Supervising Teen Alcohol Use
Some parents believe it is better to supervise teen alcohol use rather than try to stop it.Supervising teen alcohol use is dangerous and illegal. Teens who drink with adult supervision have more drinking-related problems than their peers whose parents do not allow them to drink.
The US Surgeon General has issued statements promoting a zero-tolerance position toward youth alcohol use. However, surveys indicate that 30-50% of teen drinkers get alcohol from their parents. Adults who allow teens to drink are making parenting decisions for other parents. In addition, those adults who host teen parties where alcohol is present face legal consequences.
Teens who drink with adults present consumed more alcohol and were more likely to have negative side effects of alcohol use compared to those prohibited from drinking with an adult present.
The study found that by 9th grade, 45% of US teens have used alcohol. More than 21% of US teens reported having experienced harmful consequences resulting from the use of alcohol. Alcohol use increases throughout high school. Older teens are more likely to have tried alcohol, been drunk, engaged in binge drinking, and experienced consequences.
Supervising teen alcohol use did not inhibit alcohol use or excessive use. Teens who drink with adults present consumed more alcohol and were more likely to have negative side effects of alcohol use compared to those prohibited from drinking with an adult present. Study authors recommend that parents should not be encouraged to drink with their children. Parents and other adults should not allow any children to drink under their supervision.
Cross Cultural Comparison
Research conducted by Bertrand Nelpas at the French National Institute on Health and Medical Research looked at the common European practice of allowing teens to drink alcohol at home. They found that it may be contributing to the rise in the number of French teens who drink heavily. 20% of French 17 year olds are drunk at least three times a month.
New French laws prohibit anyone under 18 from buying alcohol, to try to combat this trend. Binge drinking, characterized in France by “pop-up” street parties (organized online), has also increased. Nelpas points out that data show that the earlier kids start drinking, especially binge drinking, the more likely they are to become dependent.
In France, offering children a drink can be a cultural phenomena, which some parents are trying to combat. Pascale Dhote, a cardiologist and mother, notes that children do not have a fully developed liver or brain. She had problems explaining to her children’s grandparents why it was unhealthy for children to drink at a young age. France will continue to battle this cultural practice in the name of better health for its children.
As a parent, you have the right and responsibility to ensure that teens are not drinking on your property. If you know teens are drinking at someone else’s house, do not allow your child to go to that home.
If your teen is drinking, help is available at ASAP. Call us at 513.792.1272 to schedule an assessment and get on the road to recovery!
ASAP is Cincinnati’s premiere outpatient treatment center for teenagers and their families struggling with substance use.
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