Melbourne, Dec 20 : An Australian research has revealed that parents who allow their children to consume liquor are actually encouraging underage drinking.
The study involving more than 2,000 students was a collaboration between Deakin University, the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne University and the University of NSW.
It brought to light the strong influence of parents on teenage drinking, and discovered that underage drinking was widespread.
Almost one-third of students starting high school confessed drinking alcohol, while nearly 50 per cent had drunk alcohol before eight years of age.
However, the study also showed that banning children from consuming alcohol at home considerably decreased the risk in making teenage drinkers.
Deakin University Professor of Psychology John Toumbourou said that the results came as a wake-up call for parents who thought that it was right to allow their children to have a sip of alcohol.
"Parents totally underestimate the influence they have on their teenager's drinking and the harm they put them in by letting them drink at home," the age.com.au quoted him as saying.
"We found that teens were around half as likely to have consumed alcohol by age 13 when their parents said that they did not allow their children to have even a small sip of alcohol at home or at celebrations in the first year of secondary school," he added.
If the parents drank regularly or smoked, their children were more likely to drink. However, firm rules to prohibit alcohol still worked in homes in which parents were regular drinkers or smokers.
"The findings suggest clear directions parents can take to curb the currently alarming rates of teenage alcohol consumption," said Professor Toumbourou.
He also stressed the importance of intervention programs like Resilient Families, which was found to improve parent-children relationship, besides helping reduce alcohol use, in a previous study.
He said that given the rise in alcohol consumption among teenagers, such programs should be run in primary schools. (ANI)
© 2007 ANI