Friday, March 18, 2011

“Today Show” and WSJ discuss: Should parents teach responsible drinking?

Could there be benefits to allowing teens to drink in moderation at home? A recent segment on "The Today Show" asked this question of college students and others, mimicking a conversation common among parents.

Here at 21 Reasons, however, we see holes in "Today"'s conclusions, as well as a misrepresentation of current research: 
  • The experts on “Today” cite many European countries where drinking at meals is common as models for teaching responsible drinking at home. However, a recent article in The Wall Street Journal cites a study examining binge drinking among teens which found France, Italy, Ireland, Denmark and the U.K. to have higher rates than here in the States.
  • "Today"'s focus group of college students presented the "forbidden fruit" argument, which says that outlawing or disallowing a behavior will make it more attractive to boundary-pushing teens. However, research shows that kids are less likely to drink if they think their parents strongly disapprove or if they think they'll be caught.
  • "Today" also ignores research which tells us that teen brains are still developing -- and, in fact, they'll doing so well into the mid-20s. Drinking alcohol damages young brains, which means there is no such thing as "safe" underage drinking.
Parents should take away from this conversation the knowledge that you matter -- you, more than anyone else, can affect the choices your teen will make. For great resources on how to prevent your teen from drinking, visit

Want to watch the clip described above? Just hit play:

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