Washington: Parents can play an important role in preventing teenagers from consuming large quantities of alcohol, according to a new thesis.
It said that adolescents who smoke, stay out with their friends and have access to alcohol - from their parents, for example - when they are as young as 13 are at greater risk of becoming binge drinkers in their late teens.
“Initiatives that focus on strengthening the parent-child relationship and limiting parental provision of alcohol can prove effective in limiting risky consumption among adolescents,” said Anna-Karin Danielsson from the Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet.
“Parents also play an important role when it comes to teaching young people how to resist peer pressure to drink,” she added.
Danielsson monitored 1,200 pupils aged 13 to 19 years between 2001 and 2006, and investigated which factors can reduce the risk of high alcohol consumption (protective factors) and which constitute risk factors.
The results showed that adolescents exhibiting risky behaviour in their early teens need help quickly as they are at greater risk of high consumption in the future, and of associated problems with their health, school, parents and friends, for example. This is where parental input can make all the difference.
“But boys and girls are slightly different,” said Danielsson.
“The risk of high alcohol consumption among boys who smoke and who have friends who drink is considerably reduced when parents keep an eye on what teenagers get up to, and with whom. Whereas girls in the risk zone benefit most from an emotionally stable and close parent-child relationship in terms of protective effect,” she added.