A warning has been issued to parents of British teens that they should be banned from having any alcohol. The warning aims to introduce children to drinking risks which could develop into alcohol addictions later in life.
Although many parents believe in introducing their children to alcohol in small quantities to teach them responsible drinking, a new study by psychologist Dr AricSigman claims that parents should delay this introduction until they are over the legal drinking age in order to avoid long lasting neurological damage.
A post on www.dailymail.co.uk advises that parents shouldn’t give their children alcohol, even in small amounts because it is more damaging to young brains and bodies than adults realise.
Parents who are just trying to do the right thing and give their children small amounts of liquor are unwittingly also giving them a taste for booze, according to Sigman.
According to Sigman’s studies, the earlier a child or teen is introduced to alcohol, the greater their odds of becoming an alcoholic in adulthood.
Read more about the study below from Dailymail.co.uk:
In a report to an EU think-tank on childhood and adolescence, Dr Sigman said it was ‘imperative’ that parents delayed the age at which they introduce their children to alcohol.
He said that ‘even in small amounts’, alcohol may have long-lasting effects on the young brain, which continues developing long after the body matures.
Under current rules, it is illegal for under-18s to buy alcohol or for someone to buy it for them, with the exception that 16 and 17-year-olds can drink beer, wine or cider with a meal out with an adult.
Dr Sigman, a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, said parents were wrong if they believe that by giving their children small amounts of alcohol at home, they were teaching them to drink responsibly. In fact, research suggests that early exposure to alcohol primes the brain to enjoy it more.
Dr Sigman’s review of medical literature also raised concerns that girls who drink may be raising their odds of infertility and breast cancer in later life.
The new EU commissioned study has said that drinking even small quantities of alcohol in youth can have far-reaching consequences
He said that in an ideal world, no one would touch alcohol before the age of 25. However, he acknowledged that 16 was a more realistic age for parents to first allow their children to drink at home.
One of the fears of parents which often lead them to introduce their kids to alcohol early is the fear that stopping them from drinking at home will lead to even heavier drinking on the sly.
One of Sigman’s recommendations is that the legal drinking being harmonised across Europe to make it illegal for anyone under 18 to purchase alcohol.
This he says is the first step in changing the culture of drinking in Europe which sees teenagers binge drinking and going in and out of rehab.