United Kingdom: HALF of parents let children under 14 drink alcohol at home to ‘reward school achievements and stop them rebelling’
The Daily Mail
By Rosie Taylor
August 18, 2016
Half of parents allow their children to booze at home before the age of 14, new research has revealed.
One in ten parents who let their children have alcohol at home once a month while some let them drink every day.
It is not illegal for children aged from five upwards to drink in the home or on private premises.
But health officials have warned parents to keep children away from alcohol until they are at least 15 years old.
Youngsters who drink before they are 14 are more at risk of health problems, alcohol-related injuries, becoming involved in violence and attempting suicide, the Chief Medical Officer has reported.
Shockingly, 11 per cent of around 1,000 parents surveyed by Churchill Home Insurance admitted letting their children to drink at home from as young as five to seven years old.
Nearly six in ten parents of teenagers aged 16 and 17 let them consume alcohol at home, with one in ten saying they do so on a weekly basis.
It seems many parents allow their children to drink in the house as a way of trying to control or monitor their behaviour.
More than a third of those who let their children have booze at home said they did so to stop them ‘rebelling’.
Another third said it allowed them to keep track on how much alcohol their children drank.
Around a quarter said they saw nothing wrong with their children drinking alcohol, and one in ten said they made alcohol available at home because stricter age checks meant children could not buy it themselves.
Parents were most likely to let under-14s drink at special family occasions, with 57 per cent saying they would allow this.
But 42 per cent said they would give children booze to reward them if they had done well at school.
A quarter let them drink when they had friends round and a fifth allowed drinking among under-14s before a night out.
The survey showed one in five parents also let other people’s children drink in their home.
One in seven parents has witnessed their child have an accident while drunk, with one in twenty saying their child had suffered a serious injury such as a broken bone or concussion.
Just under one in ten of the adults who let other people’s children drink at their house had seen them injured while under the influence of alcohol.
But despite the dangers, children are still better off drinking while supervised.
Separate research by alcohol education charity Drinkaware found 40 per cent of children aged 10 to 17 who drank without adults present suffered alcohol-related harm.
This was compared to just eight per cent of children who were supervised.
Just under half of 10 to 17 year olds admitted drinking without supervision, but more than half of children who drank said they did so to fit in.
Dr Sarah Jarvis, of Drinkaware, said underage drinking increases the chances of brain and liver damage, accidents and violent behaviour.
She added: ‘It’s best to talk to your child about the risks associated with drinking. As a parent, you have more influence than you might think.
‘Your child is likely to come to you first for information and advice about alcohol, and you can help shape their attitudes and behaviour towards alcohol by being a role model for responsible drinking.’
Martin Scott, head of Churchill home insurance, said: ‘Many parents want their children to have a responsible attitude to drinking and introduce alcohol in a safe, controlled environment.
‘The challenge any parent will recognise is how to prevent excessive drinking, especially amongst teenagers.’
Government figures show the proportion of 11 to 15 year olds who have ever drunk alcohol has been declining since 2003 and was a record low of 38 per cent in 2014.