The most difficult phase in raising children is when they are in their teens.

In these years, youthful exuberance tend to overtake logical behaviour, and the teenager wants to try out everything – good or bad – hence the worry for parents.

Alcohol intake is certainly what the teenager wants to try, particularly when there are no crystal care family rules forbidding the intake of alcohol in the teen years.

Result of a new research presented at the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting in Seattle, U.S.A., showed that concerned parents could prevent their fast-growing teenagers from indulging in alcohol by simply setting clear rules on time.

The finding is based on survey responses from more than 1,100 teenagers and young adults in 24 cities in seven states in North America.

“Family rules may be a useful complement to community rules and policies in the effort to prevent underage drinking,” said Mark Wolfson, the study’s lead researcher and professor of social sciences and health policy at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina.

Research subjects who were between 15 years and 20 years old, reported their partying behaviour, and also whether their families had clear rules against drinking.

The researchers found that the teenagers whose parents had clear rules against underage drinking were 35 per cent less likely to have attended a party where there was alcohol in the past 30 days, compared with teens whose parents did not have crystal-clear rules.

It’s important to curb underage drinking for many reasons, including that it’s often associated with risky behaviour, such as drunk driving, interpersonal violence and vandalism, Wolfson said.

It can also lead to binge drinking, which is linked with a host of health problems, including liver disease and certain cancers, according to a 2012 report by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

The finding, though preliminary, could empower and ultimately help families to shape the healthy development of their children, said Adam Lippert, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Colorado Denver, who was not involved in the research.

Parents are the first role model for their growing teenagers; they must be clear on setting rules for teenagers whose future are determined by the kind of life they lead at their youthful stage.


Author: Dotun Obatuyi

My name is Dotun Obatuyi (Dotunoba), I hail from Osun state, a public health scientist (monitoring and evaluation specialist), my keen interests are researching, critiquing and writing feature articles on health, science and technology as well as issues around the globe.