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Sipping alcohol and children

Sipping alcohol by children

Alcohol sipping or tasting occurs most often in the family context (such as at a birthdays or special occasions) 1. By age 13, up to 60% of Australian adolescents have had a sip or taste of alcohol2. Contrary to the beliefs of many parents, evidence suggests providing sips will not protect children from peer pressure to use alcohol or binge drinking 3.

Why children shouldn’t be provided sips of alcohol

Parents should not provide sips or tastes of alcohol to children as it communicates they have relaxed rules for alcohol use 4. Research has found children who had sipped alcohol by 10 years of age were almost twice as likely as other children to start drinking full serves of alcohol before 15 years 5. Teenagers may perceive parental alcohol permissiveness if their parents have lenient alcohol rules – and this can increases the risk of early drinking initiation such as sipping 6. This is a concern because early initiation has been linked to adverse physical and mental health conditions, and there is some evidence to suggest that the later adolescents delay their first alcoholic drink, the less likely they are to become regular consumers 7.

 
References

1 Donovan, J. E., & Molina, B.S.G (2008). "Children’s Introduction to Alcohol Use: Sips and Tastes." Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research 32(1): pg109.

2 Monika Wadolowski, D. H., Raimondo Bruno, PhD,a,c Alexandra Aiken, Jackob M. Najman, Kypros Kypri, Tim Slade, Nyanda McBride, Richard P. Mattick. (2016). "Parents Who Supply Sips of Alcohol in Early Adolescence: A Prospective Study of Risk Factors." Pediatrics 137(3): pg2.

3 Monika Wadolowski, D. H., Raimondo Bruno, PhD,a,c Alexandra Aiken, Jackob M. Najman, Kypros Kypri, Tim Slade, Nyanda McBride, Richard P. Mattick. (2016). "Parents Who Supply Sips of Alcohol in Early Adolescence: A Prospective Study of Risk Factors." Pediatrics 137(3): pg2.

4 Wadolowski, M., Raimondo Bruno, Alexandra Aiken, Chiara Stone, Jake Najman, Kypros and T. S. Kypri, Delyse Hutchinson, Nyanda McBride, and Richard P. Mattick (2015). "Sipping, Drinking, and Early Adolescent Alcohol Consumption: A Cautionary Note." Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 39(2). pg 253.

5 Donovan, J. E., & Molina, B.S.G (2008). "Children’s Introduction to Alcohol Use: Sips and Tastes." Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research 32(1): pg2493.

6 Wadolowski, M., Raimondo, R., Aiken, A., Najman, J.M.., Kypri, K., Slade, T., McBride, N., & Mattick, R.P. (2016). "Parents Who Supply Sips of Alcohol in Early Adolescence: A Prospective Study of Risk Factors." Pediatrics 137(3): pg6.

7 National Medical Research Council. (2009). Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol (NHMRC). Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved from. http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/ds10-alcohol.pdf