Study Shows Teen Drinking Habits Are Influenced By Parenting Style

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A new study by Brigham Young University shows that more than 65 percent of teens have experimented with alcohol by the time they're seniors, and the way parents treat those teens during high school may affect their likelihood to become binge drinkers in the future.

According to NPR, researchers found that teens who grow up with parents who are either too strict or too lenient tend to binge drink more than their peers. Binge drinking is typically defined by five or more consecutive drinks within two weeks.
"While parents didn't have much of an effect on whether their teens tried alcohol, they can have a significant impact on the more dangerous type of drinking," says Stephen Bahr, a professor of sociology at BYU, and the author of the study.

The survey included 5,000 teenagers between 7th and 12th grade, who were asked questions about their drinking habits and their parents. Those who had "indulgent" parents, who were supportive, but provided little consequence for bad behavior, were among the teens who abused alcohol the most. "They were about three times more likely to participate in heavy drinking," says Bahr.

But those with strict parents also proved to be twice as likely to binge drink. Bahr added, "Kids in that environment tend not to internalize the values and understand why they shouldn't drink."

According to the researchers, teens with the lowest levels of binge drinking had parents who offered their kids warmth and support as well as consequences for bad behavior. But parenting isn't the only thing that affects the way teens experiement with alcohol -- peer pressure and genetics come into play, too.

Do you drink alcohol? How many drinks would you say you have per week? Do you think your house rules and parents affect your decisions when it comes to drinking? Let us know about your experiences in the comments. %Poll-57884%

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