Letting children taste alcohol is the wrong approach, says chief medical officer
Allowing children to try alcohol at home could lead to binge drinking later in life, England’s chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, has said.
The idea that parents allow their child to taste alcohol at home was called “misguided” by Sir Liam, and he said evidence showed it could lead to future drinking problems.
Legally, parents are able to give their child alcohol at home from 5 years of age. However, new official guidance says kids under 15 shouldn’t drink any alcohol, and those under 17 should drink only with supervision, reports the BBC.
“The more [children] get a taste for it, the more likely they are to be heavy drinking adults or binge drinkers later in childhood,” Sir Liam commented.
A major publicity campaign will get underway in England in January 2010.
“Rates of teenage drunkenness are higher amongst both the children of parents who drink to excess and the children of parents who abstain completely,” said the chief executive of Parentline Plus, Jeremy Todd, who commended the guidelines.
“Whilst parents have a greater influence on their children's drinking patterns early on, as they grow older their friends have a greater influence.
“It is therefore crucial for parents to talk to their children about alcohol and its effects.”
Alcohol being sold at “pocket money prices” is also a key factor in alcohol abuse that needs to be address by ministers, commented the national agency Alcohol Concern.
Do you think letting your children try alcohol at home is the best way to teach them to be responsible? Or should it be a complete no-go? Let us know below…
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