When it comes to risky teen behaviors, frustrated parents may feel that that their children are being influenced by forces out of their control. However, research has shown that parents are a driving influence in their teens’ choices, and talking with their teens can help them make an informed decision.
A study offers another way for parents to exert influence, finding that when parents are closely monitoring their children’s behavior and whereabouts the teen is less likely to engage in problem gambling.
The Influence Of Parental Supervision On Teen Gambling Behaviors And Risk
The researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health found that when adolescents had high levels of parental supervision in early adolescence they lowered their risk for gambling behaviors in early adulthood. Adolescents with poor parental supervision at age 11 and a continuing decline of supervision through the age of 14 were more likely to exhibit gambling problems from age 16 to 22.
The study is entitled “Parental Monitoring Trajectories and Gambling” and provides the first findings illustrating a connection between parental supervision in early adolescence and later gambling behaviors.
The researchers teamed with scientists from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to examine the role of parental monitoring among 514 teens in Baltimore. They asked the teens to report on parental supervision and gambling behaviors.
The researchers were able to designate 85 percent of the teens as meeting criteria for a “stable group,” in which there were consistent patterns of parental monitoring. In the remaining 15 percent, called the “declining group,” there was a slightly lower level of parental monitoring at age 11, which continued to decline as the teens reached the age of 14.
The teens in the stable group reported significantly higher levels of parental supervision at every follow-up, with the differences between the groups relatively small and statistically significant.
The teens in both groups were well-monitored throughout early adolescence, but the stable group was monitored all of the time, while the declining group was monitored most of the time.
Senior and corresponding author Silvia Martins, M.D., Ph.D., and associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, explains that while the difference in level of parental monitoring was relatively small, it resulted in a significantly different risk for problem gambling. Martins says the difference could that parents in lower socioeconomic situations already knowing that they need to keep more of an eye on their kids.
What To Do When Teens Want To Spend Time Away From Home
She also explains that when teens want more time with friends instead of being at home, parents should remain vigilant, know where their kids are and with whom they are spending time.
First Study Of Its Kind To Identify Link Between Teen Gambling Behaviors And Parental Supervision
The study is the first to identify a predictor of teen gambling behaviors that parents can significantly influence. The predictors identified in previous studies include gender, race and other variables that are largely out of the control of parents or teens. This study gives parents actionable information that could significantly impact their children’s futures.
The researchers note that declines in gambling in the stable group could also reflect a changing set of priorities among these teens. Time spent on gambling in early adolescence may be replaced with efforts to seek out careers and social relationships. In addition, the researchers say that the teens may be dedicating time to social networking or other online activities.