*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on Live Science.
Parents can help prevent their underage kids from drinking by employing a relatively simple strategy: setting clear rules that prohibit drinking, new research shows.
The finding is based on the survey responses from more than 1,100 U.S. teenagers and young adults in 24 cities in seven states. The participants, who were between 15 and 20 years old, reported their partying behavior, and also whether their families had clear rules against drinking.
"Family rules may be a useful complement to community rules and policies" in the effort to prevent underage drinking, said Mark Wolfson, the study's lead researcher and a professor of social sciences and health policy at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina.
The researchers found that the teenagers whose parents had clear rules against underage drinking were 35 percent less likely to have attended a party where there was alcohol in the past 30 days, compared with teens whose parents did not have crystal-clear rules.
Moreover, the 658 survey participants (about 60 percent) who said they had recently attended parties with alcohol were 38 percent less likely to drink at those parties if their parents had rules against it, compared with kids whose parents didn't have clear rules, the researchers found. Future research should examine whether parents can be coached in developing effective and appropriate rules for their children, Wolfson said. Most parents do set rules, the study showed: Among the teens in the study, 58 percent reported that their parents had clear rules against drinking, Wolfson found.
The finding, though preliminary, could empower families and ultimately help them shape the healthy development of their children, said Adam Lippert, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Colorado Denver who was not involved in the research.
Source: Live Science