Teen Drinking: Why Parents Need to Be Mindful of Alcohol Consumption for Teenagers During Prom Season by Mei Marcie
Prom season has kicked off, and one issue for parents to be mindful of is alcohol consumption. While having a sip or two may seem harmless, underage drinking is a serious public health problem in the U.S., and parents need to be aware of the risk factors that may push an "innocent drink" to excessive alcohol consumption. Statistics from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) show that 22.8 percent of adolescents reported drinking by 8th grade, and 46.3 percent said they were drunk at least once by 12th grade.
Contrary to what some parents may believe, research shows that teens and young adults do believe their parents should have a say in whether they drink alcohol. Authoritative parents who discipline with high warmth and responsiveness are most likely to raise children who do not misuse alcohol. Besides parenting styles, other factors include:
- Modeling: In general, adolescents are less likely to drink heavily if their parents drink responsibly themselves and have strict rules against drinking at a young age.
- Genetics: A child with a parent who has a drinking problem is more likely to also develop an alcohol problem.
- Obedience: About 80 percent of adolescents believe they should listen to their parents when it comes to drinking and smoking.
Given the above factors, the NIAAA has the following suggestions for parents:
- Talk early and often with children and teens about alcohol consumption.
- Establish policies early on, and be consistent in the boundaries to be respected.
- Work with other parents and stay involved with your children.
- Work in and with the community to promote dialogue and actions.
- Be aware of your state’s laws about providing alcohol to your own children.
- Never provide alcohol to someone else’s child.
Given the risks of alcohol and that it remains a problem among adolescents, parents should be mindful of helping children and adolescents make a sound and healthy decision on alcohol consumption.
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