For teenagers, friends play a big role in the decision to take that first drink … more than 65 percent have at least experimented …
Researchers at Brigham Young University found that teenagers who grow up with parents who are either too strict or too indulgent tend to binge drink more than their peers.
“While parents didn’t have much of an effect on whether their teens tried alcohol, they can have a significant impact on the more dangerous type of drinking,” says Stephen Bahr, a professor of sociology at BYU, and the author of the study that was published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
As part of the survey of 5,000 teenagers, Bahr and his colleagues asked: ” … how many had taken five or more drinks in a row in the past two weeks” says Bahr. That’s the typical definition of binge drinking.
And they asked the kids about their parents: “What kinds of rules did they have? Did their parents know where they were on weekends? Did their parents check up on their whereabouts and set curfews? How much oversight and monitoring was typical?”
Teens raised by indulgent parents (give their children lots of praise and warmth” little in the way of consequences or monitoring of bad behavior) were among the biggest abusers of alcohol and three times more likely to participate in heavy drinking. “The same was true for kids whose parents were so strict that no decision was left to the teenager’s own judgment …They were more than twice as likely to binge drink.
The parenting style that led to the lowest levels of problem drinking — balanced with both accountability and consequences for bad behavior and warmth and support.
Lots of factors contribute … “Genes play a significant role, as do peer relationships. And the teenage years can be adversarial.”
There were many articles about this study, but snoety liked that NPR also offered the following:
Aimee Stern’s free book “Delaying That First Drink. A Parent’s Guide,” downloadable as a pdf. Published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the book is intended as a teaching tool for parents and contains plenty of evidence-based information on drinking and addiction. It explains the science of alcohol — what it does to the body and the developing brain. They also suggest a series of Science Inside Alcohol lessons developed by AAAS .