Every so often, you read or hear a story about a poll, study, report or survey that breathlessly announces something so obvious that your sole response is to say, “They had to pay money to find that out?”

One such example is a pair of telephone surveys conducted in Maine last winter that showed parents underestimate the amount of alcohol their teenagers consume.

And the difference is substantial, showing among other things that there is a considerable lack of effective communication on the practice between the generations.

The surveys, conducted separately among both teens and the parents of teens, were reported recently by the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey. In the teen poll, 65 percent of the Maine high-schoolers responding said they had at least one drink in their lives. And more than 20 percent said they had consumed more than five drinks in one session, the definition of binge drinking.

Meanwhile, the parents vastly underestimated the consumption of alcohol by their offspring, with only 26 percent saying their children had taken at least one drink, and only 2 percent saying they thought their children had engaged in binges.

Along with showing the need for improving family communication skills and levels of trust between parents and their teenagers, the surveys show that all too many teens think that getting blotto is an acceptable way to enjoy alcohol.

It is illegal for people under 21 to drink (except, interestingly enough, at home under the supervision of their parents), but alcohol is a part of adult society. Teens should be carefully taught their parents’ standards about it, whatever they are. Otherwise, they will learn about drinking only from their peers.