Parents (mistakenly) believe letting children drink alcohol early discourages later use, study says

Published: Friday, Sept. 21 2012 4:52 p.m. MDT

Recent studies have found that controlled exposure to alcohol at a young age may increase the risk of a child abusing alcohol in adolescence and adulthood.

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Our take: Sometimes it may seem that exposing children to possible dangers such as alcohol in a controlled environment may curb possible abuse in the future. This "forbidden fruit theory" claims that if something is completely forbidden to children, it will only make the action more desirable. However, recent studies have found that controlled exposure to alcohol at a young age may increase the risk of a child abusing alcohol. In this article from The Huffington Post, Meredith Bennett-Smith discusses the impacts of these recent findings.

A surprising number of parents believe that early exposure to alcohol will discourage children from drinking in adolescence and help prevent alcohol abuse later on, according to a new study from the RTI International and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The study, which was published this week in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, looked at data collected from 1,050 mothers and their third-grade children, according to Science Daily.

Forty percent of mothers believe that trying to ban children from even tasting alcohol will only make it more appealing (the so-called "forbidden fruit" theory). In addition, 33 percent of third graders in the study had already had beer, wine or other alcohol.

This finding indicates that many parents mistakenly expect that the way children drink at home, under parental supervision, will be replicated when children are with peers, public health analyst Christine Jackson, a leader of the study, told TODAY.com.

Read more about children and alcohol on The Huffington Post.

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