Parents' alcohol use influences teenagers

The drinking habits of parents in the UK could play a role in whether or not their teenage children decide to imbibe. This is according to a new Ipsos MORI study, which found that youngsters who watch their mothers and fathers getting drunk are twice as likely to regularly consume alcohol themselves.

Around 5,700 young people aged between 13 and 16 were questioned in the survey - carried out for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, an endowed charity that funds a UK-wide development programme - which revealed one-in-five claimed to have been inebriated by the time they were 14, the BBC reports.

Indeed, half of the respondents admitted they had been drunk when they reached 16.

Pamela Bremner, from Ipsos MORI and lead author of the report, said of the investigation: "It found that the behaviour of friends and family is the most common influential factor in determining how likely and how often a young person will drink alcohol."

John Castleton, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "Alcohol is our 'favourite drug' and many parents regularly drink and/or binge drink, normalising these activities. Young people's behaviour reflects wider values in society - alcohol is readily available and drinking is strongly linked with socialising and having a good time. 

"Parental attitudes (including an authoritative approach) are important, but so is modelling consistent behaviour and not giving mixed messages or having double standards. 

"The complexity of the situations young people face when making decisions about consuming alcohol needs to be reflected in policies, information and interventions for young people and parents."