Friday, December 16, 2005

A Parent's Influence

More from my bathroom reading...

From the American Dental Hygiensts' Association's ACCESS magazine (sorry, there's no link.)

Children's Ideas about Alcohol and Cigarettes Influenced by Parents

A recent study led by Madeline A. Dalton, PhD, of Dartmouth College in
Hanover, New Hampshire, showed that children ages two to six years old were
significantly more likely to "purchase" cigarettes and alcohol while pretending
to shop if they had observed their parens smoking and drinking . They were
four times as likely to choose cigarettes if their parents smokes, and threee
times as likely to select alcohol if their parents drank at least once a

The study was designed as a role-playing exercise in which children ages
three to six years old were given two dolls and asked to pretend to be one,
while the researcher pretended to be the other. The researcher acted as a
friend who had been invited to dinner by the child, creating a need for the
child to visit a grocery store and select items to purchase for the even.
The exercise was simplified for the two-year old children, who were instructed
to select a doll and take it shopping. The child's purchase of alcohol and
cigarettes at the store, and the use of these products subsequently, were
recorded by the researcher.


The findings support that children are heavily influenced by their parents'
actions when determining how alcohol and cigarettes are used during social

This study is unique because of the preschool age children that it involved and tested. Parental influence is so strong, even at this young age. The children haven't even started to make an "informed decision"- it was already taught to them by their parents.

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