Is bad parenting linked to drinking?

Parents should set firm boundaries and avoid getting drunk in front of their children.

Ians August 30, 2011

LONDON: The style of parenting is one of the strongest influences on how much alcohol a child will drink as a teenager and young adult, a new study has found.

Think tank Demos found out that bad parenting made children eight times more likely to become binge drinkers at 16 years, and twice as likely to drink excessively when they were 34.

Researchers analysed data from more than 15,000 children born in Britain over the last 40 years as part of the study, The Independent reported.

They found the "tough love" style of parenting, which combined warmth and discipline, was the most effective in ensuring against children developing an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

Less effective styles were "authoritarian", where parents set high standards and employ strict discipline, "laissez faire", where parents are emotionally engaged but do not set rule or boundaries, and those who are "disengaged" with their children.

The think tank recommended that parents should develop a warm and loving relationship in the early years of their children's lives and assert discipline and supervision at the ages of 15 and 16.

Parents should also set firm boundaries, avoid getting drunk in front of their children and not take a relaxed attitude to under-age drinking, the think tank said.


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