Children whose parents allow them to take sips of alcohol are more likely to have favorable expectations about drinking, a new study finds.
Researchers found 22% of children ages 9 to 11 have sipped alcohol, most often beer from their father. Children who sipped alcohol had more favorable expectations about drinking compared with their peers who hadn’t tried alcohol, Today reports. They were more likely to agree with the statement “alcohol helps a person relax, feel happy, feel less tense, and can keep a person’s mind off of mistakes at school or work.” They also were more likely to agree with the statement “alcohol makes people want to have fun together.”
“Those who’ve had a sip are more likely to report thinking that alcohol has positive effects, and that’s important because we know that the thoughts about the effects of alcohol are related to starting up drinking and ultimately drinking more heavily,” said lead author Joshua Gray of Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland. “Bottom line, parents should not be giving their kids sips of alcohol,” he said.