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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Moms are the Alcohol Police - Dads Not so Much

Mothers have more influence than dads in convincing kids not to drink young. Why?

According to data pulled from a study done by the Partnership for Drugfree.org in 2009, 73% of moms and only 59% of dads are likely to talk with their kids about alcohol use. That 15% is a pretty big gap. They don't say if this is because dads don't consider drinking alcohol as serious as cigarette smoking or smoking marijuana, both of which dads are more involved in talking about. But it makes sense.

Let's face it, in most families it's the mother who is raising the children. I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of times my kids' father has proactively raised an issue about our kids lives.

To be fair, that's in the six years since we haven't lived together. I don't know if the moms create their own less involved dad because they handle everything, or because the dads are somewhat hardwired to worry more about other stuff. But whatever it is, moms have more influence on their kids' lives than fathers. Period.

The Partnership did find that fathers are engaged almost as much as moms in monitoring their kids' daily activity, with moms at 91% and dads at 86%. That's certainly a lot higher than 20 years ago.

Moms also tend to be the alcohol police because they are nurturers and big believers in getting help when a child is abusing alcohol. Moms are the listeners, kids share their problems with them more. Plus seventy nine percent of moms think treatment will help, while only 69% of dads do.

The Partnership's conclusion is to keep directing anti-alcohol campaigns to the mothers because that's where they will have the most influence. I say we just all keep talking to our kids.

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