Posts Tagged ‘ teen drinking ’

Letting Kids Sip Alcohol May Lead to Heavy Teen Drinking

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Girl grabbing alcoholAllowing your child to sip a glass of Chardonnay at the next family gathering may not be as harmless as you once thought. The latest research suggests that children who are allowed occasional tastes of alcohol are more likely to start drinking once they’re in high school.

Research was collected from 561 Rhode Island students who were periodically surveyed over three years, beginning in sixth grade (approximately 11 years old). At the start 26 percent of the children said they had sipped alcohol, and that it was commonly provided to them by a parent. And about 40 percent of kids were first introduced to wine while 35 percent were introduced to beer.

The study, which was conducted by Brown University and published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, concluded that children who had sipped alcohol by sixth grade were five times more likely than their peers to consume a full alcoholic drink in ninth grade, and four times more likely to have binged on alcohol or been drunk. Surprisingly, even when variables like problematic child behavior or a parent’s heavy drinking habits were controlled, the same patterns still existed.

The US has one of the highest binge drinking rates in the world, while Europe has a more casual, social attitude toward drinking. Experts usually chalk this difference up to cultural differences, but these findings clearly dispute the European-based beliefs that introducing alcohol in a calm, family setting at a young age will lessen the forbidden-but-tempting nature of alcohol later on.

Professor David J. Hanson, who has researched alcohol-consumption behaviors for over 40 years, told TODAY, “It isn’t the fact that alcohol went down their gullet [that caused teen drinking]. It’s what meaning the alcohol has to them and what their expectations are about it. These are really important things.”

If you do let your kid sample your drink in the future, avoid being too lenient about experimentation, which can lead to mixed messages and confusion. Instead, deliver very clear and consistent messages about alcohol by asserting that kids follow the rules for drinking legally at age 21.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

How to Talk to Kids About Alcohol
How to Talk to Kids About Alcohol
How to Talk to Kids About Alcohol

Image: Girl grabbing alcohol via Shutterstock

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Study: Teen Drinking Influenced by Wide Social Circle

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

A new study has found that teenagers are pressured to drink by a wide social circle–the friends of their boyfriends or girlfriends, rather than the romantic partners themselves.  The research, which was published in the journal American Sociological Review, found that “second-degree friends,” or friends of boyfriends or girlfriends, had the strongest influence over teen drinking of any group of peers.

CNN.com reports:

Why? Dating introduces adolescents to new and different social networks and also creates a kind of indirect peer pressure, says lead researcher Derek Kreager, Ph.D., an associate professor of crime, law, and justice at Pennsylvania State University, in University Park.

A teen’s longtime friends tend to be like-minded when it comes to values and lifestyle, but romantic partners are more likely to come from a different circle.

“Think of your son or daughter’s new significant other as a bridge to a whole other group that he or she is now going to be exposed to,” Kreager says.

When teenagers begin dating, they tend to meet in the middle when it comes to habits like drinking. If a teen girl who has yet to experiment with alcohol starts dating a boy who drinks often, for instance, the boy is likely to cut back while the girl is likely to give drinking a try.

“He has an incentive to change, to be more like her,” Kreager explains. “On the other hand, his friends don’t really have any reason to change, so they continue drinking. Meanwhile, she has incentive to be like those friends, because that’s what appeals to her partner.”

Experts urge parents to talk to their teens about drinking and peer pressure before they start dating.  Also, parents are encouraged to get to know their teens’ friends, boy or girlfriends, and wider social circle.

(image via: http://www.drugfreehomes.org/)

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