Today is the First Day of
the Rest of Your Life

Get Started

Monday, January 29, 2018

Study: Parents Who Give Their Teens Alcohol Should Think Twice

Letting your teen experiment with alcohol in the confines of your home, under adult supervision, before you send them off to college may seem like a smart idea – but it will likely backfire. A new study found that this type of early exposure to alcohol may actually cause teens to drink more and suffer more alcohol-related harms, according to the study of 1,900 Australian adolescents published in Lancet Public Health.

“Those (parents') aims are admirable, but they’re wrong,” Richard Mattick, who led the research, told USA Today. "When you look across a large number of people what you find is there’s no benefit.”

The study compared kids whose parents gave them occasional sips of alcohol versus those who were allowed a full glasses of beer or wine – and found little difference. 

“The bottom line is providing alcohol for young people basically backfires,” George F. Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a federal agency, told USA Today. 

Experts say this is because you’re sending the wrong message – the message that underage drinking is okay. Three out four teens point to their parents as leading influences on their decisions about drinking, so why not send a better message? 

Parents should tell their teens that underage drinking is illegal, bad for their developing brain, and can lead to terrible consequences, including accidents, getting kicked off sports teams and missing out on the college of their choice, National President Colleen Sheehey-Church, who lost her son to a drunk driver, told USA Today

And don’t forget to pay attention to your own behaviors regarding alcohol consumption, including how much you drink and whether you assign a designated driver. “If you’re misbehaving with alcohol, they’re going to misbehave,” Koob added.

More research is still needed, however. For instance, the new study doesn’t shed light on whether kids who drink would have been drinking or breaking other rules, regardless of whether their parents gave them alcohol, noted Stuart Kinner, senior principal research fellow of the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study. Nor have their been any comparisons on teens whose parents were encouraged to delay providing alcohol versus those who weren’t. 

Still, Kinner, who has children ages 4 and 7, isn't planning on testing any contradictory theories on his own kids. If this new research isn’t contradicted before they reach adolescence, “I would not be giving them any alcohol,” he told USA Today.

Young Adult Alcohol Abuse Treatment 
According to the NIAAA, the young adult subgroup makes up 31.5 percent of alcoholics. At Hope Academy, we provide a safe environment in which teens and young adults feel comfortable sharing their concerns and setting sobriety goals. To learn more, call 866-930-4673.

Bottom of Form

CignaAetnaBlueCross BlueShieldUnited HealthcareMore Options/Verify Benefits

Call us at to Learn About Open Enrollment

Request A Call Back