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Kids and Alcohol Abuse: Why Even Just a Sip of Your Drink Can Be Harmful

Kids and Alcohol Abuse: Why Even Just a Sip of Your Drink Can Be Harmful

Though it is often thought of as taboo for a young child to take sips from their parent’s wine or beer glass, we have reported that as many as 1 in 3 children ages 8 or 9 reveal that their parents have already allowed them to taste alcohol. But after a new study suggests kids who have tasted alcohol by the sixth grade are much more likely to binge drink or get drunk in high school, parents may want to rethink their stance on the subject.

CNN reports about the study from the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs that suggests early exposure to alcohol (even if its just a few sips) can lead to alcohol abuse in the teenage years.

Co-author of the study, Kristina Jackson, believes the reason early tastes of alcohol can be detrimental is because parents are sending a message that it’s okay to drink at an age when kids don’t understand how much is too much. Jackson says, “I would say that it is advisable not to offer your child a sip of your beverage, as it may send the wrong message -- younger teens and tweens may be unable to understand the difference between drinking a sip and drinking one or more drinks.”

Participants in the study were followed around for three years starting at middle school age. Researchers found that 26% of those who were allowed to sip alcohol by the start of middle school had a full drink by the ninth grade. This is in contrast to the only 6% of kids who never tasted alcohol and had their first full drink by the start of high school. Only 2% of non-sippers took part in binge drinking or getting drunk in early high school as compared to 9% of sippers who took part in this type of activity.

But what’s a parent to do if they have already allowed their children to take a nip of their drink? Jackson admits that though it is not advisable there are ways to safeguard your kids even if they have already had their first taste. She says, “I think the most important thing is to make sure that children know when drinking alcohol is acceptable and when it is not.”

Do you allow your young child to sip from your alcoholic beverage?

What do you think of the new study that suggests allowing kids to take sips of alcohol can lead to early alcohol abuse?

 

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