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Good parenting can stop teenagers from drinking: study

Don't be too strict or too affectionate towards your children as it could double their chances of going wayward, says a new research.

world Updated: Jun 24, 2010 19:38 IST

Don't be too strict or too affectionate towards your children as it could double their chances of going wayward, says a new research.

On the other hand, a strict but loving relationship with children is the best way to stop them from binge drinking, found researchers from Brigham Young University (BYU) in Utah.

For their study, the researchers asked almost 5,000 adolescents aged between 12 and 19 about their drinking habits and about their parents.

It was found that teenagers most at the risk of binging on booze had loving parents who didn't know where they were. This group tripled their risk of being heavy drinkers.

The researchers also found that teenagers with strict parents who knew where they were but were low on warmth still doubled the risk.

But, the teenagers least prone to heavy drinking - having more than five drinks in a row - had parents who scored highly on both knowing where their kids were and having a warm relationship with them, the Telegraph reported.

Prof Stephen Bahr, from BYU's College of Family, Home and Social Sciences, said: "While parents didn't have much of an effect on whether their teens tried alcohol, they can have a significant impact on the more dangerous type of drinking.

"Prior research on parenting style and teen drinking was a mixed bag, showing modest influence at best."

"But unlike previous research, this study distinguished between any alcohol consumption and heavy drinking."

The study, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, also showed that religious teenagers were "significantly" less likely to drink at all and young people were more likely to have teetotal friends if their parents scored high on warmth and accountability.

Prof Bahr said: "The adolescent period is kind of a transitional period and parents sometimes have a hard time navigating that.

"Although peers are very important, it's not true that parents have no influence."

"Parents need to realise you need to have both accountability and support in your relationship with your adolescent.

"Make sure that it's not just about controlling their behaviour -- you need to combine knowing how they spend their time away from home with a warm, loving relationship."