Fredericksburg Families

Amy Umble writes about family issues and kid-friendly events.

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BFFs hold biggest sway over teens’ drinking

Want to keep your tweens and teens from drinking? Check out their BFFs.

It turns out that one of the biggest indicators of whether a teen will try alcohol is whether their best friend drinks alcohol.

A recent study by a University of Iowa-led team looked at five factors influencing a teen’s drinking. The researchers found that teenagers whose best friends drank are three times as likely to start drinking.

And if you’re thinking this couldn’t apply to your kid, chances are that you’re wrong. A 2012 study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that more than 29 percent of eighth graders said they have used alcohol in their lifetime. For 10th graders, 54 percent of teens reported using alcohol. And almost a quarter of 12th graders reported recent binge drinking.

If those numbers worry you (they certainly caught my eye), Virginia’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has this helpful guide for parents.