When it comes to underage drinking and drugs, moms matter—not just to their own kids but also to their children’s friends. A new study suggests that “authoritative” moms—moms who balance love and communication with supervision—positively influence not only their kids but also the teens their kids befriend. These friends, compared to the friends of teens with more permissive moms, were 40 percent less likely to get drunk, 38 percent less likely to binge drink, and 43 percent less likely to smoke marijuana. Lead researcher Holly Shakya, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, said good parents should realize they have a strong influence: “Parents’ behaviors affect their children, and that effect spreads to their friends.”
Of course, negative maternal behavior also influences kids. Another recent study from the United Kingdom found that adults tend to mirror their mom’s drinking habits more than their dad’s. Teens were asked to evaluate whether their parents drank never, sometimes, often or always. The higher moms rose on this four-point scale, the higher the likelihood that their children would drink too much as adults.