A recent study found that one in six parents give their children alcohol by the age they are 14, when they are not fully developed. When parents were questioned on the issue they believed that they had been acting responsibly in the hope of teaching their children’s how to drink safely therefore decreasing their chances of drinking irresponsibly, however there was no research to back this up.
The research found that highest level of parents who had been giving their children alcohol were well-educated white parents, research showed from UCL and Pennsylvania State University. Using data on 10,000 children from the Millennium Cohort Study, scientists found that light or moderate-drinking parents were just as likely to let their children drink alcohol as heavy-drinking parents.
Additionally, in a survey carried out researchers found that when they asked 14-year-olds whether they had ever tried more than a few sips of alcohol, almost half responded yes. When they were 11 about 14% admitted to doing so.
Katherine Brown, chief executive of the Institute of Alcohol Studies, said an alcohol-free childhood was best and this advice may not be getting to parents. “We need to see better guidance offered to parents via social marketing campaigns and advice from doctors and schools. Parents deserve to know they can have a positive impact, and can reduce health harms associated with young people drinking.”
Dr John Larsen, from the charity Drinkaware, said parents and guardians had an important role to play in helping children learn about alcohol.”While each parent or carer may choose to approach talking to their teenagers about alcohol in different ways, it is helpful to have clear rules and that the conversations are open and honest.”