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Monday, September 12, 2011

Parents Influence Kids Driving Intoxicated

In many ways children are blank slates, extremely impressionable and can pick up behaviors with ease, even bad habits. Parents act as guides for their children, helping them navigate their way through a world that has a lot of snares and traps that can bring them to places they shouldn’t go. In many ways you can bet that a parent’s behavior will, 9 times out of 10, be adopted by their children. Kids who witness their parents drinking and drugging will without a doubt become curious and it is only a matter of time before they adopt the habits of their parents.

A new report points out that teens whose parents drink are more likely to drive under the influence (DUI) when they are adults than children with non-drinking parents. What’s interesting is that the study found that it did not matter how much one’s parents drink, even children whose parents drink moderately are at risk for problems.

Almost 10,000 teens and their parents were surveyed, and then surveyed again seven years later. The report showed that friends also had a role to play in drunk driving, but, parents had the bigger role. Teens are at highest risk when they have both friends and parents who drink alcohol: 11 percent of these teens said they drove under the influence when they were in their 20s.

“The main idea is that parents’ alcohol use has an effect on their kids’ behavior,” study lead author, Mildred Maldonado-Molina of the University of Florida College of Medicine, said in a university news release. “It’s important for parents to know that their behavior has an effect not only at that developmental age when their kids are adolescents, but also on their future behavior as young adults.”

The findings showed that 6 percent of teenagers whose parents drank, even occasionally, said they drove under the influence when they were 21, compared with 2 percent of those whose parents did not drink, Health Day News reports.

The results are published in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention.

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