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Healthy parent-child ties can keep teenagers away from alcohol

A healthy parent-child relationship can have a preventive effect on the early drinking tendencies in a teenager, a new study suggests.

The study to be published in the May issue of Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs emphasises the role played by parents in bringing down drinking tendencies in a teenager.

According to the study, teenagers who feel that they can share their problems with parents are less prone to early drinking, compared to those who do not share such a relationship with their parents.

“Our work shows that the ‘preventive effect’ of a later drinking age is likely to be a side effect of a good parent-child relationship,” lead researcher Emmanuel Kuntsche of Swiss Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Problems said.

Teenage drinking is a serious problem in many parts of the world, including India. The study suggests that a healthy and frank communication between the parents and their teenaged child “trigger a spiral of healthy development during adolescence” that ultimately minimises the risk of developing alcohol related problems at an early age.

Kuntsche and colleagues surveyed 364 adolescents over a time of two years. The subjects were studied thrice in this duration and it was found that those who reported an early drinking age in the first phase yielded to more drinking by the second time.

The study found that only teenagers who share a ‘high quality’ relationship with their parents are less prone to develop alcohol related problems compared to their peers.

Researchers define a high-quality relationship as one where teenagers felt they could discuss their problems with their parents and they in turn respected the child’s feelings.

Previous studies in this field suggested that the age of the child is an important factor that determines whether they will eventually develop alcohol-related problems.

Kuntsche said parents should remember that there role is important when it comes to their children’s risk of substance abuse.

Be attentive to children’s needs in general, he said, emphasising that may be one way to protect the children from developing drinking problems.

source: The Hindu

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