Study: Even a sip of alcohol too much for children

Study: Even a sip of alcohol too much for children

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - How old were you when you had your first sip of alcohol?

According to a study, parents are a major supplier of alcohol to adolescents.

"I was probably 7 years-old and we were at a bar and they were like here try this," Southeast Missouri State University student Caleb Unser said.

"Well I actually had it on accident, when I was eight or nine I thought my dad's beer was apple juice, so I took a sip of that. My parent let me try some I think when I was 12 or 13 my mom let me take a sip of her wine cooler," Southeast Missouri State University student Samantha Holsten said.

This study addresses the harm of giving your child a sip of alcohol. It looks at the child's relationship with alcohol later in life.

According to the study early adolescents having a sip of alcohol increases the risk of delinquent behavior, physical injury, poor adolescent health and alcohol-use disorders.

According to the study, 60 percent of adolescents have had a sip of alcohol by the time they are 13.

Chief Operating Officer at Gibson Recovery Center Ryan Essex said the research is new, but it's something they are paying attention to.

"As parents and educators we have to do our part to kind of dispell some of those myths to our kids and students; and say that no, it's not okay to drink, you are at risk, your body and brain are still developing," Essex said.

The study also cites recent research on why parents give alcohol to their children, stating it could be to teach children to resist peer pressure.

According to the study, it's the parents' beliefs that lead to giving children sips of alcohol at home or during the holidays.

"You don't know what they are perceiving this to be," Essex said. "You know you give a 6th grader a sip of alcohol, what do they perceive that to be? It's okay for me to drink or this is innocent and they're trying to do this to tell me that it's not okay to drink. So, and we don't really know how they're perceiving our actions at that point in time their so young that they may not be able to verbalize what they're perceiving."

"Parents may be supplying sips of alcohol in response to believing their child will be exposed to unsupervised alcohol use with their peers. However, they may be wrong in their belief, and may be prematurely introducing their children to a behavior that may have marked risks," the study said.

The finding showed that early sipping is linked to higher odds of risky behaviors going into high school, which goes against the parental protective factor. The study said even just offering a sip of alcohol may give the wrong message.

"My advice for parents would mirror the article and saying they would air on the side of caution and not let your children drink, I mean obviously as i've said it is a risk factor," Essex said.

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