More Talking with Parents May Protect Kids Against Later Alcohol

More Talking with Parents May Protect Kids Against Later Alcohol

Being a parent is a tough job, but however ragged your kids may run you, you’re still their best chance to keep them on the straight and safe path through life. New research published in Biological Psychology has shown that parent and child relationships that include clear and regular communication help children avoid abusive behaviors as they grow into adults.

The study tracked children between the ages of eleven and thirteen over a fourteen year period, until they were twenty-five or older. Study participants who received regular and supportive attention from their parents were less likely to develop problems with alcohol or other abusive behavioral habits with food or drugs.

It wasn’t that the parents taught them good habits or managed to forbid them from developing these behaviors. The research, which used functional magnetic resonance imaging scans, showed that children whose parents talked to them developed higher levels of cognitive brain connections. Basically, the regular conversations and contact with their parents on a conversational level helped their neurological networks more fully develop. This was shown on the fMRI scans, and is hard medical data. The findings were combined and correlated with psychological surveys of the participants, and resulted in the final study. Participants who had frequent healthy interactions with their parents were at a lower risk of abusive behavior.

Key Points:

  • 1Communication between parents and young children actually rewires the children’s brains and may reduce risky behaviors in adulthood.
  • 2Subjects were quizzed at age 11-13 about communication with their parents. At age 25 they were given MRIs to study their brain connections called anterior salience networks (ASNs).
  • 3Participants with more pre-teen communication had more developed ASNs and showed a lower propensity for risky behaviors with alcohol as well as eating issues.


A new study has found that children with greater communication with their parents in early adolescence have less harmful alcohol use and emotional eating in young adulthood.
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