James White of the university”s school of medicine examined nearly 3,400 adolescents aged 11 to 16 and found that communicative fathers helped reduce the risk of smoking for both sons and daughters. Meanwhile, mothers seemed only to affect their sons, even though they talked to children of both sexes more frequently than fathers did.
This article tell us that there seems to be yet another benefit of fathers to children (Globe and Mail, 4/18/10). According to a study done by Cardiff University’s Dr. James White, fathers who have heart-to-heart talks with teenagers are more effective than mothers at getting them to avoid smoking. Mothers seem to be particularly inept at influencing daughters’ behavior. Dr. White isn’t sure why that might be, but,
Dr. White suggested mothers might not affect daughters in the same way because they were found to argue more frequently with female children than with sons.
“These arguments may inhibit children perceiving the family unit as … cohesive and stable, which has been linked in previous research to changes in the amount adolescents smoke.’
Dr. White looked at data from Britain’s Youth Panel Survey. None of the participants had smoked prior to the survey. Three years later, White examined the data on those who remained non-smokers and those who had begun the habit. He concluded that interaction with fathers tended to reduce the likelihood of smoking and it did so more than interaction with mothers.
Thanks to Ron for the heads-up.