teens least prone to heavy drinking had parents who scored high on both accountability and warmth

Somehow, I thought this may have been obvious but, then again, sometimes obvious looks us right in the face and we don’t get it.

Researchers are saying that parenting style strongly and directly affects teens when it comes to heavy drinking – defined as having five or more drinks in a row . This is according to a new Brigham Young University study.

I won’t get into too many details here but, they  surveyed nearly 5,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 about their drinking habits and their relationship with their parents. Specifically, researchers examined parents’ levels of accountability – knowing where they spend their time and with whom – and the warmth they share with their kids.

Here’s what they found:

  • The teens least prone to heavy drinking had parents who scored high on both accountability and warmth.
  • So-called “indulgent” parents, those low on accountability and high on warmth, nearly tripled the risk of their teen participating in heavy drinking.
  • “Strict” parents – high on accountability and low on warmth – more than doubled their teen’s risk of heavy drinking.
  • Prior research on parenting style and teen drinking was a mixed bag, showing modest influence at best. Unlike previous research, this study distinguished between any alcohol consumption and heavy drinking.

“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,” said Stephen Bahr, a professor in BYU’s College of Family, Home and Social Sciences.

The researchers also say that religious teens were significantly less likely to drink any alcohol. The effect of religiosity mirrors findings from this 2008 study Bahr and Hoffmann conducted on teens’ marijuana use.

The BYU researchers note that teens in this new study were more likely to have non-drinking friends if their parents scored high on warmth and accountability.

For parents, the takeaway is this:

“Realize you need to have both accountability and support in your relationship with your adolescent,” Hoffmann said. “Make sure that it’s not just about controlling their behavior – you need to combine knowing how they spend their time away from home with a warm, loving relationship.”

I have Boomerang Kids…

I have a child who will turn 21 soon and has absolutely no idea what he wants to do in life. As a matter of fact, I am convinced that he has no idea that he needs to have an idea of what he wants to do in life- despite the fact that we have had the discussion on numerous occasions.
He’s a bright kid, did well on his college entrance exams and had a plan when he graduated. He went away to school and then about mid year, things changed and he was home every weekend and as time went by, going back at the last minute. It wasn’t until mid summer that he fessed up that he hated being away and wanted to be at home in his own bed.

I know in some way, I am to blame. I was too good of a parent.
I made life too good for him and he likes that. Now, I am the ‘proud’ parent of a “Boomerang kid”.

“Boomerang Kids” are children who move back in with their parents after a brief period of living on their own. I hear they are moving back in with mom and dad in droves. According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center finds that 13% of parents with grown children say one of their adult sons or daughters has moved back home in the past year. In 2001 Canada reported that 41 percent of the 3.8 million 20 to 29 year olds in the country lived with their parents — an increase from 27 percent in 1981.

Some say it’s the economy. According to Monster’s 2009 Annual Entry-Level Job Outlook, about 40 percent of 2008 grads still live with their parents. Moreover, 42 percent of the 2006 graduates surveyed said they’re still living at home.

In the United States alone, nearly 16 million families had at least one child over the age of 18 living at home in 2003, marking a 7 percent jump since 1995, according to the Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey.

There is a rumor that us boomer’s who let these kids back in are called “babygloomers.”

The thing is, I’m not sure I am really ready to let him go. I did make it clear that he is to continue with school and have a goal. I’m not paying for any more ‘major’ changes.

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