Friday, July 16, 2010

Sue Scheff: Teen Drinking - Could Parents Be Influencing Teens?

Parenting teens is a challenge, no one can dispute that.  Keeping up with the text lingo and the drugs that kids are using can be a job in itself.  However did you ever think that you could be part of the reason, inadvertently, that your teen is drinking alcohol?

According to a new study commissioned by The Caron Treatment Center, new research shows that parents' behavior may unintentionally contribute to teenage alcohol abuse.

Some of the study highlights are:

What parents aren't saying can make an impression.

Nearly a third of the 12 -18 year olds surveyed said they have observed one or both of their parents drinking alcohol to “relax” or “relieve stress” after a hard day (32%). “Parents need to talk about why it is acceptable for adults to drink alcohol in moderation. Otherwise they may unknowingly be communicating a mixed message,” said Rotenberg.

Teens perceive grades as more of a worry to their parents than alcohol.

Overall, 12 -18 year olds believe parents are more concerned about their grades in school (57%) and time spent on the internet (50%) than whether they drink alcohol (37%) before they are legally allowed. Meanwhile only half (47%) of parents surveyed were concerned their kids would become addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Many teens have their first drink at age fourteen.

Twenty-five percent of the 12 -18 year olds surveyed said they drank alcohol and agree with the statement “it is okay for people under the age of 21 to drink alcohol.” Fourteen is the average age when they have their first drink and about a third do it in the company of another family member (31% with their mothers, 25% with their fathers).

Drinking fuels drug use and sex.

One quarter (25%) of teens 12-18 who have had a drink of alcohol say they have engaged in some kind of harmful and/or illegal activity while under the influence of alcohol. These behaviors include:
  • Use of a drug, such as marijuana, cocaine or an inhalant – 15%
  • Engaging in sexual behavior they regret – 11% (This was divided evenly between teen girls and boys).
Parents allow drinking under certain circumstances.

Three out of ten (30%) of the 12-18 year olds surveyed indicated that their parents allow them to drink alcohol at certain times:
  • 25% say their parents allow them to drink on “special occasions.”
  • 17% say their parents allow them to drink at home and under parental supervision.
  • 30% say their first experience with alcohol was with a family member – mother (31%), sibling (29%) and father (25%).
Read more highlights here.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens.

Read more.