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Parents Play a Key Role in Alcohol Awareness
There is no question that drinking is part of American culture.  Parents would be ignorant to assume their son or daughter wont be exposed to alcohol or drugs before they are 14 years old.  The real issue about alcohol is it effect on each individual.  Contrary to popular belief, alcohol actually effects people differently and at different stages of life.  Alcohol isn't always bad either, as many studies have come out that have proven that small amounts of alcohol can actually have health benefits.  For children and teenagers, alcohol use can damage and interfere with normal brain development, which is one of the reason the drinking age has been set to 21 in all U.S. states.  It's not to torture young adults, but rather to create and foster a safer development.

Interesting, there is new research that shows that young adults under 18 believe their parents should have a say in whether or not they drink alcohol.  Moreover, parenting style plays a huge part in how teens react to their parents.  In general, teens raised with warmth, appropriate boundaries and discipline tend to have more respect for their parents then the ones that are overly protective or harsh.

Parenting plays a vital role in teens alcohol awareness education.  It is estimated that as of 2009 teen drinking is actually declining, yet the number of teen drinkers is still very high.  Almost 40% of teenagers report trying alcohol before 8th grade and over 55% report being drunk at least once by 12 grade.  Most reports suspect these numbers are low.

Parenting Style
Much research suggests that parenting style can actually effect the behavior of teen drinking.  Parents need to better understand the impact they have on their children and recognize their parenting style makes a difference.

1. Parents who are authoritarians tend to dictate rules to their kids.  They tend to use a lot of discipline and are not very warm.  They might punish bad behavior but not acknowledge something positive, like a good report card.

2. Permissive parents are the ones that are not paying attention.  They essentially let their kids do what they want, set poor or diffuse boundaries and lack discipline.  They might think they are doing their teens a favor by being their friends, but in reality they are setting them up to fail by not showing them they care what they do.

3. Authoritative parents set appropriate boundaries, use warmth and love, and have appropriate discipline.  They help guide their children in making good decisions and foster an open and clear line of communication to talk. 

In a 2002 study, authoritative parents had children who exhibited less alcohol and drug abuse as well as better grades and peer relationships.  Don't allow yourself to become the kind of parent who could have prevented a problem with alcohol.  Learning skills in Parenting classes or alcohol awareness classes can be a first big step.

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