Moms and dads searching for reasons to keep their divorce as peaceful as possible can draw potent motivation from a new study by British-based think tank Demos, which found that young children who experienced high levels of stress and instability during and after their parents divorce were more like to develop “problematic drinking behaviors” by the time they reached age 16.
The study, which looked at the drinking habits of 32,000 people spanning three decades, discovered that parental style during a child’s formative years is “enormously important” in influencing how they view alcohol later in life. The study also pointed out that parental warmth and engagement, alongside reliable discipline and rules – particularly around alcohol consumption as children get older — are keys to a positive parenting style.
“Simply put, if a set of parents spends a lot of time with the child, while also enforcing rules and discipline, the child is much less likely to drink excessively as an adolescent and as an adult, compared with children whose parents did not,” the study declared. “The combination of discipline and affection, sometimes called ‘tough ‘love’, is known to be related to several positive outcomes for children – and responsible drinking is one of them.”
Anticipating how divorcing parents might interpret this news – with overwhelming guilt, fear, shame or even paranoia – the study’s author Jamie Bartless quickly pointed out that “divorce won’t make your child a drinker, but instability and stress around relationship breakdown takes its toll on parents and children.”
Bartless also added that it’s crucial for divorcing parents with young children to have a solid support network in place.
It’s a kernel of wisdom that’s echoed by mental health professionals, who believe that a support system plus therapy from a qualified expert are vital for almost all divorcing people, regardless of whether they’re parents, or how old their children might be.
Source: The Telegraph
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