Seventeen per cent of UK parents have let their children drink alcohol by the age of 14, according to new findings from CNC.
Researchers from the Centre for Longitudinal Studies, at the UCL Institute of Education, and Pennsylvania State University found that well educated parents of white children were most likely to allow their children to drink at age 14.
The study’s authors were keen to point out that while having better educated parents is generally a protective factor for children, previous research has shown that those who start drinking early are more likely to fail at school, have behaviour issues, as well as alcohol and substance problems in adulthood.
Professor Jennifer Maggs, the study’s lead author, said: “Parents of socially advantaged children may believe that allowing children to drink will teach them responsible use or may in fact inoculate them against dangerous drinking. However, there is little research to support these ideas.”
The study revealed that parents of white children who were employed, had more educational qualifications, and who drank alcohol themselves, were more likely to allow their adolescent children to drink than unemployed parents, those with fewer educational qualifications, and ethnic minority parents.
Parents who abstained from alcohol tended not to allow their children to drink, but among those who did drink, those fathers and mothers who drank heavily were no more likely to let their children drink alcohol than light or moderate drinkers.