Kampala - A Ugandan Catholic priest has urged parents to allow their children to taste alcohol in a bid to teach them self-control as he believes that alcohol abuse and not alcohol alone is the problem, The Daily Monitor reports.
Reverend Stephen Sserunjogi of Lubaga Cathedral Parish said that children who were above the age of 18 needed to experience the taste of alcohol and decide for themselves if it was good or bad.
He said that merely warning children off alcohol would not be enough to teach them not to abuse alcohol.
"It doesn’t help at all for parents to always talk badly about alcohol and telling their children never to taste it. Instead let them allow kids to sip some little beer or wine but instead advise them never to take too much of it and alert them of the consequences that this might bring,” Lubaga said.
A parishioner supported the reverend's claims, saying that a child's natural reaction would be to want to taste the drink that they were always being warned to stay away from.
He added that even the Bible stated that Jesus turned water into wine for people to enjoy.
However, a study from the Centre for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University in the US found that children who started sipping alcohol at an early age were four times more likely to binge-drink, or get drunk during high school.
The study emphasised that there was no significant evidence to support the claim but said that parents who let their children sip alcohol from an early age, might be sending mixed-messages.
A Dutch study of 428 families found that the more children drank at home with their families, the more likely they were to drink outside of their home and more likely to report to having drinking problems.
The Guardian reported that there seemed to be no evidence that suggested that allowing children to drink from a young age would protect them from binge drinking, it may even have the opposite effect.
- News 24