Parents main supplier of alcohol, study shows

By • Published: July 2nd, 2007
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Eat your carrots… and finish your beer before you leave the table.

Doesn’t sound like something a mom or dad would tell their children, but experts say this may be the message some parents are sending when they let middle-schoolers drink alcohol at home.

A new study from the University of Florida and the University of Minnesota shows that parents are actually the gateway to drinking for many pre-teens who imbibe… not the barrier. After surveying four-thousand middle-school-age kids, epidemiologists found that most of those who drank say their parents gave them their last drink, not friends or older teens. And we’re not talking about a swig of beer or sip of wine, either. The researchers asked the adolescents if they had consumed a full drink within the last year. About seventeen percent of them had. Of those kids, about a third said they got that drink from mom or dad.

As harmless as some parents may think the occasional beer is, researchers say drinking at a young age actually puts kids at risk for more problems later.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, kids are more likely to struggle in school, become a victim of sexual assault, suffer from alcohol abuse later in life and smoke cigarettes if they start drinking before they turn fifteen. What’s more, experts aren’t sure how alcohol affects the developing brain.

Their advice? When it comes to their sons and daughters, parents just might want to raise a nonalcoholic toast to temperance.