Should Parents Give Alcohol to Their Underage Teens?

This topic has been brought to the forefront in recent months from a study that suggests that parents that serve their adolescent kids alcohol are asking for trouble. The study looked at parents who gave their underage children the occasional sip and ones that gave them full glasses of beer or wine. 1,927 Australian teenagers from the ages of 12-18 were supervened for six years to see the results of what happened if they received alcohol from their parents or what happened if they did not.

Although parents may have the intention of teaching their teenagers to be responsible drinkers they may be doing more harm than good. The findings with the study were astonishing because although giving full glasses of spirits is probably worse than allowing sips, there was no difference in the later consequences.

  • Teenagers want to have “cool” parents, but their parents are their guiding forces in how they model drinking to their kids. 3 out of 4 teens have professed that their parent’s example has led them to making decisions with own drinking.
  • Parental procurement of alcohol did not make any difference in whether the youth was responsible or not. Having a safe place to drink just gave binge drinkers a chance to abuse alcohol and teach their friends how to as well.
  • When parents supplied alcoholic drinks to their kids, the teens were found to be more than twice as likely to manifest symptoms of alcohol addiction or to binge drink then to those teenagers that had no access at all.
  • Teens that received alcohol from their parents were more likely to obtain alcohol from others than the teenagers that did not receive alcohol at all. The teens that got alcohol from their parents were not as afraid to go out and look for alcohol from other sources. Once they figured out how to do it, they would then turn around and show other youth their methods.

Nearly 200,000 teenagers pay a visit to emergency rooms around the country each year due to mishaps with alcohol. While education about alcohol abuse should start at home, that does not mean that the consumption also must.


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