Offering Kids Drinks at an Early Age Will Backfire, Cool Moms Be Warned

One health expert says about 33 percent of 3rd-graders have tried alcohol. Yikes
Staff Writer

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

There's always that "cool parent" that will let their kids try beer, wine, and alcohol far before their 21st birthdays; but most parents say they allow it to discourage underage drinking and dependence. Well, shut that down: health experts now say that the reverse psychology trick you're trying on your kids isn't working. 

Public health analyst Christine Jackson, whose most recent study on adolescent drinking was published Monday in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, recently spoke with TODAY to discourage this trend of "preemptive drinking." Of the 1,000 parents she and her team surveyed in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee , 40 percent believed that forbidding alcohol at home would only increase their children's desire to drink with their peers. While parents think they're setting up safe boundaries with their kids when drinking at home, it's not really the case: Jackson said that kids tend to throw out those rules when boozing with friends. 

What's even more troubling? According to Jackson, some studies have shown that up to 33 percent of third-graders — third-graders! — have tried beer, wine, and alchol with their parents. Health experts agree that limiting alcohol at home is a better way to stop kids from drinking at an early age. So parents, shelve the glass of wine and save it for the kid's 21st: it's better for everyone. 

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