Concerns over young people and alcohol misuse have become increasingly prevalent among policy makers. This has largely been due to associated fears over rising crime and anti-social behaviour resulting from binge and chronic drinking. Evidence suggests that sensible parental drinking, combined with open communication and moderate levels of parental supervision, is most likely to lead to a reduction in alcohol-related harm. However, recent research indicates that many parents lack the guidance needed to convey ‘sensible drinking' messages to young people. In our study at the Trust for the Study of Adolescence (TSA), we wanted to explore the actual strategies that parents use to communicate about alcohol, and whether (and if so how) they try to supervise young people's drinking. We interviewed 40 parents of teenage children aged 13-17 years to explore these issues. The sample included mothers and fathers, a range of family structures and circumstances, and parents from different social backgrounds. Two particularly interesting aspects of the findings were the issues that parents find difficult to deal with, and the things parents believe can help in communicating about, and supervising, alcohol use in the family.
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|Published - 1 Jan 2006