Should I Let My Kids Drink at Home? – Ask Dr. JPL

Should I Let My Kids Drink at Home? – Ask Dr. JPL

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Question

Dear Dr. JPL: Is it good to let kids drink when they are still under age at home under the supervision of their parents? Does this promote or discourage responsible drinking as an adult?

Answer:

Teens look to their parents for guidance and support. They take the messages their parents send seriously. They learn most effectively from observing behavior. Actions then clearly speak louder than words when it comes to teens taking advice from parents. Parents who allow their teens to drink at home are sending a mixed message. Although teens may be told that they are allowed to drink in very specific circumstances, the message they tend to receive is that their parents are okay with them drinking anywhere.

Research clearly reflects that teens permitted by parents to drink in their own homes or elsewhere are at higher risk to engage in underage drinking and become alcohol abusers.

The argument that teens are ‘safer’ drinking at home simply does not pan out in the reality. Parents are best served engaging their teens in interactive discussion about the perils of underage drinking. Teens with parents who offer education about underage drinking and set clear consequences for such behavior are simply at lower risk.

ASK DR. JPL: Have a question about your own teen and alcohol? Ask our resident tween, teen and parenting expert, Dr. Jennifer Powell-Lunder Psy.D, to help you have The Alcohol Talk with your child. Submit your questions on the Ask Dr. JPL page of this blog. Dr. JPL may answer your question on the blog to help other parents address similar issues with their children.

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Dr. Jennifer Powell-Lunder is one of the tween, teen and parenting experts that participated in the focus groups that helped form the new educational campaign and website, TheAlcoholTalk.com. Her expertise and vast experience were also tapped for much of the advice and guidance included on the site. Her unique understanding of the communication techniques necessary for The Alcohol Talk to effectively take place make her an ideal spokesperson for the campaign. Dr. Powell-Lunder is a clinical psychologist specializing in work with tweens, teens, young adults, and their families. She is co-author of the book Teenage as a Second Language (Adams Media 2010) and the creator of www.itsatweenslife.com, an interactive and informational website for parents and tweens, and co-creator of www.Talkingteenage.com, an interactive informational website for the parents of teenagers. Jennifer is a regular contributor for outlets including Psychology Today, Parenting Magazine, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, GalTime, KnowMoreTV, Examiner, and North Texas Kids. She has also been featured in The Huffington Post, Yahoo, AOL’s ParentDish, Mamapedia and many other blogs and websites. As a parenting expert on both radio and television programs including NPR’s Talk of the Nation, NBC’s TODAY in New York, Better TV and WCBS, FOX and ABC affiliates, Jennifer talks about tween, teen and parenting issues. She was profiled in Westchester Magazine’s January 2012 feature on ‘People to Watch Jennifer is a published researcher, in-demand speaker and consultant on tween, teen, and young adult issues. She spent almost a decade as a Program Director of an inpatient adolescent psychiatric unit at a private psychiatric hospital in the Northeast where she now serves as Senior Clinical Liaison. She is also an adjunct professor of psychology at Pace University. Jennifer sits on the Board of Directors for Family Ties, a non-profit family advocacy agency serving Westchester County, NY and maintains a private outpatient practice in Bedford Hills, NY.

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