Young People and Drinking

Did you know?
It's illegal to serve alcohol in a private home to under 18s without their parents' permission

Why young people drink

Every young person is different, and young people's lives are clearly quite different from adult's lives. That said, though, years of research make it clear that there are some common reasons why young people drink alcohol and - unsurprisingly - many of them are similar to the reasons why adults drink.

Family example Parents who drink alcohol are more likely to have children who drink at risky levels.
Family attitudes Many parents believe that serving alcohol at home teaches children to drink responsibly - but research indicates that parents with liberal attitudes towards alcohol are more likely to have children who drink at risky levels. And other research indicates that children whose families refused to serve alcohol to them at home were less likely to drink in other situations.
Family relationships Young people from families in which there is excessive punishment, control or conflict are more likely to drink more than young people from other families. Also, young people who believe that their parents care about and are supportive of them drink less than other young people.
Peer example Most teens believe that all other teenagers drink. (Although research proves that they don't!).
Peer pressure As well as believing that all young people drink, many teenagers find that their friends encourage them to drink. Creating some understanding that not every teenager drinks alcohol can arm them with information that they can use in discussions with their peers.
Social status Many young people believe that drinking helps them fit in, or believe that without alcohol, they won't have the confidence to take part in social situations.
Societal attitudes Australia has a strong drinking culture. Alcohol is present in many social situations and can seem to be the normal thing to do for everyone.
Alcohol advertising When your teen sees celebrities or role models drinking, they can easily assume it's a socially desirable thing to do.
Other interests Young people who work on developing their academic skills, who exercise regularly or take part in the arts or sport, or who have other hobbies tend to be less likely to abuse alcohol.