“Boys and girls, do practice self-denial and do not drink much soda water either. Remember that soda water is very bad for growing bones and teeth as well as for your stomach. Besides, by taking it, you get into the habit of drinking, and if you must have soda when you are young, you will probably think you must have much stronger drinks when you are older. Those who ‘cannot resist’ a glass of soda now, will not be able to ‘resist’ taking a glass of some stronger drink later on.”
This gem comes from a chapter called “Good and Bad Drinking Habits,” found in a 1913 book for children titled Yourself and Your House Wonderful (written by H.A. Guerber). Now, I don’t normally see advice books for young kids with such grownup topics (this book also has a chapter “About Smoking and Chewing”), so I had to learn more. Reading the introduction, I saw that the author explains “to parents and teachers,” and is quite confident sharing such information:
“I have become more and more convinced of the pressing need of a work dealing frankly and explicitly with all the matters usually discussed, but also of excretion, sex, and reproduction, topics to which most books merely allude, which good people approach in fear and trembling, and about which none but the impure speak freely at all times and refuse to be silenced.” He goes on to say “our children have the right to know the exact truth about themselves.”
Here’s some advice from the same chapter for young girls:
“I would advise every girl who reads his book not only to be very careful about her own food and drink at all times, but when she grows up never to marry any man who is too self-indulgent in this matter. If she does, she may find herself with a drunken husband, sickly children, ruined health and leading a most unhappy life.
When it is thoroughly understood that no good woman will ever marry a man who drinks even a little, the men who expect to marry some day, and have homes and children of their own, will realize that they must keep away from temptation. So you see, girls, even if you cannot vote or change the laws, you can help to bring about a better state of things. Are you willing to do it?”