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.
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.