Brigham Young University researchers discovered that parenting styles can literally encourage alcohol use in teens. What are the alcohol statistics for teenage drinking and why is drinking alcohol linked to parenting style?
Parenting Style Influences Teenage Drinking
NPR reports on the latest finding of Brigham Young University researchers who are studying teenage drinking patterns. While acknowledging that peer relationships and associated pressure most certainly encourage initial or experimental alcohol use in teens, it is parenting style that may keep the youngsters drinking.
After surveying 5,000 teens studying in grades 7 through 12, the researchers asked about daily and weekly alcohol use, binge drinking (defined as downing five drinks in a row) and parental rule-setting.
The findings are eye-opening: “indulgent parents” produce teens who were “among the biggest abusers of alcohol.” The same held true for strict moms and dads.
Teen Alcohol Statistics
Alcohol Abuse Details acts as a clearing house for alcohol statistics as they relate to teenage drinking. The numbers are alarming:
— 11 years is the average age that boys begin experimenting with alcohol
— 13 years is the approximate age for girls to begin experimental alcohol use
— 14 years is the age when drinking alcohol for the first time likely leads to lifelong use
— 15.9 years of age identifies a teenage drinker who imbibes on a regular basis
Identifying the Indulgent or Strict Parent
The study combining teenagers and alcohol use defines “indulgent parents” as those who lavish warmth and praise onto their children but fail to supervise conduct, do not notice bad behaviors, refuse to set regularly enforced boundaries and do not dole out appropriate consequences. Teens living in these environments have a three times higher incident rate of alcohol use.
The strict parent is the mom or dad who takes rule-setting to the extreme. Mind you, it is not the presence of rules and expectations that sets up the kids for failure; the problem arises when children cannot exercise their decision-making muscles and therefore cannot make mistakes from which to learn. These children have a twice a high incident rate of binge drinking.
Are Your Driving Your Kids to Drink?
While “trust, but verify” was a Ronald Reagan catchphrase, it also serves well in the parenting years, especially when it comes to teenagers and alcohol. Parents who try too hard to be their children’s friends will likely set up the youngsters for failure.
The same holds true for the mom or dad whose rule-setting demands blind obedience. Finding a happy middle ground is a key-element in any type of parenting but especially in the area of helping kids to build personal convictions about alcohol use.
NPR: “Parenting Style Plays Key Role in Teen Drinking”
Alcohol Abuse Details: “Alcohol Abuse and Teenage Statistics”