Sadly, the message around “kids should not drink until they are 18-21” seems to be lost on Australian and New Zealand parents.
The bottom line was that “Australian-born parents living in areas with a high number of bottle shops are the most likely to buy alcohol for their teenage children”.
The National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines are consistent and recommend that “children not drink before the age of 18”.
“Many parents believe that providing alcohol to their child to take to parties or drink at a meal is more responsible than restricting them from consuming alcohol. This is not the case. The evidence in which these guidelines are based upon show that the earlier a young person starts drinking alcohol the more likely they are to experience injuries and harms, poor academic outcomes, and possibly impaired brain development. In the long-term there are also links with a variety of cancers and diseases and a greater chance the child will drink at harmful levels in adulthood. These are good reasons for children to avoid alcohol before the age of 18”
Dr Bosco Rowland, Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Deakin University, Australia, 2014.
The study of over 10,000 Victorian secondary students 12-17 years, found:
- When both parents are born in Australia every bottle shop in their area doubles the likelihood that they will supply alcohol for their teens
- 55% of the teenagers had consumed alcohol in the 12 month period studied
- 34% reported that the alcohol was supplied by their parents
- Rates of teen binge drinking were reduced by 25% when parents set rules not to supply or allow adolescent alcohol use
Study by B. Rowland, J.W. Toumbourou, L. Satyen, M. Livingston and J. Williams “The relationship between the density of alcohol outlets and parental supply of alcohol to adolescents” at Deakin’s School of Psychology, Deakin University, Australia, as published in the journal Addictive Behaviors, 2014.