Parents may believe that if their children try just a sip of alcohol and have an idea of what it is like they will develop a healthier attitude towards alcohol when they grow up. A new study shows that this is not true; in fact it is the other way around.
Kristina M. Jackson of the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island and the lead author of the study said that the research team has found an association between sipping alcohol at an early age and later outcomes. For their study the researchers used web surveys of 561 students from Rhode Island.
Almost 30% of the children said that they had sipped alcohol at a party or a social event when they were encouraged by their parents. Before entering high school 25% of the early sippers said they had drunk a full alcoholic drink, whereas only 6% of the non-early sippers did so. Moreover 9% of the early sipper had been drunk, whereas in the case of the other children the result was only 2%.
The researchers took into account other factors which could contribute to teen drinking such as parents who have problem with alcohol or underlying disposition for problem behavior. Still, there was a clear connection between early sipping and teen drinking.
Jackson explained that the sip which parents offer to theirs children may be perceived as a mixed message. Nowadays children cannot really make a difference between a couple of sips at home and outside the home. So they get a message whose nuances they cannot interpret. She added that the research cannot really prove that early sips are to blame for later drinking problems.
If a child takes a sip of alcohol it does not mean that he or she is doomed. It is important that the children should receive clear messages about underage drinking. Jackson acknowledged that they are not trying to tell parents what to do. However the study offers contrary evidence to the belief according to which introducing alcohol to children at home will make them be responsible drinkers.
Image Source: Mommalogues
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