Education news

Under age drinking warning as study finds sixth of parents let young drink at 14

Wine is often shared at the dinner table during the festive season

PARENTS who are employed, have more educational qualifications, and who take alcohol are more likely to allow their school-age children to drink, a study has found.

Health experts have warned of the dangers of under age drinking after a study revealed one in six parents allow their children to drink alcohol at the age of 14.

Well-educated parents of white children were most likely to allow their children to drink at 14, the research by the UCL Institute of Education and Pennsylvania State University in the US found.

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.

As wine is often shared at the dinner table during the festive season, 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.

After analysing data on more than 10,000 children born in Britain and Northern Ireland at the turn of the new century, they found that 17 per cent of parents let their children drink alcohol by the age of 14.

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.

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