Monday, October 10, 2011

Is Teen Drinking at Home a Safer Alternative?

      The issue of teen drinking continues to be a source of pain and broken trust for many parents. I’ve seen a growing number of parents  respond to the issue by making the home a “safe haven” for drinking alcohol. The rationale is, “teens are going to drink alcohol. I don’t won’t them to get hurt of hurt someone else on the road. I would rather them drink in my home where at least I can control it.”

     A new study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs would disagree with that “logic.” The study showed that teens from families with supervision drinking may have higher drinking rates and more future alcohol-related problems than teens from a family whose parents took a “zero tolerance” approach. Researchers also found that the younger students were when they first started drinking, the more likely they were to continue drinking.

     Contrary to the parent’s intention, teens in homes where alcohol was supervised did not seem to learn safety or responsibility in drinking. Instead the parents actions were taken by the teens as encouragement to drink alcohol.

    There is another issue at hand as well. If you do serve alcohol in your home to a minor who is not your child, even if your intentions are good, you are breaking the law. There is no exception.

     How to Address Alcohol with Your Teen:

 1. Calmly and Clearly Define the Boundaries for Your Home. Leave to ambiguity when it comes to trust and consequences.

 2. Set the Bar High. Explain your expectations for your teenager. Help them understand  future consequences of present choices.

3. Use Scripture as your standard. The two issues are self-control and authority.

4. Be honest about your own struggles or failures as a teen.

5. You Have Their Best Interest at Heart. Make sure they understand that if they ever make a mistake, you want to be the person they call.

Source: Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, May, 2011.

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