Parents’ actions can ‘actually increase the risk of young people getting too drunk’

  • Post category:Newsletter

female-teenager-drinking-beercroppedx250Parents’ actions can, in some situations, actually increase the risk of young people getting too drunk, a new report from the UK has found.

The Influence of family and friends on young people’s drinking report found that alcohol is most commonly introduced ‘continental’ style to children at home or at family celebrations with the intention being to encourage children to drink responsibly in the future.

However, when parents provide young people with limited alcohol within the home, it often occurred without them being aware that the young person is already drinking outside the home, the report found.

“Here, parents are facilitating an increase in consumption through providing additional alcohol,” the reports’ authors Arun Sondhi and Claire Turner say.

Drawing on five research projects, the report examines family and friendship influences on young people’s drinking habits.

Family is a key influence on children’s and young people’s behavior, the report found, with both parents and children seeing the home as a ‘safe’ place to drink.

Parental supervision and parental drinking in front of children are key factors that influence a child or young person’s knowledge, attitude and behaviour in relation to alcohol, the report said.

On the whole, parents “mostly do a good job” on conveying the social pleasures and risks of drinking and the message that alcohol should be consumed in moderation.

However, discussions between parents and children about alcohol were limited, with parents not providing their teenagers with specific rules on drinking – as other issues, such as a child’s use of computer games, are considered more pressing.

The use of tobacco or illicit drugs are seen by parents as more problematic substances and were highlighted as such by parents. This, according to the report, leads to a gap in knowledge among young children about the effects of excessive alcohol consumption.

The report, published last month by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, also found that price is more likely to limit alcohol consumption amongst young people than concerns about health or personal risk.

Did you Know?

  • More Irish girls  (44%) reported binge-drinking  in the last month compared to boys (42%)

See more at: Alcohol, children and young people

  • Minimum Pricing will primarily affect children and young people as they are more likely to consume low-cost alcohol

See more at: Minimum Pricing: Getting the facts right