Those young adults whose parents monitor their social interactions may be less likely to display impulsive behavior traits and to have alcohol-related problems, says a new study.
The level of monitoring is linked to parenting style, and the link is stronger with the parent of the opposite gender.
This study is one of the first to explore the link between parenting style and parental monitoring, as well as to explore the monitoring style of each parent individually, says Julie A. Patock-Peckham, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Baylor University and one of the study authors.
The study involved 581 college students from the Missouri University of Science and Technology and San Diego State University. Participating students completed a questionnaire that addressed the parenting styles of both their mothers and fathers, perceptions of mothers' and fathers' knowledge of their friendships and social plans, and questions about their own impulsiveness and alcohol-related problems.
When the researchers analyzed the data on gender and monitoring style, a distinct pattern emerged: more parental monitoring by the opposite-gender parent can indirectly reduce alcohol-related problems by buffering impulsiveness.
The stronger association with the opposite-gender parent was surprising, says Patock-Peckham. "People seem to think that women or girls will be ok if just their mothers are involved in their lives, and this is really showing that fathers have an impact," she says.
The same is true for mothers having an influence over their sons.