We all know or have heard about parents who give their kids alcohol before they're legally allowed to drink. Many times, these parents hand teens a can of beer or a glass of wine in order to "protect" them from risky drinking behaviors in outside situations where there might not be adult supervision — or a familiar roof over their heads. But a new Australian study found that there is actually no evidence that parents providing teens alcohol protects them from any risks at all.
The 6-year study of 1,927 teenagers and their parents, published in The Lancet Public Health journal, found no benefits associated with parents giving underage kids alcohol, when compared to kids whose parents didn't provide alcohol to them. Instead, parental provision of alcohol was actually associated with an increased likelihood of teens getting alcohol from outside sources other than their own homes.
"Our study is the first to analyze parental supply of alcohol and its effects in detail in the long term, and finds that it is, in fact, associated with risks when compared to teenagers not given alcohol," said lead author Richard Mattick, PhD. "This reinforces the fact that alcohol consumption leads to harm, no matter how it is supplied. We advise that parents should avoid supplying alcohol to their teenagers if they wish to reduce their risk of alcohol-related harms."
Considering heavy alcohol consumption is one of the leading risk factors of early death in young adults, it's vitally important that parents everywhere keep this study top of mind. After all, the last thing we'd want is for our children to find themselves in a dire situation because of alcohol — especially if we thought we had protected them from it.
Let's all do our part to keep our loved ones safe — and to help spread the word to other families!
h/t Science Daily