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What parents should not tell teens about drug abuse highlighted in study

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Parents may want to avoid discussing their own past drug use with teens.

Past studies have suggested parents who deliver anti-drug messages to teens should also talk about their own past drug abuse. New research published in Human Communication Research suggests a better approach is not to share that information.

The finding comes from surveys of 500 European American and Latino children in grades 6 to 8.

The investigators found talking to children about negative consequences of alcohol, marijuana and other substances and setting rules is more effective than telling kids about your own past drug use.

Children whose parents disclosed their own past substance use were less likely to have anti-drug attitudes, the study found.

Jennifer A. Kam, at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who co-authored the study said parents may want to “re-think” disclosing their own drug use history to teens in a press release.

She also says it’s important to remember the study is one of the first to look at children’s perceptions and behaviors relative to parents past drug use.

What parents can do to help teens avoid drug abuse

The finding may be especially important, given findings published last year that prescription drug use for non-medical purposes is on the rise among adolescents.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends that parents talk to their teens about all forms of drug abuse including tobacco, marijuana, alcohol, inhalants, prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications.

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Monitoring for signs of substance abuse is crucial for prevention.

They also recommend community based programs that target specific drug problems that are gender, ethnicity and age specific for targeted populations.

Proactive parents should be educated about signs of substance abuse and enhance parenting skills to help form strong bonds and open communication with teens through local programs.

According to the Mayo Clinic, your child may be at risk for drug abuse from low-self-esteem, socializing with other children who use drugs, poor grades in school and history of aggressive behavior.

Teens with ADHD, depression and anxiety are also at higher risk for using illicit drugs.

Parents who set rules and share stories of others who have gotten into trouble from drug abuse might have more success helping teens stay clear of illicit substances, suggested by the study.

Human Communication Research
January 25, 2013


Mayo Clinic

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Now that is some genius advice, LIE TO YOUR CHILDREN AND TEACH THEM THAT LYING IS PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE! Better yet show them YOU DON'T TRUST THEM, YOU DON'T THINK THEY ARE INTELLIGENT, and YOU ARE A CONTROLLING, JUDGMENTAL HYPOCRITE! Whatever you do, remember to teach them THE ONLY MEDICINE THAT WORKS IS ADDICTIVE and COMES WITH SERIOUS, DEADLY SIDE EFFECTS! What a disgusting attempt to propagandize American citizens and what a filthy piece of crap news source reporting it. You make me sick.
- Nowhere did the researchers who did this study suggest lying to children. They said you don't have to talk about past drug use when you're teaching them and setting rules. Also, if you read, they say it's just the first study. You don't have to agree with a mere suggestion - nor is there any basis for such anger.