To teach their adolescents responsible drinking, many parents take the initiative of offering them alcohol at home. They do so with the hope of keeping their teens away from drinking as they grow up. However, this step to protect the teens from the ill effects of alcohol, including binge drinking (when someone drinks over four drinks at one time) and excessive drinking, often backfires, revealed a recent research by scientists from Australia.
The maiden study, published in the journal The Lancet Public Health in January 2018, looked into the effects of parents providing alcohol to teens to make them accountable while choosing to drink. The researchers studied 2,000 teens, whose parents gave them alcohol at home, for six years and found that it did not prevent binge drinking in them at a later stage. Rather, it taught the teens to find alcohol through other means. The mean age of the respondent teens was 13 years.
For six years, both the teens and their parents had to fill out surveys that gave an insight into the alcohol habits of their teens, including binge drinking severity, and how they procured alcohol. Surprisingly, the researchers noticed that parents supplied more alcohol to their wards as they aged. At the start, only 15 parents gave alcohol to their teen children and at the end of the survey, about 60 percent parents provided them with alcohol.
The results of the survey proved that providing teens with alcohol to make them responsible drinkers did not yield any positive results. It was definitely a bad choice to make. The researchers further found that at the end of the six-year period, 81 percent teens who received alcohol from their parents and from other sources, indulged in binge drinking. However, among students who did not receive alcohol from their parents and only from other sources, only 62 percent took to binge drinking. And among those who received alcohol only from their parents and not from other sources, only 25 percent resorted to binge drinking. Another observation that the researchers made was that teens who received alcohol from parents for one year had double the chances of sourcing it from other people the next year.
Although the study produced surprising results, the findings need to be validated because the study had certain limitations, including the fact that it was based on self-reported surveys. Such surveys, unfortunately, are rarely accurate and lack authenticity. Moreover, a sample size of the teens was not a proper and even representation of the students, especially as it did not include teens from the lower economic strata of the society.
Irrespective of the results of the above study, one must remember that alcohol is an addictive substance and it is easy to get dependent on the same. Chronic and severe alcoholism is always fatal. However, with treatment, one can gain life-long sobriety and lead a sober, happy and productive life like before.
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