Q&A: sippy cups for tweeners

A funny question for Wednesday.

Anonymous writes:

"Hi Moxie,

I'm engaged. My fiance and I often talk about children and how we want to raise ours when we have them. Both of us tend to notice other parent's parenting techniques and think of what we would do differently. We spend a lot of time with his parents and his brother who has kids. His oldest is 11, almost 12 and still drinking from a sippy cup. This is the only thing that they drink out of. I'm wondering what kind of affect this will have on their children's development. Is it safe behavior? I thought sippy cups were only for toddlers."

First of all, I think it's excellent that you and your fiance are doing so much thinking and talking about this now, before you're even ready to think about getting pregnant. Having all these conversations now is going to save you a lot of time and aggravation later.

Second, kids this old are using sippy cups?! I've never heard of this.

On one level I can completely appreciate that this eliminates spills and messes in the house. But there are other ways to achieve the same goal that doesn't have kids who are almost pubescent drinking out of baby gear. Sports bottles or straw cups will cut out the spills equally well.

I don't think there's anything specifically bad about kids that old drinking out of sippy cups, and it's certainly nothing to spend time worrying about. But there's no real purpose to sippy cups anyway (other than mess containment) from a developmental point of view. It's not a skill that builds to anything else or is used later in life. So why use them instead of something the kids wouldn't be embarrassed to use in public?

I guess I also wonder how old the kids are going to be before they have to learn not to spill regular cups. Because they aren't going to be able to use sippy cups for the rest of their lives. Imagine going out to a business lunch and using a sippy cup.

What do you guys think about sippy cups for 11-year-olds?