Sorry moms. You’re responsible yet again, and before I tell you why, you might consider putting down that cocktail.
New research says that moms determine their children’s drinking habits and the amount of beers dads drinks don’t have any impact, according to the British Telegraph. (Why do dads always get off so easy?!?)
The British nonpartisan political think tank Demos followed the beer-drinking and wine-swilling habits of 18,000 people over three decades (Yes, this seems to be a thorough study). Researchers assessed study participants’ alcohol intake at age 16 and 34.
They found that typical 16-year-olds are mainly influenced by their peers when it comes to drinking. No surprises, here. Peer pressure is a powerful thing.
But by age 34, people’s drinking patterns are tightly connected to those of their mothers, and the more a a mother drank while raising kids, the more alcohol her children are likely to consume later in life. The study reports that a person’s propensity to “binge drinking” rose “in line with how much they had thought, as a child, that their mother drank,” the Telegraph reports.
“What we found really interesting was this delayed effect; the impact of what teenagers perceived about their mothers’ drinking habits doesn’t show an impact at the time, but decades later,” Jonathan Birdwell, head of Demos’ Citizens Programme, told the Telegraph.
Dads, on the other hand, are completely off the hook. Researchers learned that children were less influenced by their dads because men often drink outside the house at bars, while moms are sipping drinks around their kids at home.
How seriously should we take this study? Probably not too seriously, since we’re now in the 21st century and more dads are sticking around home. “The study’s participants were born in 1970, so the possible social explanations for the mom drinking link are a little outdated, even if they’ve already affected the drinking habits of an entire generation,” a Jezebel article points out.
What we should take away from this study is that kids are easily influenced and parents with serious alcohol problems should seek help for their kids’ sake. And moms, if your husband is frequently leaving you at home to hit the bars with his buddies, make sure that he’s returning the favor. You deserve nights out with your friends too! It’s much more enjoyable to sip a fine vintage at a wine bar with girlfriends than it is to slug wine at home while you’re helping kids with homework.
Bottom line: Parents should be good role-models for their kids when it comes to alcohol. Enjoy wine with dinner but no need to show them what a game of quarters looks like. And if you want to party-hardy, it’s always better to find a responsible sitter or leave one parent at home who is going to engage with the kids and not the liquor cabinet.
What do you think about this new study? Do you drink around your kids? Did your parents consume alcohol around you when you were a kid?