One In Four Parents Gives Kids Booze to Celebrate, Survey Says

By Shawn Dwyer 06/25/14

Whether celebrating the end of exams or a holiday, one in four parents in the UK like to get their teen drunk.

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According to a study conducted by Drinkaware, a UK-based organization that promotes alcohol awareness, nearly one in four parents gives their children alcohol to celebrate after taking exams.

Outside the exam period, however, 54% of parents admitted to giving their child an alcoholic drink, while 86% reported that they would let their child drink if asked. Children between the ages of 14-17 were given, on average, nine units of alcohol—the equivalent of four cans of beer, a full bottle of wine, or third of a bottle of vodka.

“The average amount some parents are providing is equivalent to a whole bottle of wine, and that is more than enough to get a 15-year-old drunk,” said Elaine Hindal, chief executive of Drinkaware. “No parent wants to think of their child out on their own being drunk and vulnerable, but effectively that is what we could be facilitating by giving alcohol as a reward.”

The Local Alcohol Profiles for England (LAPE), which is a part of Public Health England, found that between 2010 and 2013 more than 15,000 children under the age of 18 were admitted to the hospital for various alcohol-related conditions or injuries. And while parents were generally aware that the drinking age in England was 18, as many as 20% said they had no awareness of a drinking age and were equally unaware of the medical dangers of alcohol on a child’s health.

Hindal warned parents about the legal and medical issues of parents giving a child booze. “It is illegal for parents to purchase alcohol on behalf of someone under 18,” she said. “Worse still, it normalizes a culture of excessive drinking among young people.”

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.