UB professor’s research raises concerns about letting kids try alcohol

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — New research from a UB psychologist raises red flags about allowing your kids to test alcohol.

The “sip and taste” approach is more common than you probably think.

Most research shows 1/3 of kids will taste alcohol with their parents’ permission before they turn 12.

Professor Craig Colder says “Most parents think this is a protective strategy. They think it’s an effective way of teaching kids how to manage drinking as they get older and get into drinking without permission, and it turns out not to be the case.”

Colder’s research on teens and alcohol was just published in the journal “Addictive Behaviors.”

Colder studied a group of about 750 teens in Erie County. He started interviewing them when they were between 10 and 12, and checked up on them annually for seven years.

Those who tested alcohol with their parents grew up to be heavier drinkers. They drink more frequently, and when they drink, they drink more.

“I think part of what sipping and tasting does is it conveys certain attitudes about alcohol use, that alcohol, particularly underage drinking, is maybe permissible, that it’s an okay thing to do,” Colder says. “It probably changes the way that kids assess the risk of drinking.”

Professor Colder encourages parents to think about what they’re conveying when they let kids “sip and taste” alcohol.

His research shows teens start drinking without parental permission by the time they turn 13 or 14.

Read a summary of the research here.

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