Alcohol Warnings by Parents Make a Difference

Alcohol Warnings by Parents Make a Difference

Parenting style strongly and directly affects teens when it comes to heavy drinking, defined as having five or more drinks in a row, according to a study by Brigham Young University. Unlike previous research, this study distinguished between any alcohol consumption and heavy drinking. Researchers found the following interesting results:

•The teens least prone to heavy drinking had parents who scored high on both accountability and warmth.

•Teens with “indulgent” parents, those low on accountability and high on warmth, had triple the risk of heavy drinking.

•Teens with “strict” parents – high on accountability and low on warmth – were more than twice as likely to engage in heavy drinking.   

Peers along with the general popularity and acceptability of drinking in society strongly influence a young person’s experimentation with social alcohol use. Fortunately, parents can have a significant impact on the more dangerous type of drinking, binge drinking, and there is considerable value to consistent and sustained parental discussions about drinking also.

New research by University at Buffalo indicates parenting practices and restrictions when it comes to alcohol use can make a big difference with adolescent drinking risk.

Psychologist Craig Colder claimed:

“What our data are suggesting is that you can’t control all of your kids’ decisions, but you can help them to make good choices in situations where alcohol is available. You want kids to think about and reflect upon the pros and cons of drinking based on your previous discussions.”    

This study, however, shows that those same parents who communicate the risks of alcohol use with their young children are often less likely to continue those discussions as their kids get older, a result suggesting that parents shouldn’t underestimate the impact of maintaining their messaging as their children move through adolescence. A parent’s attitude affects a kid’s attitude, and subsequently their future drinking.

It is important for parents to talk to children about the dangers associated with alcohol abuse, but they should continue to warn them about the dangers and their expectations through young adulthood (the college years). Prevention of binge drinking through education is a great tool that can be effective. Private addiction treatment centers can provide family guidance and a personal treatment plan for recovery from drinking that has already become a problem. Early intervention can prevent a lifetime of alcohol related illnesses.


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