Exposing kids to alcohol early on DOES NOT discourage later use
Like many parents I know, I tend to think that the more you prohibit your kids from doing something, the more they will want to do it. So I wasn't surprised to find out that one in four mothers believe that allowing their children to taste alcohol early on will prevent alcohol abuse later on. The study, recently published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, was conducted by RTI International and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill among more than 1,000 mothers of third-grade students.
I actually think the same way and I have written before about how I see nothing wrong with my kids taking a sip of my glass of wine here and there. But it turns out that, according to this study, doing so will NOT discourage them from irresponsible drinking as adolescents.
To be clear, I haven't let my children stick their finger in my glass of wine or beer so they can taste it in an effort to deter them from drinking once they get a bit older. I've just done it because I don't think it's a big deal. I have told them, however, that alcohol (and soda) is for adults only because it can be harmful to their little bodies.
Read more in ¿Qué más?: What's so wrong with letting kids try wine?
And although this new study points out that allowing kids to have alcohol early on could actually encourage them to abuse it later on, I plan on continuing doing what my parents did with my siblings and I. Making alcohol into the "prohibited fruit" makes absolutely no sense to me and when my kids get a bit older, I'll allow them to have a bit of wine or beer, if they so desire. I'm sure they'll probably hate it, just like I did when I was about 14 and my dad served me a quarter of glass of wine.
I also plan on teaching them to drink responsibly by example. Other than that, I'll just have to be very aware of what's going on with them, the friends they hang out with and continue to nurture an open communication so that they'll hopefully come to me if they're having any doubts or problems.
Image via La Flaf/flickr