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Parent attitudes, family dynamics and adolescent drinking: Qualitative study of the Australian parenting guidelines for adolescent alcohol use

Gilligan, C. and Kypri, K. – 2012

An analysis of how parenting factors are associated with adolescent drinking. Describes how children are exposed to parental attitudes and behaviors concerning alcohol, and that parental risk and protective factors can influence adolescent drinking. Authors surveyed a group of Australian parents on how they approached the subject of alcohol consumption with their children. Results show that parents are most likely to establish a good relationship with their adolescent child and monitor the child. They are somewhat less likely to establish rules, model responsible drinking and attitudes towards alcohol, and talk to their child about alcohol. Parents are least likely to delay their adolescent’s introduction to drinking alcohol, prepare their child to deal with peer pressure, and enlist the support of other parents. Several parents in the study cited alcohol abuse among family members, and children’s exposure to a parent’s or step-parent’s alcohol use. Most parents reported that their drinking behaviors followed personal preference, rather than a conscious modeling of appropriate behavior for the children. Authors report that most parents did not delay alcohol consumption by their adolescents, and that they did very little to protect their children from peer pressure, suggesting that many parents think adolescent drinking is inevitable and they can do little to prevent it.