Ever feel like you have no control over what your teens do? You may have more of an influence than you think ‘” particularly when it comes to adolescent alcohol abuse. Alcohol use among teens and adolescents is a mounting problem in this country – and binge drinking is growing right along with it.
Recent surveys estimate that one in three high school seniors participate in at least one episode of binge drinking before they graduate from high school. Not only is this practice dangerous short term, binge drinking adolescents have a greater chance of growing into adults with substance abuse problems. How much control do parents have over adolescent alcohol use? According to a new study, more than most parents think. It may all come down to parenting style.
Parenting Styles and Adolescent Alcohol Use
Moms and dads who have an indulgent parenting style could have a more difficult time keeping their adolescent off of alcohol. According to a study conducted at Brigham Young University, an authoritative parenting style may be the key to discouraging adolescent alcohol use. They came to this conclusion after surveying almost 5,000 kids between the ages of twelve and nineteen and recording their responses about home life and alcohol use.
This study showed that adolescents raised by moms and dads with authoritative parenting styles were less likely to become binge drinking adolescents or drink alcohol heavily – compared to those who had more indulgent parents. In fact, kids with indulgent parents were three times more likely to become binge drinking adolescents than those with authoritative parents.
Parenting Styles: Authoritative vs. Permissive Style Parenting
Authoritative parents, in this study, were parents who offered warmth and loving support, but also set limits and had at least a moderate degree of control over their teen’s behavior. Indulgent parents are ones who are warm and loving towards their kids, but exerted less control over their kids and required them to have less accountability. Kids with neglectful parents in this study were also more likely to become heavy alcohol users. These were parents who offered neither warmth nor accountability.
Parenting Styles and Binge Drinking Adolescents: The Bottom Line?
If you want to reduce the risk of your child becoming a binge drinking adolescent, don’t be an overly indulgent parent – or a neglectful one. Kids need parents who are warm and loving, but not ones who won’t hold them accountable for their actions. Adolescents need clear guidelines regarding what’s acceptable behavior and what’s not – and they need to be accountable for their actions. Drinking alcohol and other forms of substance abuse are behaviors should be clearly off limits – and teens need to know that parents are watching. It could save their life.