Gazing down at your beautiful baby in your arms, at some point most dads have wondered the same thing: “How long before I can responsibly see if thing this likes beer?” And while certain cool cultural norms have told you sooner than later (as long as they’re family and not driving) a new longitudinal study out of Australia served up some sobering news: You might be turning your kid into a drunk.
There are a lot numbers out there about underage drinking, but what troubled epidemiologist Dr. Monika Wadolowski, the lead author of the study, was that these rates do not typically distinguish between adolescents having supervised sips and full unsupervised drinks. Examining the impact of the former, researchers looked at 1,729 Australian 7th graders and found that unsupervised, underage drinking was directly linked with parents allowing supervised tastes one year prior. No word on how directly the link was to their being Australian.
JINGLE ALL THE WAYThe study reinforces conclusions from past data published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research and the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs — all which indicated that even if you kid is drinking under your roof, it’s probably still a bad idea. Wadolowski’s findings take this a step forward, suggesting that a majority of parents gave such permission because they thought their kids were going to do it anyways. If you applied that same logic to the rest of your parenting, your house might’ve been burned down by now.
Experts suspect that the road to underage drinking is paved with good intentions, and the real issue is that parents think they’re modeling responsible drinking when they offer. But that assumes Junior has fully grasped the concept of responsibility, which might be a stretch when you’re talking about about a little person who still needs to be reminded to brush their teeth. Sure, this means it’ll be a few more years before you learn if your kid is a good hang, but that just means more beer for you until then.
[H/T] New York Times