Have you ever let your children have a sip of your wine or beer? Or as a child do you recall the novelty of having a small taste of your parents special drinks? This is actually quite common amongst families. Whilst it seems harmless, new research has now indicated that a small sip here and there may impact a child further down the track.
‘Children who get a taste of their parents’ wine now and then may be more likely than their peers to start drinking by high school, according to a new report in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs ’
The research is interesting as it challenges the idea that introducing alcohol to children at home will teach them about responsible drinking. The study showed that those who were used to sipping on their parents drinks were four times more likely to have been drunk by high school.
‘Researchers found that, of 561 students in a long-term study, those who’d “sipped” alcohol by sixth grade were five times more likely than their peers to down a full drink by the time they were in high school. And they were four times more likely to have binged or been drunk.’
There are obviously many other factors behind the early onset of drinking but this study provides another potential influencing factor. Perhaps giving children a sip of alcohol makes it seem more casual and acceptable to drink – providing mixed messages and making it seem novel.
‘”We’re not saying your child is doomed,” Jackson said. But, she added, the findings do highlight the importance of giving kids “clear, consistent messages” about drinking and making sure they can’t get a hold of any alcohol kept in the house.’
Putting the study aside, there is no need to introduce children to alcohol. Just as there is no need to introduce them to high fat/ sugar foods. For this reason, it is probably best to err on the side of caution and avoid providing these items to children. It is also wise to avoid them witnessing frequent consumption of alcohol – children love to mimic their parents and can pick up habits, as seen with eating habits of highly processed foods.