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Surprising Science

Early Alcohol Exposure Doesn’t Guarantee Responsible Drinking

Data gathered for a new study suggests that some parents' beliefs on children and alcohol exposure are dangerously misguided.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

Researchers at RTI International and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill conducted telephone interviews with mothers and their children on the subject of children’s alcohol exposure. “One in five women who participated in the study believe allowing their child to consume alcohol will help them resist peer pressure and less likely to experiment later in life. Forty percent of women think if they prohibit their child from consuming alcohol it would only trigger the child’s desire to have it. Additionally, 32.8 percent of children reported consuming alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine.”

What’s the Big Idea?

The findings, published in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, illustrate the eternal disconnect between what parents believe their children will do under adult supervision and what children do when there’s no adult supervision. Lead researcher Christine Jackson theorizes: “An early introduction to alcohol, even when it is limited to sips and even when it is meant to discourage child interest in alcohol, could backfire and lead to more drinking later on.”

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