Study Suggests That Mothers Pass Drinking Habits to Their Kids


According to researchers who patiently tracked booze-swilling among parents for three decades, mothers are the parental figures most likely to turn their children into future winos who wander red-eyed into pharmacies and purchase the largest and finest cask of Woodbridge pinot noir their local druggist has to offer. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, per se, it’s just that politely sipping a Twisted Tea at a friend’s law school graduation and getting ride-in-a-pedicab drunk might be linked to how many glasses of chardonnay one’s mother liked to have at dinner.

A British think tank called Demos tracked the drinking patterns of 18,000 people over the last three decades, finding that, at about 16, those more precocious drinkers were most influenced by their peers, while at 34, their propensity to “binge drink” correlated to how much they had thought, as a young-un, that their mother drank. Researchers found that for each step on the four-point scale of booziness that mothers ascended, their children’s drinking rose about 1.3 times above government recommendations. Fathers, meantime, had no such effect on their kids’ adulthood drinking habits

The findings suggest two things, namely that, among parents who drink on the regular, mothers do most of their drinking in the home, while fathers drink outside the home thinking they’re cleverly avoiding their ugly families when what they’re really doing is avoiding themselves, and that drinking is still more culturally accepted for men than for women. At least, that’s what head of the Demos Citizens Program Jonathan Birdwell believes. He suggests that this “cultural acceptability” could explain why fatherly drinking has little impact on kids, while motherly drinking remains a significant imprinting experience.

The study’s participants were born in 1970, so the possible social explanations for the mom drinking link are a little outdated, even if they’ve already affected the drinking habits of an entire generation.

Mother’s ruin: mums determine their children’s drinking habits [Telegraph]

Image via Icons Jewelry/Shutterstock.

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