Thursday, January 15, 2009

Parenting influences adolescent drinking

Earlier today, I was doing an online search for information on studies about parenting to prevent underage drinking. While it wasn't what I was looking for, I came across an interesting article in Science Daily entitled, " Parental Drinking and Parenting Practices Influence Adolescent Drinking". Here's what I found most interesting:

"These two dimensions of more parental control -- monitoring and discipline -- may be useful targets for the development of intervention studies," said Windle. "The second finding is important in identifying the differential influences of parenting behaviors at different stages of adolescent development. From a developmental perspective, older adolescents are much more influenced by other socialization agents, especially peers, and perhaps stronger genetic influences, whereas in early adolescence parenting practices are more highly influential. These findings are important for designing age-appropriate interventions whereby parenting practices may play a prominent role in early adolescence, but peer, parental drinking, and other factors may need to be focused on in later adolescence."

"With respect to individual aspects of parenting, our analyses show that parental alcohol use, intoxication, and problem drinking symptoms are consistently associated with decreases in monitoring and increases in discipline," said Latendresse. "Decreases in monitoring are related to higher levels of adolescent alcohol use at age 14 and more frequent intoxication at both 14 and 17.5. Likewise, increases in discipline are linked to more frequent use and intoxication, but only when adolescents are 17.5. Although these findings are consistent with the protective effects of parental monitoring, it is important to note that excessive discipline may actually have the unintended effect of conveying greater risk for alcohol-related behaviors among adolescents as they get older, and are seeking a greater sense of autonomy."

This is why it is important to focus on PREVENTION of underage drinking. The NE Seattle coalition is doing just that with a curriculum for middle school students and parenting programs for adults with children in grades 4-8.

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