Our thanks to an Australian follower of this blog for an interesting piece by a female journalist (what are the chances?) in the Sydney Morning Herald. The paper carries this headline:
Teen girls influenced by fathers’ heavy drinking
It’s one of those headlines which is both true and misleading. The chart shows clearly that the likelihood of Australian teenagers (both boys and girls) trying alcohol by age 14–15 is higher if the mother is a “risky” drinker, than if the father is one. It’s not permitted to criticise mothers, so the only stats in the report which can be used to criticise fathers disproportionately relate to their seemingly greater influence than mothers on daughters in this area. The protective effect of not being a risky drinker is higher for mothers than fathers, and the arguably greater obligation on mothers than fathers to not be risky drinkers isn’t explored in the article, either.
The article states, “Previous research has found teenagers from single-parent households are also more likely to drink”, without pointing to the obvious fact that the parents in the vast majority of single-parent households will be mothers, who are by definition immune to criticism.
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