Topic 2 Parenting Style

Accumulating evidence suggests that alcohol use – and in particular binge drinking – may have negative effects on adolescent development and increase the risk for alcohol dependence later in life. This underscores the need for parents to help delay or prevent the onset of drinking as long as possible. Parenting style may influence whether their children follow their advice regarding alcohol use.

  • Authoritarian parents typically exert high control and discipline with low warmth and responsiveness. For example, they respond to bad grades with punishment but let good grades go unnoticed.
  • Permissive parent typically exert low control and discipline with high warmth and responsiveness. For example, they deem any grades at all acceptable and fail to correct behaviour that may lead to bad grades.
  • Neglectful parents exert low control and discipline as well as low warmth and responsiveness. For example, they show no interest at all in a child’s school performance.
  • Authoritative parents exert high control and discipline along with high warmth and responsiveness. For example, they offer praise for good grades and use thoughtful discipline and guidance to help improve low grades.

Regardless of the developmental outcome examined – body image, academic success or substance misuse – children raised by authoritative parents tend to fare better than their peers. This is certainly true when it comes to the issue of underage drinking, in part because children raised by such parents learn approaches to problem solving and emotional expression that help protect against the psychological dysfunction that often precedes alcohol misuse. The combination of discipline and support by authoritative parents promotes healthy decision making about alcohol and other potential threats to healthy development.