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Study suggests parents’ drinking increases DUI risk among kids

When it comes to raising kids, there are no clear answers about what is the right and wrong way of doing things. Families have different parenting styles and norms that they believe lead to the healthiest children possible.

One aspect of parenting, especially for parents with kids entering their teen years, is how to approach the subject of alcohol use. And if the recent reports about a DWI-related study are correct, it sounds like a lot of parents might want to look at their own drinking behaviors.

According to reports, researchers from the University of Florida’s College of Medicine studied a group of nearly 10,000 subjects. They looked at their behaviors and studied answers from parent surveys. The research, if valid, suggests a pretty sobering piece of advice for parents who don’t want their kids to grow up to drink and drive:

If parents want to decrease the chance of their child committing a DUI, they shouldn’t drink at home.

Common parenting logic has generally been to drink responsibly and in moderation. If kids see their parents doing that, then they will likely do the same, right? But the study in this case says that if parents drink even just a glass of wine at dinner, their children are more likely to drive under the influence as adults.

Six percent of the kids whose parents drank alcohol said they drove while intoxicated. Two percent of those whose parents didn’t drink reported driving drunk. The likelihood of a subject having driven while drunk increased if they had friends who consume alcohol, as well as parents who drank.

Sources suggest that the lesson from the study is for parents to not just try to model safe drinking behavior. They should specifically talk to their young teens about the risks of drunk driving. A simple and honest talk could protect the kids from injury and future legal hardship.


LiveScience: “Kids’ DUI Risk Rises If Parents Drink at Home,” Remy Melina, Sep. 12, 2011

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