A group of American and Russian researchers asked 4,000 U.S. seventh- and eighth-graders and their parents about lying and alcohol consumption. Not surprisingly, families in which parent-child trust was lacking or absent had greater tendencies for teenagers to lie and higher risks of developing underage drinking habits. Moreover, the study which was published in this month’s Journal of Adolescence found that overbearing parents who supervised their teenagers excessively made the situation worse, says Amy Wallace, instead of better:

The study showed the adolescents who admitted to lying to their parents were more likely to have a drinking habit or a higher risk of future alcohol addiction than those who reported being honest with their parents.

Researchers found that the teens who habitually lied to their parents about their activities away from home were more likely to start drinking alcohol, and at a younger age.

Trusting child-parent relationships lowered the tendency to lie and the risk of developing drinking habits in teens, while excessive parental monitoring was ineffective at preventing drinking and caused teens to lie more often to parents.


One way for parents and their children to establish rapport and trust is for both parties to get their faces out of their mobile devices. We know that kids can get sucked in, but Lisa Rapaport says a small study in this month’s Child Development┬ádemonstrates that parents also get highly distracted by their screens and this can have behavioral consequences:

Parents who are constantly checking their phones for texts, emails and cat videos may be more likely to have kids who misbehave than people who are able to step away from their screens, a small U.S. study suggests.

Researchers examined survey data from parents in 170 families with young children and found mothers and fathers who were more likely to report being distracted by technology during playtime were also more likely to see behavior problems in their kids.


Whining, sulking, outbursts of frustration, tantrums, hyperactivity and restlessness were some of the behaviors observed by the parent-reporters in this study. Rapaport says “technoference” is common in American families:

Among other things, the surveys asked about how often smartphones, tablets, laptops and other technology disrupted family time with interruptions like checking phone messages during meals or answering texts in the middle of conversations. Parents were also asked to rate how problematic their personal device use was based on how often they worried about calls or texts and whether they thought they used mobile devices too much.

While both mothers and fathers thought technology use distracted from interactions with their children at least once a day, the women perceived their phone use as a bigger parenting problem than the men.

About 48 percent of parents reported technology interruptions at least three times a day, while 24 percent said this happened twice a day and 17 percent said it occurred once daily. Only 11 percent said technology never interrupted family time…


My guess is that technoference also leads to poor parent-child relationships and contributes to lying, drinking, and other undesirable (and anti-social) behaviors in teenagers. Good reason to log off, shut down, and look up.


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