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Reposted from the Grant Haliburton Foundation Newsletter:
|Many believe that allowing teens to drink alcohol with parental supervision teaches them to use alcohol responsibly and protects them from developing unhealthy drinking habits.|
|However, a new study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that teens allowed to drink with an adult present are more likely to suffer harmful consequences from drinking than teens who are not allowed to drink at all.|
To test how the parent-supervised alcohol policy and the zero tolerance policy are related to teen drinking, researchers surveyed more than 1,900 seventh graders, half from Victoria, Australia, and half from Washington State.
By eighth grade, about 67% of the Australian teens and 35% of the U.S. teens had consumed alcohol with an adult present, reflecting cultural attitudes toward underage drinking in each location.
By ninth grade, 36% of the Australian teens in the study had experienced alcohol-related consequences such as injuries, fighting, sexual activity they later regretted, and not being able to stop drinking. About 21% of the American teens reported the same. So, regardless of where they were from, teens allowed to drink with parental supervision were more likely to face alcohol-related problems later.
Based on the results of the study, the authors encourage parents to adopt a “no-use” policy for young adolescents. Allowing teens to drink under supervision sends a mixed message and can actually encourage kids to drink.
|“Kids need parents to be parents and not drinking buddies,” said Barbara McMorris, Ph.D., the study’s lead researcher. “Adults need to be clear about what messages they are sending. Kids need black-and-white messages early on. Such messages will help reinforce limits as teens get older and opportunities to drink increase.”|
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