According to HealthDay, a recent Brigham Young University study has found that parents who enjoy a warm rapport with their teens -- and who are also vigilant in tracking their whereabouts -- have the biggest influence when it comes to preventing their kids from developing a heavy drinking habit.
However, kids whose parents are warm but lax when it comes to tracking their whereabouts have a threefold greater risk for heavy drinking!
Does this mean you should ride your kids? Not quite. Per the BYU study, "strict" parents who aren't as "warm" have kids that are twice as likely to booze it up.
Ah ... the teen years. My parents were somewhere between extremely strict (my dad) and extremely lax (my mom). Once I got the guts up to party in junior and senior year, I partied my ass off.
In the HealthDay article, study coauthor John Hoffmann, a sociologist at BYU's College of Family, Home and Social Sciences, gives parents these words of wisdom: "Realize you need to have both accountability and support in your relationship with your adolescent. Make sure that it's not just about controlling their behavior -- you need to combine knowing how they spend their time away from home with a warm, loving relationship."
As a parent, I see that as THE approach to aspire to. But is it really as black-and-white as all that? I would imagine that trying to get a glimpse into a teen's inner world would be akin to watching TV after 2 AM in the pre-cable days of yore: You'd see nothing but fuzzy gray-and-white dots.
What do you guys think? Do you agree with this research -- and if so, do you have a story to share?