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Childhood alcoholism source discovered

April 27, 2010

Science, that terrible buzzkill, is at it again. From USA Today:

Middle-schoolers who are forbidden to watch R-rated movies are less likely to start drinking than peers whose parents are more lenient about such films, new research on 2,406 children shows.

Researchers at Dartmouth Medical School found that among those whose parents let them watch R-rated movies “all the time,” almost a quarter had tried a drink without their parents’ knowledge. That compares with barely 3% who tried a drink among those who were “never allowed” to watch R-movies.

Am I the only one who finds this a little suspect? I’m sure the smartypants(es?) up at Dartmouth dotted all their I’s and crossed all their T’s on this, but all I can think of is my father’s post-divorce willingness to take us to literally any movie that interested him. Seriously. Like this, this, this, this, this, this, and, I kid you not, this. I could go on. And I took my first drink around 18, tentatively. I didn’t start drinking regularly until my late 20s, and I was never really that into it. Until I had kids, that is.

I’m only one person, of course, but the point is that not all kids are created equal, and neither are all R-rated movies. You won’t catch me showing Death Wish 3 to my 10-year-old (like someone I could mention), but on the other hand, if your precocious 12- or 15-year-old got interested in, say, the Holocaust, wouldn’t you at least consider showing him Schindler’s List? It’s hard to imagine him walking out of that with a strong desire to start knocking back Jim Beam after soccer practice.

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