A study of 10,000 UK children by University College London and Pennsylvania State University reports that socially advantaged parents were the most likely to allow their children to drink alcohol before the age of 14.
Of course, this wouldn’t be about buying kids a six-pack and telling them to get bladdered. It would be a glass of watered-down wine at evening meals, to get them acquainted with a more “continental” approach to civilised drinking. However, evidence suggests that even small amounts of alcohol are dangerous to children before they’re fully grown. Then there are boundaries to consider. If you take away a teenager’s chance to sneak an illicit sip, then how much alcohol, how many drugs, might it take for them to feel that they’ve rebelled? Is this really about teaching responsibility around alcohol, or about certain parents signalling their own sophistication?
Most of those socially advantaged children, washing down their pesto pasta with a slurp of Chablis, would probably end up drinking a tad more exuberantly outside the family home anyway. Of course, I could be wrong. Get back to me when all the university bars are closing for want of business.
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