Oct 04

“No Proven Strategy” for Parents to Teach Kids Responsible Drinking, Says Study

Parents who wish to teach their children about responsible drinking have their work cut out for them, says a new study.

One of the paper’s authors, Dr. Ken Winters, a psychiatry professor at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, explained that the lead author of the paper, Dr. Övgü Kaynak, was in discussions with the other authors and realized that there was a “great need to examine the issue of parents providing alcohol to teens through the research lens. Is ‘social hosting’ a teenage party or drinking with one’s child such a good idea?”

Researchers examined 22 studies that looked at the association between parental provision and adolescent drinking. They found that parents who provided alcohol were associated with increased adolescent alcohol use, and, in some cases, increased heavy drinking as well as higher rates of alcohol-related problems.

While other studies have looked at different ways in which parents directly affect adolescent alcohol consumption by either offering it to them or allowing them to use, this review summarizes the findings on the direct ways parents giving adolescents alcohol can influence their alcohol use and related issues.

“There is no proven or reliable strategy for parents who wish to teach a child to drink responsibly,” Winters explained. “An occasional sip of alcohol or a very small glass of alcohol for a later-aged teenager in the comfort of the home and with a supervised adult does not have to be harmful. But we advise against the notion that a parent can teach a child to drink heavily and get intoxicated, and yet somehow learn to be safe and avoid hazards.”

So, the best idea, Winters says, is to try to get teens to wait until the legal age of 21 to drink.


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