A new study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs finds that kids who are given sips of alcohol when they’re 12 or younger are more likely to drink in high school. Children who had sipped alcohol by 6th grade, the study claims, were five times more likely to drink in high school–and four times more likely to binge drink. This is backed up by countless studies (and millennia of intuition) that have shown the enormous, unrivaled power of parents in influencing what kids think is okay to do. If Dad is drinking a couple of martinis a night and giving you a sip once in a while, guess what? (In other breaking news, kids given candy ate candy when they got older.)
The Brown University study began with the assumption that it is “unclear whether consumption of minor amounts of alcohol (less than a full drink) at a young age is prognostic of risk behaviors in later adolescence.” Indeed, other studies have claimed that it’s hard to prove a correlation between children being given alcohol at a young age and increased risk for alcoholism and binge drinking. Kelly Wallace at CNN explored the drinking at home with your kids issue last year–with lots of parents saying they thought it was a fine idea. This new study could shake those beliefs.