Grace M. Barnes has a PhD in sociology and conducts her studies in the Research Institute of Alcoholism. Her main focuses are on alcohol use and abuse, adolescent and family issues, and parenting. Alcohol use and abuse are current social issues of widespread public concern. She covers the various aspects of alcohol use by youth with emphasis on teenage drinkers by bringing attention to how the family socialization theory shows that parents, as models, influence the development of different kinds of drinking behaviors in their children. Barnes states, “It has been documented that the patterns of drinking among teenagers closely reflects the alcohol consumption behaviors of adults in the same sociocultural context” (27). Adolescent’s bad habits or addictions are usually reflected off of the parent’s patterns of habits or addictions. If a parent is a drinker and does not have much or any parental control, there is more of a chance that the child will develop the problem behaviors learned from the parent. There is a correlation between parental support and adolescent alcohol abuse. Barnes writes, “Heavy drinking adolescents will be more likely than other adolescents to have mothers and fathers who are heavy drinkers” (29). Adolescents who are moderate users of alcohol will be more likely than others to have come from families where moderate use of alcohol was demonstrated. When a child watches a parent use and or abuse alcohol, the child learns to thinking it is acceptable and has the possibility of becoming dependent of it. Drinking as a youth is one of the learned social behaviors that are anticipatory of the transition from childhood to adulthood. The attitudes and behaviors of parents regarding alcohol are good predictors of adolescents drinking habits.
Dr. Christie A. Hartman is a behavioral scientist who earned her MA in Clinical Psychology and her PhD in Behavioral Genetics. She has completed a research in Genetics of Adolescent Antisocial Drug Dependence. She examines the familial transmission of alcohol abuse and dependence to adolescents that is accounted for by factors from the parents and adolescent’s alcohol intake. Hartman records, “Alcohol dependence symptoms typically develop during adolescence and young adulthood and the earlier an adolescent commences drinking, the greater the odds of developing alcohol abuse and dependence” (657). It is well established that the parenting effects and a family’s environment strongly influence a child’s risk of alcohol abuse and dependence. Relevant factors to the development of alcohol use and dependence in children of alcoholics are if the parents use alcohol, if alcohol is available at home and if parents do not have control. Hartman explains, “Problem alcohol use, including alcohol abuse and dependence, aggregates in families. Parental problem alcohol use increases the risk of alcohol abuse and dependence in offspring” (657). Most people are given their first drink of alcohol by parents and family, and much of an individual’s knowledge about alcohol is developed throughout adolescence by family interactions. There is a clear link between teenage drinking and family life. Hartman delineates, “The amount of alcoholic relatives is an important predictor of adolescent alcohol initiation” (660). Numerous studies have demonstrated that the drinking patterns of parents and their adolescents are correlated, and children of alcoholics are generally at a greater risk of becoming alcoholics themselves. Specific parent-child interactions of alcohol use precede and are associated with adolescent drinking and or future alcohol use. If a child has a higher chance of using alcohol, it also has more chance of the consequence of becoming a dependent, or an alcoholic.
Margaret J. Easley is a family therapist for Focus on Family and a doctoral student in Human Development. Norman B. Epstein has his PhD in clinical psychology and is an