Parents who provide their teens with alcohol and a place to consume it may think they are teaching their children “responsible drinking.” A new review of studies concludes this view is misguided. Researchers found parental provision of alcohol is associated with increased teen alcohol use.
In some cases, parental provision of alcohol is also linked with increased heavy episodic drinking and higher rates of alcohol-related problems, the researchers report in the Journal Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
“We suspect there is a surprising amount of ‘social hosting’ going on—parents providing alcohol for their teens and their friends,” said study co-author Ken C. Winters, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota Medical School. “Parents probably aren’t aware that social hosting could have criminal implications in some states if things take a bad turn. I can appreciate that social hosting is often done with good intentions. Parents think they are preventing something worse by having their kids drink at home with their friends. But the risks are great.”