Checkup: Adult-Supervised Teen Drinking: a Bad Idea
If you have a teenage son or daughter, you know that at some point theyíre going to be at party where kids are drinking, which raises a dilemma. Do you forbid drinking and risk your kid doing it anyway in an unsupervised setting? Or do you allow your teen to drink at home, under your watchful eye, so he or she can learn to drink responsibly?
"Unfortunately, our data suggests that if parents are faced with that sort of decision, itís better to set strong norms against underage drinking."
Thatís Barb McMorris, a researcher at the University of Minnesota. She followed nearly 2000 7th graders in the United States and Australia for three years, looking at how often they drank and how much they drank with their parents. The kids in Australia drank more overall than kids in the US, but in both cases the results were the same.
"The remarkable thing that we found was that the same processes are working in the US and in Australia. Kids who drink in the presence of adults tend to drink more often and tend to suffer more harmful consequences due to drinking."
Consequences include getting into fights, getting injured, and passing out. McMorris isnít claiming that a few sips of wine at an adult party will send your kids spiraling down the path to alcoholism. But she does believe that allowing kids to drink sets a risky precedent.
"If youíre sending the message that itís okay for kids to drink in your presence and indulge in this adult-like behavior, you might think youíre teaching them responsible drinking. But on the other hand I donít think that message translates to a different context such as out driving around with friends or at parties with friends."
Iím Jeremy Shere.