As we emerge from our collective NYE hangover, the news as usual is full of doom over binge drinking – especially teenage binge drinking.
It’s a grim thought to imagine that a decade down the line, our beaming babies and angelic toddlers will be rebellious teens ready to swipe the contents of our drinks cabinet if we dare turn our backs.
But a BBC report I read this morning will cheer any parents out there who, like me, aim to create a secure attachment with their babies and pre-schoolers.
Apparently, “high levels of parental attachment when children were aged under five significantly reduced the chances of them drinking excessively later in life.”
A big thumbs up then for breastfeeding, co-sleeping and baby carrying – who knew that we could prevent alchohol-induced A&E visits and save millions, by simply issuing a sling to all new parents!
According to the report, “parenting style is one of the strongest influences on how a child drinks as a young adult.”
The secret, apparently, is to be warm and affectionate to your kids until age 10 then combine this with discipline – ages 15 and 16, especially, need more supervision.
The study by independent think tank Demos looked at 15,000 children born in the UK in the last 40 years.
Important factors included whether the family shared meals, how much time was spent together, whether parents knew where their teenage kids were in the evenings and how often household rules were broken.
One conclusion, that doesn’t come as a massive surprise, was that bad parenting at 16 saw teenagers 8-times more likely to binge drink and over twice as likely to drink heavily at 34.
“Tough love” is key, it claims, which according to Demos consists of children conforming to negotiable rules and parents giving kids some autonomy in decision making.
What do you think? Does the connection between early-parenting and teen binge drinking make sense to you? What’s your style of parenting? I’d love to hear!
This post was first published on Natural Baby Shower’s blog. Read more posts here >>