Don’t Give Alcohol to Teens
You may have heard of moms and dads who gave their teens alcohol as a parenting tactic – reasons include: 1) it is safer to buy, serve, and control it in a controlled environment than forcing them to slip away with their friends for a sip of forty a year. some sketchy parking, and 2) it normalizes alcohol so that they won’t see it as taboo and therefore something that they should swallow in massive quantities as quickly as possible. Some say their parents did it for them when they were growing up, and they are happy. “It actually gave me a sense of responsibility when I trusted me and didn’t act like a complete dumbass,” wrote one of the Reddit editors in a thread on the topic . Another added: “I knew my tolerance when I entered college. I met some kids who … didn’t. “
But new research, published in The Lancet, suggests that beyond anecdotes, it’s not an effective strategy to protect teens from the risks of alcohol abuse. In fact, it seems to have some dangerous consequences.
Australian researchers followed 1,927 teenagers for six years and found that those whose parents gave them alcohol for one year were twice as likely to find alcohol from other sources the next year. In addition, by the end of the study, 81% of teens who drank alcohol from their parents and other sources reported binge drinking (defined as four or more standard drinks at a time), compared with 62% of teens who drank alcohol from their parents. only non-parent sources. And adolescents who received alcohol from their parents were more likely to have symptoms of an alcohol use disorder than those who did not receive alcohol from any source.
The study has limitations – it is observational, and adolescents with low socioeconomic status were underrepresented. And, perhaps more importantly, the study does not indicate the amount of alcohol given by the parents, or the context in which it is given. (Was it a glass of champagne to celebrate mom’s promotion, or five juggerbombs? Was the teens being told about safe drinking habits, or was it just a key to the cupboard?) Also, the study was conducted in Australia, and we don’t know how well the results translate into other countries. However, they are consistent with previous research by parents who allow their children to drink alcoholic beverages – research shows that the practice is associated with binge drinking, drug use and other problematic behaviors.
Big recommendation from researchers: Don’t give alcohol to kids until they’re allowed to drink. All they get is more alcohol. There is no scientific evidence that he will teach them to drink responsibly and could put them at risk.