October 5, 2010 / 12:26 PM / 9 years ago

UK parents "more relaxed" with kids' drinking

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - British parents are becoming more relaxed in their attitudes to drinking, drugs and sexuality, according to a poll Tuesday.

A man holds a glass of red wine at the Vinitaly wine expo in Verona April 8, 2010. REUTERS/Paolo Bona

Parents said that on average they would be happy for their child to start having the occasional alcoholic drink at home from the age of 13.

One parent in 10 was fine with their children drinking regularly from the age of 16 — two years below the legal age limit for buying alcohol in Britain.

The findings indicate that government health warnings over under-age drinking are falling on deaf ears.

Last year the government recommended that parents should not let their children drink any alcohol at all until they are 15.

Attitudes to illegal drugs were also relaxed, according to the poll, with 32 percent of parents saying they did not mind their child smoking cannabis as a one-off and 8 percent comfortable with them smoking the drug regularly.

A large number of parents were open to the idea that their children taking drugs was inevitable, with 30 percent believing that drug-taking was simply a part of growing up.

“The old fashioned parent is fast becoming a cultural minority as mums and dads do their best to give their kids the freedoms they did not have,” said Frank Furedi, Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent.

“As far as parents are concerned, sex, alcohol and even drugs are no longer no-go areas for their children. Families have become surprisingly open-minded about allowing their children to experiment and find their own way in life.

“Parents understand that society has changed and that it is not the end of the world if their teen-ager experiments with alcohol or has sex.”

The survey of 3,000 people to coincide with the DVD release by 20th Century Fox of the comedy “Modern Family” also revealed British parents have also become tolerant of their child’s sexuality.

Sixty-six percent of those surveyed said they would have no problem with their child being gay.

Editing by Tim Castle

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