Also, Australian kids are drunker than American kids.
This from a new study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, co-authored by UW Professor Richard Catalano.
He and his colleagues looked at nearly 2,000 kids in Washington state and Victoria, Australia, over a three-year time frame from grades seven through nine and compared which ones developed more alcohol and drug problems: those who had parents who let them drink while supervised and those with parents who never let them drink at all.
We'll let you guess which group fared better.
Here's the take-away line from the study.
Providing opportunities for drinking in supervised contexts did not inhibit alcohol use or harmful use in either state. These results, coupled with recent evidence from van der Vorst and colleagues (2010), lead us to suggest that policies should not encourage parents to drink with their children nor provide opportunities to supervise their use.
Somewhat equally interesting is this:
It appears likely that, in the Australia harm-minimization context, a greater number of parents find themselves in the position of having to manage adolescent drinking . . . Our findings suggest that higher rates of early-age alcohol use and higher levels of adult-supervised use contribute to higher rates of alcohol-related problems in Australia.
Makes sense, as Aussie adults are some of the rowdiest drunks to ever walk the earth.
Still, while the study may show that drinking with one's children is bad for them, it says nothing about the effect that such drinking has on the parents themselves.
By the time people are old enough to have adolescent teens, life has usually devolved into a monotonous and depressing march toward the grave. Drinking with one's offspring at that point likely provides parents with some of the few enjoyable moments they spend with the little bastards.