Teen Drinking at Home


Teenage Drinking: Understanding the Dangers and Talking to Your Child
Should Parents Let Teens Drink At Home?


Should Parents Let Teens Drink At Home?

Some parents believe that allowing their teens to have an occasional beer or glass of wine makes alcohol less taboo -- and therefore less enticing to those under 21. Others think that giving drinks to teens at home is dangerous, teaches the wrong lessons and may lead to addiction problems later.

As many as 700,000 kids ages 12 to 14 -- or 6 percent of those in that age group -- said they drank in the past month in a recent report conducted by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Of the 45 percent who said they got the alcohol for free at home, 16 percent said it came from a parent or guardian. The poll didn't ask for details about how much alcohol they consumed or in what situation they had a drink.

One father, Terry Moran, said he won't let his kids drink alcohol until they're legal, according to the "Today" show.

"Because kids start thinking that, 'Hey, if my parents think it's OK, then I can just go experiment, hang out with my friends and drink.' I see it happen all the time," Moran told NBC.

One teen who spoke to NBC said his parents sometimes give him small amounts of alcohol at dinner.

"They would give me alcohol at home first, small doses -- a glass of wine here, maybe a glass of beer with dinner," he said. "It taught me responsibility, for the most part."

Psychologist Elaine Moore says that many teenagers are going to experiment with drinking no matter what, and they're typically not mature enough to handle it well. Mothers and fathers can help, but declined to speculate on whether giving alcohol to teen children at home is the solution.

"I don't think there's a right answer," Moore told NBC. "I think it's really, really important for parents to teach their kids to drink responsibly."

Peter Delany, the director of SAMHSA's Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, said the earlier that teens start drinking, the more likely they are to become alcoholics.

"When kids under age 15 start drinking and drinking heavily, they are about six times more likely to end up with alcohol problems," he told the Wall Street Journal. "This report isn't designed to say, 'Bad parents!' It's designed to say, 'Here's an issue you should pay attention to.'"

In fact, according to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 50 percent of young people in America are binge drinking by they time they're 21 and 86 percent of them have consumed alcohol.

"Twenty-five percent of 'Seventeen' readers say their parents let them drink at home," the magazine's editor-in-chief Ann Shoket told "Today." "But what they're learning is not necessarily how to drink. What they're learning is trust."

The research to date is inconclusive on the potential perils of letting your kids drink at home. But no matter what, psychiatrist Janet Taylor believes parents should at least be talking to their children about drinking, especially about the hazards of binge drinking.

"It gets back to the quality of the relationship and how much communication is happening at home," Taylor told the show.
Source: www.aolhealth.com/2011/03/15/should-parents-let-teens-drink-at-home/?icid=main%7Chtmlws-sb-n%7Cdl5%7Csec1_lnk3%7C206130

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