Stricter Rules Mean Teenagers Drink Less

Health & Wellness on 02.17.12
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Photo: James Stewart/Creative Commons

Yesterday I waded into the "permissive parenting" debate yet again, taking issue with a blogger's labeling of less strict parents as lazy and irresponsible. But it is a debate that is likely to continue, and with good reason. So long as we refrain from name calling and labeling, I think it's healthy for parents to compare notes about how they raise their kids and what level of freedom versus independence is desirable.

There can be few more contentious, or important, issues than teens and alcohol. From asking whether or not you'd allow teenagers to drink alcohol under adult supervision, to exploring why drinking is down and dope use is up among young people, it is a topic we have touched on many times before. Now CTV News reports that a new study of Dutch teenagers suggests stricter rules mean teens drink less:

A new study finds that parental disapproval can be an important influence on teens that can help them resist the temptation to drink.

The study, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, explored how parents' attitudes about drinking affect both their teens' decision making and impulse control. As the parent of any teen can tell you, teens often have a hard time resisting their impulses, which is why they tend to take more risks and engage in reckless behaviour.

Interestingly, this being Europe, the "strict rules" the study talks about sound positively liberal by North American standards. From "when and where the teens were allowed to drink" through "how much" to "whether parents needed to be present", the report suggests that many of the parents who were successful in curbing their teens drinking were following the "small amounts under adult supervision" school of thought.

I would be interested to know what the findings would be comparing a blanket ban versus this type of strict, yet supervised, approach. Head over to CTV to check out the full report on the Dutch study on teens and alcohol.

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