Should You Let Your Teen Taste Alcohol?


Let’s say you and your spouse are sitting in the kitchen late one Friday night. Your teen wakes up and asks what you’re doing. Since it’s not a school night, you let your child sit with his parents for an uncommon bonding experience. He asks about what you’re drinking and you decide to let him have a taste. While some experts say this is a good idea, others say it’s not. This article will explore a recent study that points to reasons for not giving your teen a sip of your alcoholic drink.


Some parents and experts in the past have argued that if you give a teen a sip of alcohol, you’re making it less of a taboo for them. And by doing so, you’re easing the temptation to drink when his peers offer it to him. Since he knows what it tastes like and the effect it might have, he’s less likely to feel the need to experiment with it. However, one recent study explains that this is simply not true.


Researchers at the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University have found that sipping alcohol is associated with an increased risk of drinking among teens. In fact, sipping alcohol may not only contribute to possibly the use of alcohol but also the use of other substances. In fact, their studies show that the earlier children taste alcohol, the more likely they will start drinking in high school. Their study found that those who had a sip of an alcoholic beverage before middle school were five times more likely to have a full alcoholic drink by 9th grade, compared with those who did not taste alcohol at all.


Because of the results of the study, health experts encourage parents to continue to send a clear message about the dangers of drinking. If parents can avoid sending mixed messages about alcohol, which would include refraining from letting their children taste their alcoholic drinks, then teens are more likely to stay away from alcohol while in high school.


It’s clear to experts now that when a parent allows a child to have a sip of alcohol, they send the message that it’s okay to drink. And this is especially true if children see their parents drinking on a regular basis. Even if parental drinking is moderate, when a child witnesses their parents drinking, he or she registers that it’s permissible. With this, it may become harder and harder for a child to resist the temptation of drinking alcohol later in high school. Parents who send both verbal and behavioral messages that consistently and persistently send the message that drinking alcohol is dangerous are less likely to have trouble with their teens when it comes to drinking.


If you’re a parent wondering whether a sip of alcohol is a good idea, consider the above mentioned study and their findings.