Parents can have a significant influence on teenage alcoholism and probably teenage drug abuse. A recent study by Brigham Young University looked at why some teenagers drink MORE heavily than other teenagers. Parenting styles were found to make a significant difference. The results were published in the Journal of Studies in Alcohol and Drugs.
In a nutshell, here is what the study found regarding parenting styles:
The “indulgent” style of parenting characterized by warm praise, kindness, gentle nurturing without following through with significant consequences when rules are broken had a three times greater risk of teenage binge drinking. In other words, being a “softy” backfires.
Conversely, being very strict and following though with harsh consequences also is not effective for discouraging teens from drinking heavily.
The parenting style most effective for deterring teenage alcoholism is a style in between both extremes. The best style for discouraging teenage binge drinking is when a parent is loving, encourages good decisions, gives guidance on poor ones, and follows through on consequences. The goal is to teen enough freedom to make decisions; hopefully good ones.
Educating teens about the dangers of teenage binge drinking, teenage alcoholism, and teenage drug abuse is very important. However, this is not enough. Parents need to bring up their teens to make good decisions for themselves. Easier said then done. Parents: be willing to try different parenting styles that give your teen the best chance of success.