British parents are rewarding kids’ good behaviour with alcohol

By Daisy Meager/ Munchies Vice

Back when you were a kid, if you got good grades at school or managed to stick to your weeknight curfew, the most you could probably count on was a gruff “well done” from your dad. Maybe your favourite tea or some extra pocket money that week, if you were really good.

But if the results of a new parenting survey are to be believed, today’s kids have it very different. Carried out by insurance company Churchill, the new research claims that a third of parents are using alcohol to reward their children for good behaviour.

Out of the 1,005 parents surveyed—all of whom had children aged five to 17-years-old—Churchill found that 49 percent let kids under 14 drink alcohol at home. Over half let children aged between 16 and 17-years-old consume booze.

And, of those parents who allowed their kids to drink in the home, 34 percent said they did so to encourage good behaviour. Forty-two percent even said they used alcohol to praise good results at school

That’s one way to get them aiming for an “A”

The legal age to buy and consume alcohol on licensed premises in the UK is 18, but it’s not against the law for children aged five to 16 to drink booze in the home or other private premises. Some parenting studies even argue that allowing children to drink alcohol at home acts as a safe introduction to the substance. Indeed, 32 percent of those surveyed by Churchill said they gave their children booze so that they could monitor their intake.

Official advice from the NHS’s chief medical officer, however, is that children should not start to consume alcohol under they are at least 15-years-old—in or outside of the home.

Despite this directive, and warnings from the NHS that drinking under the age of 14 is associated with “increased health risks, including alcohol-related injuries, involvement in violence, and suicidal thoughts and attempts,” the Churchill survey found that 11 percent of parents let children aged between five and seven consume alcohol.

Sarah Jarvis, medical advisor to Drinkaware, told Munchies that parents should realise the impact they can have on their children’s drinking habits.

She said in a statement: “As a parent, you have more influence than you might think. Your child is likely to come to you first for information and advice about alcohol, and you can help shape their attitudes and behaviour towards alcohol by being a role model for responsible drinking.”