Thursday, December 16, 2010

Parents Give Teens Alcohol

The discussion about the drinking age comes up with some frequency in my classes for parents with adolescents and teens. It can be a challenge that many parents face. Yet, one recent study found that parents are in fact the source of alcohol for many teens today.

Using surveys of sixth, seventh and eighth graders from a middle school in urban Chicago, researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University of Florida studied alcohol use and sources of alcohol among these young teens. It’s common to hear about kids with fake ID’s who have been able to purchase alcohol and get into clubs, or older siblings and neighbors who provide alcohol to younger children. However, according to this study, social sources including family and friends were the most likely source of alcohol for these underage drinkers. In addition, parents were the primary source of alcohol to the middle school students in this study.

By the time they were in 8th grade, these students had increased their access to other sources, and were “taking alcohol from home, and getting alcohol from other adults, individuals under 21, and commercial sources”.

The researchers concluded that their findings reinforce the importance of educating parents about the impacts of providing alcohol to their children and their children’s friends. They recommended that parents who consume alcohol should be vigilant about locking up or monitoring alcohol in their homes. They also suggest that parents who provide their children with alcohol for special occasions or religious events should consider the subsequent effects, including increased risk behaviors associated with early acceptance of alcohol.

So if you’re considering supplying (or already supply) alcohol to your underage teens and their friends, you might want to consider the consequences.

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