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Are You Giving Your Child Alcohol?

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A new study shows that 709,000 kids in the United States, aged 12 to 14, are drinking beer, liquor and other alcoholic beverages. But what's more surprising is that they aren't just getting it from friends; a large percentage of youngsters are getting their alcohol from their parents.


In the past month, more than 200,000 kids were given alcohol by a parent or other adult family member, according to a report from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

"About 5.9 percent of 12 to 14-year-olds have used alcohol in the past month," said Peter Delany, director of SAMHSA's Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. "That's a pretty large number."

"And almost all of these kids got that alcohol for free," he said. "45 percent got alcohol from a parent or other family member or they took it from their home without permission."

Why parents are giving their kids alcohol is unknown, but a frequent explanation is parents saying they'd rather have their child drink at home than somewhere else.

"If you drink alcohol before the age of 15 you are about five times more likely to experience a serious problem with alcohol or other drug use at or after the age of 21," he explained. "That's why so many prevention programs are trying to delay kids from using alcohol, because the older you are [when you start drinking], the more judgment you have, and the less likely you are to develop problems later in life."

Momlogic wants to know -- have you given your underage child alcohol at home? Why?

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5 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous February 21, 2011, 10:49 AM

My parents let us have wine with dinner from a young age, before drinking was “cool”. Because it was such a matter of fact part of our lives, we didn’t go crazy when our friends were out drinking. I attribute that (and the fact that red wine tastes horrid when you’re young) to the fact that none of us developed drinking probs later in life.

Anonymous February 21, 2011, 11:14 PM

Yup, mine too. My parents hardly ever drank at home. They had wine at Christmas, Easter and other such holidays, and when they had some we were all given a little too. There’s a difference between ‘using’ alcohol and simply drinking it. This article is nothing but scaremongering. I note it also omits the no doubt negligible quantities of alcohol involved.

by March 1, 2011, 2:16 PM

the problem of College essay child alcoholism now is very serious!

duffer March 5, 2011, 8:49 AM

My middle school child went on a trip with another family and they gave her wine with dinner every night. I thought this was strange. Enen when we were in Europe and my kids asked for a taste, I would always say “I really don’t think you will like this”. I would give them a sip. Not a glass of wine, explaining the grapes like they were at a wine tour in Napa.

Dore Frances, PhD April 16, 2011, 6:10 PM

Some parents seek the approval of their teens and want to be looked up to. When you add drinking to natural teenage curiosity and pleasure-seeking, the results can range from throwing up all over someone’s carpet or saying something regrettable, to tragedies like unprotected (and unwanted) sexual contact, or fighting that leads to injury or even death. Underage drinking is a factor in nearly half of all teen automobile crashes. The mixed messages that parents send when they “bargain” with teens and allow them to drink at home may actually be to blame for excessive teen drinking.

It’s up to parents to remind their teens that too many drinks ingested either accidentally or intentionally can result in alcohol poisoning, and sometimes death.

Alcohol is a drug that numbs the brain.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that a shocking one third of high-schoolers are binge-drinkers. Yet a poll conducted by the group Drug Strategies showed that only three percent of parents thought their teens had indulged in binge drinking in the past month. Making it ‘safe’ for kids to drink is a complete contradiction of terms!

Adults who serve alcohol are playing economic Russian roulette. Parents are supposed to have arrived at maturity, while kids are supposed to be passing through adolescence on the way to adulthood.

Dr.Dore E. Frances

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