A new long-term research found that kids who had tasted alcohol by sixth grade were more likely to start consuming alcohol earlier and to abuse it.
The study revealed that those who tried an alcoholic beverage before sixth grade were five times more likely than other children to drink by the time they entered high school. Also, they were four times more likely to have gotten drunk by that time.
“Parents may think that they are teaching their children to drink responsibly, but permission to drink at home is prospectively associated with greater levels of adolescent alcohol use, drunkenness and drinking intentions,” the reports states.
The study was published Tuesday in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. It involved 561 students. The scientists found wine or beer were usually a child’s first taste of alcohol. A small percentage of the focus group tried alcohol at home without their parents’ knowledge.
At the beginning of sixth grade, when kids are around 11 years-old, around 30 percent of students said they have already tried alcohol at some point. In the majority of cases, their parents provided it, usually at a party or on a special occasion.
By ninth grade, more than a quarter of those early “sippers” announced that they had consumed an entire drink, compared to only 6 percent of the kids who had not tried alcohol at a young age. Almost 9 percent of the first group had gotten drunk, a ”feat” managed by only 2 percent of “non-sippers.”
The scientists, from the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, explained that the results don’t automatically prove that an early taste of alcohol is the only factor for drinking in high school.
“The vast majority of kids, even if they had tasted alcohol when they were younger, did not report evidence of problem drinking,” said lead author Kristina Jackson, Ph.D.
The research is unlikely to resolve the debate about whether parents should let their children to try alcohol.
However, the lead researcher of the study added the most crucial thing for parents is to send “clear, consistent messages” about alcohol consumption. Also, the parents need to make sure children can’t get aces to any alcohol when they are not being supervised.
Image Source: She Knows