New research suggests that the style of parenting adopted at home might not stop teenagers from trying out alcohol, but individually the mother and father could make a difference to the child's overall drinking habits.
Teenagers whose parents showed high levels of warmth and monitoring and were termed authoritative were amongst the least prone to heavy drinking, says the study published in the July issue of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
While the parents had little impact on their teenage children trying out alcohol, there was a significant change they made to the more dangerous type of drinking, says the study based on a survey of 4,983 participates aged between 12 and 19 years.
According to the study by Stephen Bahr, a professor in Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah's College of Family, Home and Social Sciences, and co-author John Hoffmann, parents must keep tabs on how teens spend their time away from home.
In addition, they should create a warm relationship with teenage children whereby information is volunteered by the child to the parent, instead of trying to control their behavior and exposure to the outside world, Bahr said in a press release.
The study asked teenagers to answer questions related to their drinking habits and on the parenting styles. It categorized parents as indulgent, strict and authoritative. The indulgent parent sought low accountability and was high on warmth while the strict one wanted high accountability and was low on the warmth quotient.
Bahr's study found that children with indulgent parents showed three-times more risk of taking to alcohol in a big way while those with strict parents were twice as prone to drinking bouts as compared to those with authoritative parents.
Another factor that the study compared relates to religious activities, whereby teenagers who ranked religion as crucial were less prone to drinking.