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While most parents would think that allowing their kids to have a bottle of beer or a glass of wine at home after dinner is an effective way of controlling adolescent alcohol-related problems, a new report suggests that parents are actually doing more harm than good.

A study conducted by American and Australian researchers say that middle-class kids that are given the freedom to drink, even in moderation, at home by their parents could face more alcohol troubles as they continue their teenage years.

The study was done with more than 1,900 students from 12 to 13 years old participating in a survey. Data gathered showed that kids who were allowed by their parents to drink at home as a means of “harm minimization” suffered more as they developed conditions such as not being able to stop drinking, passing out due to intoxication, and figuring in physical fights.

Kids whose parents did not tolerate alcohol at home experienced similar problems with their teens but at later years compared to their counterparts.

The Social Development Research Group in Seattle, USA and the Centre for Adolescent Health in Melbourne, Australia worked together for the new study. The complete results can be read in last Thursday’s edition of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Dr. Barbara McMorris from the Minnesota University stressed that parents do play a major role when it comes to alcohol abuse among teenagers. "Despite the fact that peers and friends become important influences as adolescents get older, parents still have a big impact.”

Dr. McMorris added that parents should not use alcohol to develop a good relationship with their kids. "Kids need parents to be parents and not drinking buddies. Adults need to be clear about what messages they are sending.”