Teenage drinking warning
Parents are kidding themselves if they believe giving alcohol to their teenagers will limit how much they drink, according to Perth researchers.
However, what can pay off for parents is making it clear they do not approve of binge drinking.
Curtin University’s National Drug Research Institute said if teenagers were given alcohol by their parents for school leavers and other social events, and they drink only that amount, they may end up drinking less compared with their peers.
But the researchers argue that often that supply is topped up by friends and other sources, and school leavers given alcohol by their parents still drink an average 15 standard drinks a day during their end-of-year celebrations.
The study of 500 Australian 17 and 18-year-olds, published in the Journal of Substance Use, found teenagers whose parents made it clear they disapproved of risky drinking were less likely to drink excessively.
Lead researcher Tina Lam said the findings confirmed the importance of parents being involved and talking about their expectations of drinking to their children.
“This study found parental disapproval of risky drinking was the most reliable protective factor against heavier alcohol consumption, and that it was effective even in environments where young people said it felt like everyone around them was drinking, such as school leaver events,” she said.
She said parents talking to their children about what they should do if they or their friends were affected by alcohol or other drugs could reduce the risk of harm.
Parents should clearly state they do not approve of binge drinking.