Teens And Alcohol: Parents Who Offer Drinks To Adolescents Are Not Helping Them
In many countries, parents give alcohol to minors as a means to introduce them to drinking responsibly, operating under the belief that it will help protect them from the dangers of heavy alcohol use. Teens And Alcohol.
According to a new Australian study, however, parents are mistaken if they believe that providing their teenagers with alcohol reduces the risks associated with drinking.
Moreover, the practice tends to do more harm than good – teens who received alcohol from their parents were more likely, not less likely than their peers to find it elsewhere.
Lead author Richard Mattick, University of New South
“Our study is the first to analyze parental supply of alcohol and its effects in detail in the long term, and finds that it is, in fact, associated with risks when compared to teenagers not given alcohol.”
He added the findings “[reinforce] the fact that alcohol consumption leads to harm, no matter how it is supplied.”
For the study, Mattick and his research team following over 1,900 teenage Australians aged 12-18 over a period of six years. During the study period, as the teens aged, the number of those who received alcohol from their parents increased from 15% to an incredible 57%. Moreover, those who were not given access to alcohol decreased from 81% to 21%.
By the end of the study, 81%, or roughly 4 out of 5 teenagers (632/784) who received alcohol from both their parents and others reported binge drinking, which is defined as more than four drinks at a single occasion.
Comparatively, binge drinking was reported by 62% (224/361) of teens who obtained alcohol only from other people, and 25% (33/132) of those who received alcohol from their parents only.
Also, researchers discovered that teenagers whose parents gave them alcohol in one year were twice as likely to obtain it somewhere else in the following year.
These findings reveal that parents aren’t helping their teenagers use alcohol responsibly by offering it to them – doing so does not mitigate the risk of them obtaining in elsewhere.
Critically, alcohol is the #1 risk factor for disability and death among 15-24-year-olds globally, according to a journal news release. Also, adolescence is a time when problems with drinking are most likely to develop.
“While governments focus on prevention through school-based education and enforcement of legislation on legal age for buying and drinking alcohol, parents go largely unnoticed.”
“Parents, policymakers, and clinicians need to be made aware that parental provision of alcohol is associated with risk, not with protection…”
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology