Researchers Find Parenting Style May Affect Teen Drinking

30 December 2010

teen drinkingForgive me from the outset if you think I sound judgy here, but I sometimes just don't get how people get money for funding some research – especially when their conclusions are ridiculously common knowledge. And if they're not, the world is in a worse state than I might have thought.

Researchers at the Brigham Young University in Utah have 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.

5000 Teenagers were asked whether they had taken five or more drinks in a row in the past two weeks. They were then asked about their parents, what kind of rules they had, whether their parents knew where they were on weekends, whether they had curfews and how much 'oversight and monitoring' – read involvement – their parents had with them.

The results of the survey showed that the children of over indulgent parents, were among the biggest alcohol abusers, being around three times more likely to participate in heavy drinking. The children of overly strict parents, who never let them do anything, were more than twice as likely to follow the same behaviour.

Apparently teenagers who had the lowest levels of binge drinking behaviour were those whose parents did a little bit of both – gave their children 'warmth and support' as well as 'accountability and consequences for bad behaviour.

(The study does also say, however, that there are other things that can cause teen drinking, such as genes, peer group, and just being teenagers)

"They recognize their kids when they do good things and praise them, but they offer direction and correction when they get off a little bit," Bahr says of these parents.

So, basically, a study found that parents who are supportive and loving, and show their children the difference between right and wrong by teaching them accountability and consequences, without being too authoritarian or too indulgent have children who have less need to act out by drinking themselves into oblivion.

Please, someone tell me this isn't really news to the rest of us?

TOPICS:   News and Recalls


  • Sam
    You're bang on the money here I think. This study seems to have found out that people with abnormal parents are more likely to be abnormal in other aspects of their lives. Which is kind of obvious.
  • james d.
    Well I guess it is news to the underparenting and the overly strict
  • Lynley O.
    I wish it were that simple, as common sense that is, but so much of what we learn comes in hindsight. Apart from the truly dysfunctional, no-one sets out to parent badly. People make their choices with the best of intentions mostly, and all they have to draw on are the parenting experiences in their own lives. Is what we believe, just because the majority believe it, actually true? Hence why studies like this come into being. I think it is nice to know, empirically, that those of us who fall into the middle group and get looked down on by those who believe in being very strict are in fact doing pretty much OK!

What do you think?

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