The Drug Class Blog

Aug 30

More Parent Info

Parents need to protect their kids and rules are one of the best protections we can create in 2011.  Here is an interesting article from the Guardian


Tough love stops binge drinking,

Demos claims Thinktank tracked 30,000 people across four decades and says parental discipline is big factor in cutting alcohol problems

 Jamie Doward, Saturday 27 August 2011 23.32 BST

Demos suggests parents should be careful about leaving alcohol where children can get access.

Poor parenting significantly increases the likelihood that children will grow up to be binge drinkers, according to the findings of a controversial study.

The thinktank Demos, which tracked the lives of 30,000 people across four decades, found that high levels of parental warmth and attachment until the age of 10, combined with strict discipline by the time they are 16, play a powerful role in reducing the likelihood that a child would go on to be a binge drinker. The findings will chime with claims from the right that many of society's problems are attributable to inadequate parenting.

But it is unusual for a left-of-centre thinktank with historically close links to the Labour party to identify dysfunctional parenting as one of modern society's most high-profile problems. Advocating a traditional "tough love" style of parenting, Demos claims its research suggests that high levels of attachment between parents and pre-fives significantly reduce the chances a child will drink excessively.

It warns that bad parenting at age 10 makes a child twice as likely to drink excessively in their 30s. But it is during the teenage years that "tough love" parenting seems to exert its most crucial influence. Demos claims a 16-year-old child is more than eight times more likely to drink excessively if there are poor levels of parenting.

They are more than twice as likely to drink excessively in their 30s. "The enduring impact of parenting on a child's future relationship with alcohol cannot be ignored," said Jamie Bartlett, author of the report.

"This is good for parents: those difficult moments of enforcing tough rules really do make a difference, even if it doesn't always feel like that at the time." Levels of binge drinking in the UK have been dropping since 2000. But Bartlett said the media's infatuation "with a boozed-up Britain" had made the "culture of a binge-drinking minority more extreme, and more public".

The thinktank suggested a number of measures parents could take.

These include not appearing drunk in front of their children and resisting having a relaxed attitude to under-age consumption.

Demos also recommends that alcohol should be discussed in the context of setting firm boundaries, with children encouraged to develop "sensible and responsible" expectations of consumption.

Alcohol in the home should be monitored and teenagers prevented from having access to it. However, Demos also called for the government to help parents by making it harder for children to obtain alcohol and by ensuring sales to under-age drinkers were better policed.

Research shows that young people who buy their own alcohol are especially at risk of becoming problem drinkers, while strictly enforced laws strengthen the social norm that under-age drinking is unacceptable.

One of the thinktank's more radical suggestions is to spread the six-week school summer holiday throughout the year and provide activities for at-risk children. Bartlett said: "For children whose parents may be disengaged, very practical measures like spreading the school summer holiday throughout the year, and providing activities for children in the school breaks, will go some way to preventing boredom and avoiding risky behaviour like under-age drinking."

Demos's research was based on a statistical analysis of two sets of data, involving more than 30,000 children born during the past 40 years, including the respected 1970 British Cohort Study.

What do you think?

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