While research into the health risks of alcohol on a developing brain was in, some parents wonder if the European-style of drinking — introducing drink to children around the dinner table with family — would result in a better relationship with the substance later on.
In Italy, where wine is seen as a central part of the nation’s cultural identity, primary school children are set to be taught about wine, its history, and how to drink responsibly.
But experts do not think that approach would be wise for Australians given the nation’s cultural relationship with grog.
Australia’s legal drinking age is 18 years old, while each state has its own laws about supplying minors with alcohol in a private setting.
Professor Ann Roche, from National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction at Flinders University, said Australians’ relationship with alcohol was vastly different from many European cultures.
“I think it is very perplexing for people … when you look at one culture and one context such as Italy — where alcohol is often introduced at a very young age — often diluted with water and used in a very different way,” she said.
“The dominate culture in Australia and our relationship with alcohol is very, very different to say, growing up in an Italian family or a French family, where important things such as intoxication are absolutely frowned upon.
“Whereas intoxication around alcohol is not only the norm in many instances … it is very highly tolerated [in Australia].”
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