Parental Supply of Alcohol and Alcohol Consumption in Adolescence

Effects of Parental Supply of Alcohol

Children whose parents serve them alcohol are more likely to drink full servings by age 15 or 16. However, they are much less likely to have over four or drinks on an occasion. (This is sometimes called binge drinking.) In addition, they generally have fewer drinks per occasion. In short, parental supply of alcohol is protective of alcohol abus

Those adolescents who got alcohol from sources other than their parents were three times more likely to binge drink.

parental supply of alcohol
Dr. Richard P. Mattick

Lead author of the study was Dr. Richard P. Mattick. He’s on the medical faculty of University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. As Professor in the National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre, he has published 18 books. Dr. Mattick said widespread interest in the European model of alcohol led to the study.

European Model

That model is the practice of introducing children to alcohol at an early age. Parents typically give their young children sips of alcohol. They increase the amount as the children age. Parents don’t teach them that alcohol is a poison or that drinking is a dangerous behavior to avoid. Thus, alcohol-related problems are less common.

Researchers surveyed a cohort of 1,927 adolescents annually for four years. They measured these, among other things.

  • Parents supplying  alcohol.
  • Non-parental supply of alcohol.
  • Consumption of whole drinks.
  • Binge drinking (over four drinks on any occasion).

Source: Mattick, R., et al. Parental supply of alcohol and alcohol consumption in adolescence. Prospective cohort study. Psychol Med, 2017,  47(2), 267-278.

Resources on Parenting and Alcohol

Hammond, M. Decisive Parenting. Lanham, MD: Aronson, 2010.

Leveille-Theut, R. The Real Life Parenting Skills Program. Setting Rules and Limits. eVideo. Hamilton, NJ: Films Media, 2012.

Peele, S. Addiction Proof Your Child. NY: Three Rivers, 2007.

Wolf, A. I’d Listen to My Parents if They’d Shut Up. NY: Harper, 2011.