Is it okay to let your children taste alcohol at home?

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A sip of champagne on New Year’s Eve. A taste of beer to curb some curiosity. A glass of wine at the holiday dinner table.

Researchers are trying to figure out how these experiences impact a child’s relationship with alcohol down the road.


A recent study found that parents believe that supplying a small quantity of alcohol will protect their children from unsupervised alcohol use with their friends.

In a recent blog on the New York Times website, the author of a 2014 study at the University of Pittsburgh said, “Child sipping is related to earlier initiation of drinking, which is a risk factor for a lot of other problem behaviors.”

“Parents should not be providing alcohol to their kids,” John E. Donovan, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, said in an email to Perri Klass, M.D.

Another study published in 2015 found that children who had tried alcohol before sixth grade — at home and given to them by parents — were more likely to have had full drinks or gotten drunk by the beginning of ninth grade.

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