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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Family Structure Influences Teenage Relationships With Alcohol

It goes without saying that every parent goes about raising their children in different ways. While variations may seem like minor details, how alcohol is viewed and treated in the household by parents could influence whether problems may arise down the road. New research suggests that a teenager's family structure could influence whether or not allowing them to drink at home will result in alcohol problems, The Boston Globe reports.

Some parents believe that allowing their teens to consume alcohol at home will teach them safe drinking practices, while other parents preach abstinence until adulthood. The new study found that allowing teens to drink at home did not predict later alcohol use, according to the article. The researchers found that family structure played major role in how relationships with alcohol developed.

The research involved interviews with 772 children ages 12 to 17, and their parents, starting in 1989. The participants were re-interviewed up to four times over the next 15 years. This is the first study to deal with the relationship between drinking at home and family structure, the article reports.

“An intact family structure with two parents might serve as a proxy for factors like better communication with both parents and clearer expectations of behavior — what’s allowed and what’s not,” said lead author Ash Levitt of the University of Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions. “When there are two parents, it’s also easier to set rules and monitor how they’re being followed.” 

Certainly, the nature of one’s family will have an impact on a teenagers' development of relationship skills. Although, even when a family is intact (2 parents), it can still be risky to allow teens to consume alcohol at home.

The findings were published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

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