01/15/2013 10:37 am ET Updated Mar 17, 2013

Mothers, Daughters and Alcohol

There seemed to be both collective surprise and some very intense buzz after a very recent reporthttp:// that many more women have been drinking than was previously thought. According to this CDC report, approximately 13% of women in the U.S. over the age of 18 engage in binge drinking.

In this survey, a binge was defined as consuming four or more alcoholic beverages during one discrete episode or evening or event. The nation was even more surprised to learn that among the 7,536 females in grade 9-12 who were surveyed, there was also plenty of binge drinking. The likelihood of binge drinking increased by grade. In 9th grade, 13% of the girls reported binge drinking. By the time they were in 12th grade, up to 27% of the girls reported binge drinking.

And, here is a real surprise: The likelihood of binge drinking was most likely to occur in white, college-educated women ages 18-24 with household incomes of $75,000 or more. Keep in mind that we are comparing women to women here, not women to men.

So, we wonder why teenage girls in many of these lovely communities are drinking. At the risk of being politically incorrect, I will tell you why I think this is the case. It's because they are mimicking the behavior of some of their mothers and other women in their communities who deal with stress and socialize by drinking alcohol.

I have worked with teens and their parents for over twenty years. I have worked with families from all socioeconomic groups. The results of this study make sense to me. I will go out on a proverbial limb here and say that mothers, your teenage daughters are watching you very carefully. They will partake in the activities that you partake in. I understand why you may be drinking. You may, in fact, be wearing too many hats and trying to be a good enough partner, mother and co-worker. Nonetheless, if there is access to alcohol in your home, money to purchase it and a female role model for having a few drinks, then you need to be aware of who is watching the model you set forth.

So, before you take your next drink, take a look at your life. Is there room for easing the pressure? I'm sure there are thousands of mothers out there who can relate to feeling over-worked, stressed and challenged. Are you one of those mothers? Are you the partner of a woman who needs a break? If so, address the issue-the life you save may be your partner's and/or your teen's life.