Teenage drink­ing warn­ing

Broome Advertiser - - Happenings - Cathy O'Leary

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.

Pic­ture: Jack An­der­son

Par­ents should clearly state they do not ap­prove of binge drink­ing.

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