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Teen Binge Drinking

Parenting Style a Huge Influencer on Teen Binge Drinking

Teens growing up with strict or permissive parents are far more likely to binge drink than teens from authoritative households.

Parents of teenagers may think that their words of wisdom fall on seemingly iPod deafened adolescent ears, but according to researchers at Brigham Young University in Provo, parenting style matters a great deal – and parents using an authoritative parenting style do a great deal to protect their kids from the dangers of binge drinking.

To determine this, the researchers surveyed almost 5000 teens, from the ages of 12 to 19, about their drinking history and their relationship with their parents.

They compared 3 distinct types of parenting styles to drinking outcomes: authoritative (intensive monitoring of behaviors and a warm relationship) permissive (a warm relationship with low levels of monitoring) and strict (very tight monitoring but little warmth. They found that:

  • Teens brought up in homes with permissive parents were 3 times more likely to binge drink than teens from authoritative households.
  • Teens living in homes with strict parents were twice as likely as teens with authoritative parents to binge drink.
  • Teens who attended religious services or ranked religion as important in the survey were less likely to try alcohol at all.

The researchers say that although teens from households with differing parenting styles are equally prone to trying alcohol, that authoritative parenting certainly seems protective against very risky drinking behaviors, like binge drinking.

Lead researcher Stephen Bahr advises, “Parents need to realise you need to have both accountability and support in your relationship with adolescents. Make sure that it's not just about controlling their behaviour - you need to combine knowing how they spend their time away from home with a warm, loving relationship.”

The full research results can be examined in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

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