New Study Shows Parents Are Giving Kids Their First Alcoholic Drinks

New research shows that middle school children are getting alcohol from their parents. And we’re not talking about stealing booze out of the liquor cabinet when mom and dad aren’t looking. A new study, lead by principal investigator Kelli Komro, lead author Mary O Hearst and colleagues, found that more than one-third of the alcohol consumed by the 11-14 year old children in the study came from their parents or a friend’s parent or guardian. The study included nearly 4,000 diverse students in the Chicago area.

Even more disturbing was the growth in alcohol use with age. Drinking rates skyrocketed from 17% in the sixth grade to 41% by the end of eighth grade. It was noted that as the children got older, they were getting the alcohol less from parents and more from other sources.

According to Hearst, “Early onset of drinking leads to a long list of alcohol-related problems. It is important to educate parents about the consequences of alcohol use at a young age and try to prevent them from being their child’s primary source of alcohol.”

Since middle school is the time when most kids are likely to encounter alcohol for the first time, it is clear that parents need to take a role in talking to their kids about the dangers of alcohol, while refraining from giving their children easy access to a drink.

The study, entitled “Who needs liquor stores when parents will do? The importance of social sources of alcohol among young urban teens,” appears in the June 2007 issue of Preventive Medicine.

Read the press release: Access to alcohol among middle school children: there is no place like home.

See more statistics about girls and alcohol in the post Anheuser-Busch’s Marketing and Labeling of Alcoholic Energy Drink, Spykes, Causes Controversy.

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