Parents Beliefs And Teen Drinking

Are there benefits to offering teens alcohol?

Kids Learn at Very Young Ages by Their Environment

According to the article, Parent Attitudes, Family Dynamics and Adolescent Drinking: Qualitative Study of the Australian Parenting Guidelines for Adolescent Alcohol Use (2012), Conor Gilligan and Kypros Kypri list a variety of elements that can influence under-age drinking. A few of these factors are, parent's behavior towards alcohol, direct conversation with teens about alcohol consumption, rules and discipline regarding drinking, and the level of communication and involvement with teens. These behaviors can have impacts on children as early as their pre-school years and continue through adolescence.

The authors report that it is best to wait to give children alcohol for as long as possible, especially before the agae of 15.

Rules, Relationships, and Monitoring of Teens Activities

The authors report that the quality of relationships with children directly impacts whether teens choose to drink and the amount of alcohol they consume as they get older. Monitoring teens behavior does not necessarily mean that teen drinking will be delayed, however, the authors report that teens who are closely monitored consume less alcohol in their later years.

Children who are offered alcohol at home are reported to start drinking at an earlier age!

Most Parents are on the Same Page with Efforts to Reduce Under-Age Drinking

Parents generally believe that drinking is inevitable, so they feel that providing alcohol at home is a safer alternative versus drinking with peers; and thus can reduce teen alcohol consumption. The authors concluded that this approach is not recommended. It was reported that girls who were offered alcohol at home during adolescence, drank more in their first semester of college. Parents supplying alcohol to teens, directly increases risky under-age drinking.

Although many parents have the same challenges with teenagers, the authors encourage parents to communicate effectively with their teens about drinking, and to be in contact with the parents of their teen's friends to collaborate efforts to reduce under-age drinking.


Gilligan, C. & Kypri, K. (2012) Parent attitudes, family dynamics and adolescent drinking; qualitative study of the Australian parenting guidelines for adolescent alcohol use. BMC Public Health, 12(491). doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-12-491