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Parents Who Let Kids Try Alcohol May Want to Rethink That Plan

young drinkers
Marco Di Lauro, Getty Images

Some parents believe that not only is it okay to share a sip or two of alcohol with their young children, but that it is also good for them to have that type of exposure to liquor to keep them from going on benders later on in life.

However, public health experts disagree with that philosophy, and claim that introducing a young child to alcohol can actually lead to them having a more lushful mentality as they get older.

Health analyst Christine Jackson from RTI International recently teamed up with researchers from the University of North Carolina to find out more about parents’ views on alcohol as it pertains to their children.

Out of nearly 1,000 mothers participating in the survey, 40 percent said they think that not allowing kids to have alcohol only increases the “want factor,” while one in five moms said they feel like children who take the occasional swig of booze are less likely to fall susceptible to peer pressure and risky behavior associated with alcohol.

“This finding indicates that many parents mistakenly expect that the way children drink at home, under parental supervision, will be replicated when children are with peers,” said Jackson. Unfortunately, she says, studies have shown that kids do not act the same when they are out partying with their friends then they do at home with their parents.

The earlier children consume alcohol, the more likely they are to develop a habit, says Ralph Hingson, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research.

Health experts say rather than feed children sips of booze to prolong their taste for the social medicine, parents should open up the lines of communication with their children to find out what they really know about alcohol, as well as honestly discuss their own trial and tribulations with the bottle.


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