Study: Family has much influence on alcohol consumption of child


Western Europe

Lennart Nijenhuis,

Child during an event where people can try wine. Photo ANP, Robin Utrecht

Children who see family members drinking alcohol have a higher chance of consuming so much that they get alcohol poisoning.

That was shown last week by the Dutch researcher Loes de Veld, as the Reformatorisch Dagblad reports. De Veld analysed statistics dating from between 2007 and 2017. She discovered that more than half of teenagers in the hospital for alcohol poisoning have an older brother or sister. That is relatively many, the Reformatorisch Dagblad writes.

Children's doctor Nico van der Lely says that younger children are more likely to show problematic behaviour, as parents are usually stricter for their older children than for the younger ones. And when the youngest children have a brother or sister who drinks alcohol, this can influence their behaviour too, Van der Lely says to Trouw.


Youth worker Anne Jan Odinga tells the Reformatorisch Dagblad that many parents do not see a problem with their child drinking alcohol. They even set up meeting hubs for the youth in the backyard if their child asks them to. In these hubs, they sell alcohol for cheaper than in the pubs, so people drink more too. In addition, no one checks what happens in these hubs. Sometimes, children as young as 14 years come to drink beer, although the legal drinking age is set at 18, Odinga says.

In addition, parents often give a bad example by drinking along. Some of them even give their children a beer when they are in primary school. "Or parents say: I did the same thing when I was younger, " Odinga says. However, he points out that the situation has changed over the years. Alcohol has become relatively cheap, and young people have more money.

---Photo ANP, Emiel Muijderman

Instead, parents should not consume alcohol in the presence of their child, says Odinga. "Show that one or two shots are sufficient. And that drinking is only because you like the taste of alcohol, but not to become drunk."


Parents must also ensure that there are alternative activities for young people besides going to a hub to drink alcohol. "Some parents say that they cannot do anything about their child's behaviour. But that is too easy. It is not difficult to organise a nice evening for your children without alcohol."



Subscribe for an update, and receive a documentary and e-book for free.

Choose your subscriptions*

You may subscribe to multiple lists.