Some parents believe in the 'European model' of introducing kids to alcohol early at home to teach them about responsible drinking and lessen the taboo appeal of alcohol. However, researchers from Rhode Island-based Brown University have revealed that children who get a taste of their parents' drinks now and then are more likely than their peers to start drinking by high school.
The study comprised of 561 students. Researchers found that children who had sipped alcohol by the sixth grade were five times more likely than their peers to down a full drink by the time they are in high school, while they were four times more likely to have binged or been drunk.
Kristina Jackson from the center for alcohol and addiction studies at Brown University said, "At that age, some kids may have difficulty understanding the difference between a sip of wine and having a full beer. It is possible that those little tastes of alcohol send young kids a 'mixed message'. We are not trying to say whether it's 'OK' or 'not OK' for parents to allow this and parents should not be alarmed if they have already let their child have a taste of wine. We are not saying your child is doomed."
The findings suggest the importance of giving kids clear, consistent messages about drinking and making sure they cannot get hold of any alcohol kept in the house.
The study is published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs