Tequila shots? Crack? Not helping, candy company. NOT HELPING. But then I remembered: It's just candy. Actually, you could even say Jelly Belly is doing parents a favor with the beer flavor. No really -- hear me out.
I see this as an opportunity to have a very brief, no-pressure conversation with your kids about alcohol consumption. I know that kind of sounds like the beginning of a joke, but I'm totally serious. Here's how I see it playing out.
You pick out the bean (if you can) and go, "Huh, beer flavor! What do you think about that?" I would let my kid try it if he wanted to, but I wouldn't insist. If your kid is like mine, they'll probably scan your face for cues to how they're supposed to respond. (Uh .... is this a trick question, Mom?) This is when I'd deploy the neutral "well isn't that interesting" face. I don't know if I actually have that face, or if it comes off more as my "scary mad scientist mind probe," but I try.
And then, based on your kid's answer, you go from there. It's up to you -- you know the values you're trying to instill in your family. I'd probably point out that of course the jelly bean is going to be way sweeter than the real stuff. But mostly I'd be listening to what my kid has to say about children and alcohol. Is he intrigued? Does it make him want to try the real thing? Does he think it tastes gross? Does he wonder why his parents would ever want to drink the stuff?
Just to be clear, my kid knows he's not allowed to drink the real thing until he's of age. But I also try to model moderation around him, having a glass of wine with dinner every so often. I think it's better to just be direct and open about these kinds of things than to pretend that alcohol doesn't even exist.
If nothing else, it's incentive for us parents to monitor our kids' candy consumption more closely -- which we should be doing anyway! When you've got younger kids, eating too much sugar takes higher priority anyway.
Would you allow your child to eat beer-flavored candy?
Image via Jelly Belly/YouTube