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Parents ‘let children have drink at age 13’

THE average age at which parents in the UK allow their children to have an alcoholic drink is 13, a study has found.

The poll for the charity Drinkaware found that half of the ten- to 17-year-olds who had had a drink said their parents had supplied the alcohol, making adults the most common source.

Seventy-two per cent of children said they would turn to their parents first for advice on alcohol, while 43 per cent of parents worried that their child’s friends had a greater influence on drinking behaviour than they did.

Last month, Central Scotland Police warned that parents could face prosecution if they allowed their children to drink at home.

Of the young people polled who had drunk alcohol, a majority (55 per cent) were with their parents the last time they had a drink.

However, while 83 per cent of parents said it was important to talk to their children about alcohol, nearly a third (32 per cent) admitted shortcomings in their understanding about its effects.

The Ipsos Mori survey involved online interviews with 1,026 parents and 519 youngsters.

Drinkaware chief executive Chris Sorek said: “These findings will help to reassure parents that their children are more likely to go to them for advice about alcohol than their peers.”

Carrie Longton, co-founder of advice website Mumsnet and a member of the Mumtank panel, said: “Talking to children about alcohol can be a complex and tricky issue, and we know that there is concern about when and how to best tackle the subject.

“Mumtank is all about raising awareness amongst parents of the importance of opening up a dialogue about alcohol with their children earlier rather than later, as well as arming parents with useful factual information tips and advice.”

 

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