Adult-supervised drinking in young teens may lead to more alcohol use, consequences

Discussion in 'Parenting News' started by runawaybunny, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. runawaybunny

    runawaybunny Guest

    Allowing adolescents to drink alcohol under adult supervision does not appear to teach responsible drinking as teens get older. In fact, such a "harm-minimization" approach may actually lead to more drinking and alcohol-related consequences, according to a new study in the May 2011 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

    "Kids need parents to be parents and not drinking buddies," according to the study's lead researcher, Barbara J. McMorris, Ph.D., of the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota. Allowing adolescents to drink with adults present but not when unsupervised may send mixed signals. "Adults need to be clear about what messages they are sending."

    In general, parents tend to take one of two approaches toward teen drinking. Some allow their adolescent children to consume alcohol in small amounts on occasion if an adult is present. The thinking is that teens will learn to drink responsibly if introduced to alcohol slowly in a controlled environment. This has been the predominant approach in many countries, including Australia.

    A second approach is one of "zero tolerance" for youth drinking, meaning that teens should not be allowed to drink alcohol under any circumstances. This less permissive position is predominant in the United States, with local laws and national policies often advocating total abstinence for adolescents.

    To test how these different approaches are related to teen drinking, McMorris and colleagues from the Centre for Adolescent Health in Melbourne, Australia, and the Social Development Research Group in Seattle surveyed more than 1,900 seventh graders. About half were from Victoria, Australia; the rest were from Washington State. From seventh to ninth grade, investigators asked the youths about such factors as alcohol use, problems they had as a result of alcohol consumption, and how often had they consumed alcohol with an adult present.

    By eighth grade, about 67% of Victorian youths had consumed alcohol with an adult present, as did 35% of those in Washington State, reflecting general cultural attitudes. In ninth grade, 36% of Australian teens compared with 21% of American teens had experienced alcohol-related consequences, such as not being able to stop drinking, getting into fights, or having blackouts. However, regardless of whether they were from Australia or the United States, youths who were allowed to drink with an adult present had increased levels of alcohol use and were more likely to have experienced harmful consequences by the ninth grade.

    The researchers suggest that allowing adolescents to drink with adults present may act to encourage alcohol consumption. According to the authors, their results suggest that parents adopt a "no-use" policy for young adolescents. "Kids need black and white messages early on," says McMorris. "Such messages will help reinforce limits as teens get older and opportunities to drink increase."

    In a related study in the May issue of JSAD, researchers from The Netherlands found that, among 500 12- to -15-year olds, the only parenting factor related to adolescent drinking was the amount of alcohol available in the home. In fact, the amount of alcohol parents themselves drank was not a factor in adolescent drinking. These results suggest that parents should only keep alcohol where it is inaccessible to teens. In addition, parents should "set strict rules regarding alcohol use, particularly when a total absence of alcoholic drinks at home is not feasible," according to lead researcher Regina van den Eijnden, Ph.D., of Utrecht University in The Netherlands.

    "Both studies show that parents matter," McMorris concludes. "Despite the fact that peers and friends become important influences as adolescents get older, parents still have a big impact."

    Story Source:
    The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs

    Journal References:
    McMorris, B. J., Catalano, R. F., Kim, M. J., Toumbourou, J. W., & Hemphill, S. A. (May 2011). Influence of Family Factors and Supervised Alcohol Use on Adolescent Alcohol Use and Harms: Similarities Between Youth in Different Alcohol Policy Contexts. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 72(3), 418-428.

    van den Eijnden, R., van de Mheen, D., Vet, R., & Vermulst, A. (May 2011). Alcohol-Specific Parenting and Adolescents' Alcohol-Related Problems: The Interacting Role of Alcohol Availability at Home and Parental Rules. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 72(3), 408-417.

    This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ConductDisorders or its staff.

  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I let my son have 1/2 glass of champagne when I finished my breast cancer radiation, and 1/2 glass on NY's eve. Am I raising a moral degenerate?

    I re-read the story. What were they drinking? How much? Nobody said anyone was celebrating with-champagne. I think I am teaching my son to be a moral degenerate with-very expensive taste ...
  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I think it all depends on the circumstance.

    When I was very small, we lived in west Texas, in the desert. My Dad would send me to the fridge for a beer, and I'd take one sip while taking it to him.

    In second grade... I gave beer and chocolate chip cookies up for Lent. We weren't Catholic, but I attended a Catholic school. I'm pretty sure the nuns freaked out... But after that? I never did like beer much again. (Now chocolate chips cookies? I still love.) I do enjoy a Foster's every now and again - but a 6-pack of bottles will last me months...

    I think the celebratory half-glass is OK. That doesn't make him a drinking buddy!
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    LOL! Good. Cuz he's NOT.
  5. P-nut2004

    P-nut2004 New Member

    I have to agree with this article, I was raised by an alcoholic mom who started serving me mixed drinks at 11yo (she has also told me she would mix wine with grape juice to get me to sleep as a toddler), at about 12-13 she started giving them to friends who stayed over too. Usually they were daiquiris which made it super easy for us to feel like alcohol was fun & yummy. I remember the first time I got drunk & puked....I was 12, in 7th grade & my mom found it hilarious. I did not stop drinking frequently (by high school it was every weekend, after high school it wasn't even limited to weekends) until I had to stop because I got pregnant with C. Even after that I was still known to 'outdrink the guys' at any party has taken years for me to learn that you can enjoy alcohol without getting smashed, now I cant drink more than a few beers before I decide I'm tipsy & that's enough for me. I have also had more than my share of 'alcohol related consequences'. How I did not become a full blown alcoholic is beyond me. All of that being said, I don't think a celebratory half glass occasionally is going to cause this, I do think that parents who buy into the theory of 'teaching' a kid how to drink have it all wrong. My girls will not be allowed to drink anything alcoholic until they're atleast out of high school, if they do there will be severe consequences & at some point I will tell them my horror stories so they understand why its important to be responsible.
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Pnut, the missing link in your mother's "theory" is the "responsible" part. Laughing when you're puking is NOT a good teaching tool. Not to mention serving mixed drinks to 7th graders. Scary stuff. I'm glad you're doing better.

    Step, I can imagine the look of surprise and horror on the priest's face in the confessional when you told him you were giving up beer and chocolate chip cookies for Lent. Too funny!
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, P-nut, I thought of something else. It isn't just that your mother served mixed drinks, it was that her entire MO was drinking. IOW, it was her overall behavior that made it normal and fun to drink.
    Parents who put it into context, which means that a special occasion (say, Passover) is okay, but drinking every day is not, help kids understand how it all works. Now, some kids will go in the opposite direction when their parents are alcoholics, and be teetotalers for life. Other kids will become alcoholics themselves. But they have only extremes to choose from. What the live is given to them 24/7 in their own homes.

    Scary statistics in that article--the percentage of 9th graders who had "Experienced alcohol-related consequences." Ew.