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Parents should give weekly alcohol allowance

9th October 2009

A study has suggested that parents should give their teenage children a weekly allowance of alcohol in a bid to keep them away from drink-fuelled sex and violence.

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Researchers from Liverpool John Moores University questioned 10,000 youngsters in the north-west of England aged 15 and 16.

They found that more of those quizzed got into trouble when they bought cheap alcohol rather than when given it by their parents. A third experienced violence when drunk and 12.5% reported sexual encounters they regretted.

Some 35.8% had drunk in public places like parks and shopping centres and 45.3% had suffered forgetfulness after drinking.

The study suggested that carefully introducing children to alcohol would prepare them for adult life in an environment dominated by drink.

Study leader Professor Mark Bellis said: “Those parents who choose to allow children aged 15 to 16 years to drink may limit harm by restricting consumption to lower frequencies - for example, to no more than once a week - and under no circumstances permitting binge drinking.

“However, parental efforts should be matched by genuine legislative and enforcement activity to reduce independent access to alcohol by children and to increase the price of cheap alcohol products."

Findings from studies in 2006 and 2007 found that teenagers who drank alcohol with their parents in moderation were less likely to binge drink.

The findings have been published in the journal BMC Public Health.

Researchers suggest that parents who tried to impose alcohol bans might only shift the problem away from the family into the street.

 

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