Teaching Kids to Drink

by Dr. Lorin Bradbury

Question: We are responsible parents, and we now have teenagers. It has always been my belief that my teenagers will likely drink, so it will be better for us to allow them to drink moderately at home, rather than having to sneak off to drink. Any thoughts on the subject?
I have a personal opinion on the subject, but I believe what would be more helpful would be to turn to research. A recent study published in The Lancet Public Health suggests that based on their findings, parents who give alcohol to their kids may do more harm than good.
A longitudinal study that followed 2,000 Australian teens and their families from sixth through twelfth grades found that before the end of the study, 81% of the teens whose parents gave them alcohol to drink at home reported binge drinking by the end of the study, compared with only 62% of those who obtained alcohol from sources outside the family. Also, the study found that teens whose parents gave them alcohol in the home were more likely to show signs of possible future alcohol abuse and dependence.
This is only one study, but it gives cause to stop and consider before allowing your teens to drink in your home under your supervision.
Lorin L. Bradbury, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Bethel. For appointments, he can be reached at 543-3266. If you have questions that you would like Dr. Bradbury to answer in the Delta Discovery, please send them to The Delta Discovery, P.O. Box 1028, Bethel, AK 99559, or e-mail them to [email protected].