According to Dr Aric Sigman, a leading psychologist, the belief that allowing children and teenagers to have the odd glass of wine at home will encourage them to drink sensibly, is nonsense. A large number of parents encourage ‘sensible’ teenage drinking by serving a glass of wine with meals, or allowing the odd alcoholic drink. Many also believe that refusing alcohol will make it a greater temptation outside the home, leading to binge drinking. However, a study carried out of 428 families from Holland in 2010 showed that the more alcohol a teenager was allowed to drink at home, the more they drank outside the family home. Is it possible that parents being stricter with their children could reduce the amount of teenage binge drinking? The number of children admitted to Accident and Emergency departments as they have drunk too much alcohol, has risen by 32 percent since 2007.
The results of research which were published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs concluded:
Authoritative parenting might help deter adolescents from heavy alcohol use, even when adolescents have friends who drink.
This has also been confirmed by studies in Australia and New Zealand, with the latter suggesting that responsible behaviour around alcohol rather than drunkenness may set a better example to children. Extensive research has been carried out on teenage drinking, and the effects. Aside from having an adverse effect on the development of the brain, alcohol also leads to increased risk taking which could put them at risk of harm.
A study by the Molecular and Integrative Neurosciences department of the Scripps Research Institute in 2010 confirmed that even minimal exposure to alcohol in teenage rats caused long term changes in the way that the brain functions. It also reduced the amount of deep sleep, which is the most restorative. When scientists suppressed the deepest sleep in a group of healthy adolescents who slept for the usual amount of time, they discovered a reduced tolerance to glucose which could increase the risk of diabetes. Other harmful effects of teenage drinking are obesity, high blood pressure and a possible link to depression.
It is also hard to believe that the legal age for a child to drink at home is five years old.