Teens, don’t drink alcohol yet. It may lead to harmful drinking habits later

A study found that parents have more influence on their teenagers’ decisions regarding alcohol and attitudes towards alcohol can help prevent children from drinking at an early age.

Harmful alcohol use is a serious problem and drinking patterns are often first set in adolescence.
Harmful alcohol use is a serious problem and drinking patterns are often first set in adolescence.(Getty Images)

Parents, you may want to not introduce your teenagers to alcohol as a recent study has found that rather than encouraging better drinking habits in adulthood, it could be doing more harm. The University of Adelaide team surveyed 2,800 students aged from 12 to 17 to provide a comprehensive snapshot of their drinking habits and influences.

“Harmful alcohol use is a serious problem in Australia, and drinking patterns are often first set in adolescence,” said lead author Jacqueline Bowden. “With alcohol contributing to four of the top five causes of death in young people, and a leading cause of cancer in our community, it’s important for us to better understand drinking behaviour among young people so we can help to prevent or delay it.”

“One of the major messages from our study is that parents have more influence on their teenagers’ decisions regarding alcohol than they probably realise. And attitudes towards alcohol really do make a difference, and can help prevent children from drinking at an early age.” The study found that by age 16, most students had tried alcohol, while a third of students reported that they drank alcohol at least occasionally.


Only 28% of students were aware of a link between alcohol and cancer and across all ages, students were less likely to drink if their parents showed disapproval of underage drinking, while those aged 14-17 were less likely to drink if they knew about the link between alcohol and cancer.


The study found that by age 16, most students had tried alcohol, while a third of students reported that they drank alcohol at least occasionally. (Getty Images)

Bowden noted that people need to address the issue of supply to teenagers. “Many parents believe providing their children with alcohol in the safe environment of their home teach them to drink responsibly. However, the weight of evidence suggests that this increases consumption, and is not recommended.”

She pointed that parents have a significant and substantial role to play, to help their kids develop a healthier relationship with alcohol early. “Parents can set the boundaries and create clear expectations.”



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