Allowing Minors To Taste Alcohol Discourages Later Abuse, Parents BelieveMain Category: Alcohol / Addiction / Illegal Drugs
Also Included In: Pediatrics / Children's Health
Article Date: 21 Sep 2012
One in every four moms thinks that it is okay to give their kids a tiny taste of alcohol when they are young, with the hope that it will make the children not want to drink when they are teens, while 40% think that taking a sip of alcohol will result in young kids wanting to drink more when they are older, according to a recent study published in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
A 2008 study claimed that when moms overestimated their kids' future alcohol use, the teens were led to drink more, because they believed it was what their parents expected anyway.
Researchers at RTI International and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill set out to determine whether parents were actually giving alcohol to children when they are young, and if so, the reasons behind their actions.
Christine Jackson, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a social ecologist from RTI International, commented: "The idea that early exposure to alcohol can discourage a child's interest in drinking has a strong foothold among some parents of elementary school aged children."
Data obtained from interviews with over 1,000 mothers and their 3rd graders were the basis for the trial. These individuals were drafted to receive a 4-year intervention, in order to analyze the long-term effects of early age alcohol tasting.
The adults involved in the research were questioned regarding their thoughts and habits toward alcohol, in addition to how they felt about giving their children a taste of a drink.
One fourth of the mothers questioned believed that giving their children the opportunity to try an alcoholic beverage would make them not enjoy the taste of the drink, therefore, stopping them from trying alcohol later on in life.
Of the mothers interviewed, 40% said they believed telling children they can't have the alcohol, like other things in life, would make their desire for it stronger.
22% of the moms said that kids who have tried alcohol in the presence of their parents would be more reserved about drinking with friends, and be better at resisting peer pressure to drink, while 26% said it would make their kids less likely to go over-the-top with experimenting with alcohol in middle school.
Previous research has proven that 7.5 million U.S. children are living with parents who abuse alcohol, however, the new study did not mention if these parents are more likely to give their children a sip of alcohol early on.
"These findings indicate that parents mistakenly expect that the way children drink at home, under parental supervision, will be replicated when children are with peers. More research is needed to understand how parents acquire these ideas and to understand the relationship between early sipping and alcohol use in adolescence."
The kids involved in the study were asked whether they had ever taken a sip of wine, beer or any other type of alcoholic drink, as well as if their parents had ever given them a taste of alcohol. Of the children surveyed, 33% claimed that they had, at one point, taken a sip of alcohol, whether it be wine, beer, or something different.
According to the researchers, there is a definite link between children's alcohol use and parents who supported giving their children a sip of alcohol. This finding is significant, because introduction to alcohol early on in life is a large risk factor for drinking problems in their teenage years.
Written by Christine Kearney
Copyright: MediLexicon International Ltd
Original article posted on Medical News Today.
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