Growing up, Tommy Reyes remembered talking with his friends about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. One thing that stuck out was that several of his friends, even though they were between 10 to 12 years of age, had already had alcohol given to them by their parents. Some had merely taken a sip of alcohol and had written it off because the taste revolted them while others had apparently liked it and their parents allowed them to occasionally partake in drinking alcohol in the house after that point. But one question remained stuck in his mind for ever- Kids weren’t supposed to have alcohol, right?
Slowly Reyes realized that there was a notion of parents often introducing their kids to the world of alcohol by allowing them to try it at home where they were safe and could be watched. The hope was that by doing this, the teens would understand how alcohol worked and be able to drink more responsibly later on in life, thus minimizing their risk for injury, violence, unsafe sexual practices, and possibly addiction.
However, a study conducted by researchers from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia had indicated that it may be doing the exact opposite of what the parents wanted.
Parent-initiated alcohol drinking in teens paved way for more drinking
Researchers conducting the study followed around 2000 parent/child pairs over a period of 4 years for the study with the goal of providing guidance for parents on how best to moderate their child’s drinking.
The findings proved that teens whose parents supplied them with alcohol during their early adolescence were 3 times as likely to drink full servings of alcohol by the time they were 16 as those teens whose parents did not supply them with alcohol.
The study also found that at 12 to 13 years of age, around 1 in 6 of the children had been given alcohol by their parents. By the time these children had reached the ages of 15 or 16 years, around half of them were drinking alcohol and obtaining it from not only their parents but also peers, older teens, and other adults.
Lead author Professor Richard Mattick stated that parental supply of alcohol through grades 7 to 9 was actually the biggest indicator for drinking by the time children reached grade 10.
Parental guided drinking often backfired
The study observed that parents ended up being the biggest supplier of alcohol for teens under the age of 18 and the early supply of alcohol was more influential than family circumstances, individual psychological factors, and peer pressure in initiating the teens into drinking. Children who were given alcohol by their parents were also more likely to obtain alcohol from several sources other than their parents.
Moreover, the parents who allowed their adolescents to try drinking alcohol in their presence might be doing it with god intentions, however, the findings proved that it probably was not the best way to teach kids about alcohol.
According to Dr Monika Wadolowski, by supplying alcohol early on, parents made their children think that they were all right with them drinking. Though further analyses need to be done on the subject to determine the extent to which a parent supplying alcohol actually moderated excessive drinking after age 16, other factors like extensive and aggressive advertising, attractive packaging, better tastes, and increased availability also contributed to teen alcohol abuse.
Teen alcohol addiction treatment
Parents should pay close attention to underage alcohol consumption. Alcohol abuse can have extremely harmful effects on an adolescent and for those who have begun abusing it and may have become addicted to it, treatment is vital to helping them regain and lead happy and healthy lives.
The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) report stated that 443,000 adolescents aged between 12 to 17 suffered from alcohol use disorder in 2016. It is important to ensure that at a time when an adolescent is supposed to be preparing for their upcoming life, they are not influenced by activities that will hamper their future.
Adeona Healthcare, a much sought-after alcohol addiction treatment center for teens aged between 12 to 17, offers evidence-based treatment programs for treating teen alcohol addiction. If you know a teen addicted to alcohol, guide them to Adeona Healthcare. They can get in touch with our 24/7 helpline (888) 379-9360 and speak to a representative. They can also chat online with our certified representative to seek related advice and avail customized world-class alcohol detox treatment at our teen alcohol addiction treatment facility.