Parents are main influence on kid drinking

April 14, 2012 at 5:51 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 14 (UPI) -- U.S. parents are the leading influence on their children's decisions not to drink alcohol, a survey indicated.

The Century Council, a non-profit group funded by distillers dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, found parental influence with regard to underage drinking has increased significantly over the past 10 years.

Eighty-three percent of youths ages 10-18 cite parents as the leading influence in their decision to not drink at all, or not to drink on occasion -- up 28 percent from 2003.

Parents rank significantly higher than friends/peers and teachers which tied for second as the leading influence on their decisions about drinking at 33 percent, followed by 28 percent who said punishment, 24 percent who said brothers and sisters and 23 percent who said law enforcement.

A decade ago, research showed a disconnect between kids and parents on the topic of underage drinking. For example, in 2003, only 26 percent of youth reported their parents or grandparents had spoken to them four or more times in the past year about the dangers of drinking alcohol.

Forty-six percent of parents reported talking with their son or daughter ages 10-18 four or more times in the past year about the dangers of underage drinking, while 42 percent of youth ages 10-18 reported speaking as frequently with their parents, grandparents, or another adult caregiver on the issue.

The Century Council contracted Toluna to conduct an online survey of youth ages 10-18 and their parents living in the same household. The margin of error was 4.3 percentage points.

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