Sorry moms, you better think again before reaching for that glass of wine to reward yourself for another awesome day of parenting! As if you didn’t have enough guilt on your plates, it seems something else is your fault – the future drinking habits of your children. The British think-tank Demos tracked the drinking patterns of 18,000 people over three decades and came to one conclusion – adults drink because their mommies did.
The study found that at the age of 16, teenagers were mainly influenced by their peers in how much they drank, while their parents’ attitudes towards alcohol appeared to show little impact. Yet by the age of 34, the likelihood that they were “binge drinking” rose in line with how much they had thought, as a child, that their mother drank… Yet the study found no relationship between the drinking habits of fathers, and the later behaviour of their adult children.
There were many other factors that appeared to contribute to a future propensity to drink, including levels of parental warmth, tough love, and how young children were when their parents divorced. But of course, the study chose to focus on Mom’s role in young Billy’s future craving for vodka.
The study was conducted on people born in 1970, so there may be many outdated cultural norms that contributed to skewing these results. The most obvious being that men took a less active parenting role, weren’t home as much as mothers, and hence didn’t drink around their kids. Instead they did there drinking the way most dignified adults who aren’t tethered to their homes prefer to do it – in a bar. Good for them. That certainly doesn’t mean that their drinking habits affected their children less than the habits of their wives. It just means that their kids weren’t seeing them drink.
I think mom’s have enough to feel guilty about in their day-to-day lives without researchers taking minute samples of the population and making sweeping generalizations and accusations about women and their role in screwing up their kids. We already know everything is our fault. You don’t have to reach 30 years into the past to prove it to us.